Cobots deliver a flexible solution for toothpaste Active8 Robots has delivered a collaborative robot solution that is considered an important step in a global healthcare giant’s journey to implement flexible automation using cobots. Previously, this toothpaste tube de-palletisation and loading application was heavily reliant on manual labour, causing bottlenecks in the production process. This manual process was disjointed, with a single operator attempting to complete numerous sequential tasks. With a requirement to meet a cycle time of 48 seconds per box, the new automation solution features one collaborative robot, selected for its payload and reach characteristics.
In operation, it de-palletises the boxes of tubes and presents to an infeed conveyor system, feeding into a tube-filling machine. The box is deposited on a custom fixture where the cobot positions the box while utilising force detection capabilities. This compensates for any variation in the box position on the pallet, to ensure that the final position is the same for each box. The box is clamped on the fixture as a vacuum nozzle is introduced to remove the plastic sheet, while the robot removes the box lid and deposits to a conveyor that feeds the existing recycling conveyor. The box is finally manipulated to the infeed conveyor using a pneumatic pusher. Optical sensors are used to check for the removal of plastic sheets from within the box and safety sensors are integrated with the system to influence the robot running speeds for various conditions, based on operator proximity, mitigating the need for physical guarding. The safety sensors were utilised for this solution to comply with the customer’s policy for no operator to come into contact with moving machinery.
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The new solution features one cobot selected for its payload and reach