Fast robotic picking arms and palletizers increase production rates

New ABB Robotics palletizers and picker robots were displayed at the Pack Expo in Chicago. Among the highlighted features are their high-capacity processing and increased speed.


Three controller options for the ABB Robotics IRB 1200 are the standard controller, compact controller, and panel mounted controller, according to ABB at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago. Courtesy: Control Engineering, Mark T. HoskeNew palletizers and picker robots were demonstrated at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago. The highlighted features for these robots are their high-capacity processing and increased speed, said ABB Robotics.

The ABB Robotics IRB 360 FlexPicker features a new standard double-picker cell function package on the 8 kg and 1 kg models. The 8 kg FlexPicker provides an answer for handling heavier individual products and larger product groupings in multi-pick applications, with the ability to handle up to 500 products per minute, the company said. The standard cell package is available with an ABB controls package for straightforward commissioning and programming. The FlexPicker models use ABB's PickMaster 3 software, which integrates conveyor tracking with sensor or vision system inputs into a simplified programming platform.

The expanded FlexPicker line of robots now includes 1 kg, 3 kg and 8 kg payload variants with the standard 1130 mm reach and 1kg and 6kg models with an extended 1600 mm reach. The 1 kg and 3 kg FlexPickers are available in an IP69K rated stainless model, and the 6 kg and 8 kg models come with IP67 protection suitable for most hygienic applications.

Fast palletization

ABB said its IRB 1200 robots target material handling with large work envelope and shortest turning radius in its class and is expected to expand markets with food grade and ISO 4 cleanroom options to be introduced in 2015. For CNC machine tending, optionThe ABB Robotics IRB 460 is one of the quickest palletizers in its payload class, ABB said; it is designed to meet the requirements of high throughput for end-of-line and bag palletizing applications. The robot is equipped with an ABB FlexGripper Clamp for secure handling of heavy or open-top cases or products. In addition, it comes encoded with ABB Robot Studio Palletizing PowerPac software for easy set-up and programming. Capable of up to 2,190 cycles per hour, the 4-axis IRB 460 has a reach of 2.4 meters, occupies 20% less floor space and runs 15% faster than competitors, ABB said. The cell also includes the ABB AC500 safety PLC with HMI for cell control and safety.

The Pack Expo demo featured two IRB 1200 robots (photos) with ABB's new integrated vision inspection system that used RobotStudio programming software. These robots are a new line of small robots that provide flexibility, ease of use, short cycle times, and a combination of a compact footprint and a large work area. They are designed for a wide range of material handling and packaging applications. The IRB 1200 is designed with no offset in the second axis of motion, delivering a longer stroke that allows the robot to be placed in close proximity to the product flow and still be functional. Features such as the longer stroke allow it to work in smaller work cells and have a 10% shorter cycle time than comparable robots, according to ABB.

ABB Robotics provides industrial robots, robot software, peripheral equipment, modular manufacturing cells, and service for tasks such as welding, handling, assembly, painting and finishing, picking, packing, palletizing, and machine tending. ABB said it has installed more than 250,000 robots worldwide.

- Edited by Eric R. Eissler, associate editor, CFE Media. 


Key Concepts:

  • Faster palletizers
  • Smaller footprint, can work closer to product flow
  • Shorter cycle times 

ONLINE extra

Click here to watch a video on ABB Robotics' dualflex picker.

See related ABB Robotics articles below. 

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