Australia’s first automated, collaborative palletising system

Universal Robots’ Certified System Integrator, Andrew Donald Design Engineering (ADDE) has developed the first end-of-line automated palletising system for Australian standard pallets, which incorporates Universal Robots’ UR10 robot to create a collaborative and flexible palletiser.

With most packing operations still finishing with an operator loading a carton onto a pallet manually, ADDE saw an industry need to find a solution which could automate one of the most physically demanding and back injury prone tasks on the production line.

ADDE’s response was to create the Zero Footprint Palletiser (ZFP), which takes no more space than a pallet on the floor and an operator and allows manufacturers to generate greater efficiency and safety across operations, while also enabling employees to work closely in collaboration with the palletiser.

To create the ZFP, ADDE started with a UR10 robot, which can work without safety caging or barriers (subject to a risk assessment) and then added the hardware and software needed to achieve an affordable, minimal footprint and easy-to-deploy solution that can reach an Australian standard pallet.

“The intuitive nature of the UR10 provided a great starting point for us to build a flexible, easily programmable solution that takes up minimal factory floor space. The ZFP enables workers to continue to perform production line tasks in collaboration with the robot, while relieving factory staff from the risks of the repetitive task of stacking pallets,” said Barry Hendy, Managing Director at ADDE.

Manually handled palletising can lead to a number of occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues for both manufacturers and their employees. In fact, body stressing, manual handling and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common cause for workers compensation claims in Australia. Many claims are due to muscular stress created by common packing tasks such as lifting, carrying or putting down crates/boxes.

However, beyond the health issues related to manual handling, there are also a number of financial costs involved. In fact, according to a 2016 research report from the Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery, MSDs accounted for 59.5 percent of the $61.8 billion that work-related injuries cost the Australian economy in 2012-2013.”

Commenting on the introduction of the ZFP, Shermine Gotfredsen, General Manager, Universal Robots, Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots said: “With the ZFP, the OH&S issues associated with manual handling can be avoided as workers can be freed up to work on less laborious tasks. However the collaborative nature of Universal Robots’ UR10 robotic arm also means that staff are enabled to work in conjunction with robots along the production line, unlike with traditional industrial machines where safety barriers often prevent employees from working close to machinery.”

User-friendly bag palletiser

Haver & Boecker announces the availability of ‘the world’s most user-friendly bag palletiser’ in the Australian market.

Developed by Haver & Boecker’s palletising technology division, Newtec Bag Palletizing, the new Terram 1000 offers Australian manufacturers of animal feed, seeds, mortar and plastic granulates an efficient bag palletising solution that combines user-friendly operation and maintenance with high safety and performance, delivering perfectly palletised bags with an output of 500 to 1,000 bags per hour.

Martin Mersmann, Haver & Boecker Australia’s Sales Manager for Packing Technology observes that the manufacturing industry is continuously focussed on minimising capital and operating costs without compromising productivity or quality. Haver & Boecker’s technologies aim to provide more efficient, robust and compact solutions to optimise operations and deliver a rapid return on investment.

He explains that the Terram 1000 is called ‘the world’s most user-friendly bag palletiser’ because of its incredibly simple and fully integrated operating system, flexible capabilities, compact design, perfect output and advanced safety features.

Key features of the Terram 1000 bag palletisers include intuitive touch panel screen integrating all operating modes and settings with machine diagnostics and maintenance assistance; both low level and high level palletising enabled; perfectly rectangular and stable pallet obtained with its forming plates uniformly stacking and shaping each layer; compact design allowing installation in a reduced floor space; and enhanced safety during maintenance with all components brought to floor level if required for easy access without using ladders or platforms.

Mersmann adds that investing in a solution such as the Terram 1000 means improved storage, transport and logistics, greater productivity and, fundamentally, more sales with the quality of the pallet delivering a better looking product.

The Terram 1000 also features Haver & Boecker’s precision weighing system, the MEC4.

KUKA extends Arctic sub zero range of palletising robots

KUKA Robotics Australia has extended its Arctic range of palletising
robots with the introduction of the new 700kg payload model. This extension
follows the re-release of the Arctic sub zero range of palletising robots in
the 120kg to 240kg category in 2014.

The new 700kg payload layer palletising robot in the Arctic range can
quickly and efficiently palletise full layers of ice cream, meat, fish or any
frozen products, and also comes with a huge 3,320mm reach and hollow gearbox
wrist for higher reliability.

KUKA has also extended the zero degree operation to its entire range as
standard, from the ultra-high speed 40kg capable of 56 cycles per minute, through
to the medium 120 to 240kg class, and now the 300, 470 and 700kg models, with
no change in price. The upper temperature range of 55°C remains the same.

KUKA’s palletising robots have been able to
achieve this new zero degree operation without the need for suits, heat bands
or other additional extras, enabling dairy producers to keep their product
below 4°C even while palletising to ensure food safety.