Maximize operational scalability to quickly handle shifts in demand
Intelligent, adaptable automation solutions designed to handle rapid changeovers and accommodate shorter production runs are critical in the food and beverage packaging industry. Flexibility efforts within this industry focus on ensuring processors and packagers can handle the ever-changing needs of the global market, with minimal disruption to production.
Automation is the key for successfully driving out time, cost and defects from manufacturing processes.
Modularity is essential for flexible manufacturing because it can be practically impossible to predict the future requirements of production line machinery. As manufacturers move forward with capital investment plans, they can save money by changing specific components rather than paying a higher cost for an entirely new line.
Because modularity can extend down to the individual sub-assemblies within a machine, these sub-assemblies can be swapped out to accommodate many product variations with ease. This helps lower the overall cost of ownership of a modular solution.
The power of robots in packaging comes from the fact that they are reusable, re-deployable assets that can change their programs on the fly. They can be paired with a vision system to automatically detect changes in their environment as well as products coming down the line.
Collaborative robots in particular are highly adaptable to changing environments, and they are easy to teach new tasks. They also help prevent workers from repetitive injuries that could result from making the same movements constantly.
When planning out a flexible manufacturing application, thorough visualization is essential. Using an emulator to test out new packaging applications, engineers can set up an entire robotic system without explicitly programming it. This gives machine and system designers more flexibility by making it possible to dynamically change the products being made.