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Application of robotics in the packaging industry

With the large-scale and flexible development of robot systems-more and more closely connected to the production line-enhanced safeguards, better communication with operators is necessary.
Robotics has changed the maintenance needs of the packaging industry.General-purpose safety solutions are no longer suitable for a new generation of packaging machinery.Various equipment should consider safety control, safety light curtains and safety laser scanners to ensure that robotics is completely safe and reduce product damage.
With the large-scale and flexible development of robot systems-more and more closely connected to the production line-enhanced safeguards, better communication with operators is necessary.
In the past, maintenance programs in the packaging industry generally followed the logic of ”IfX, thenY”.Simple safety modules and preventive monitoring controllers can meet most packaging operation needs.By introducing flexible robotics-robots can use duplex lines and responsibilities to perform multiple tasks-security measures have become more complex.
Safety protection controller: A robot requires multiple safeguards to function in multiple fields, such as emergency stop buttons, light curtains, and safety switches.In addition, these different functions need to be able to operate independently and jointly with each other.
The safety protection controller provides an integrated method to reduce the operational risk of managing multiple safety devices.Luo Baihui, vice president of Dongguan Robotics Association, gave an example. If a machine has an emergency stop button, two-handed control, a safety light curtain and an interlocking safety switch, then the safety protection controller can manage all operations with only a variety of safety modules or a small part of the cost of safety PLCs.The safety protection controller can also provide multiple safety-related functions, such as mute or bypass the safety light curtain, external equipment monitoring (EDM), monitoring manual reset function, and logic function to create different areas and conditional logic.
Visual status indication: As robots and humans cooperate more and more closely, it is necessary for every operator to know the maintenance status.Visual safety status indication is a rapidly growing trend.The emergency stop button, interlock device, and safety rope pull all increase communication, drive, and stop conditions.
Illuminated emergency stop button: you can use yellow to indicate that the machine is being activated or red to indicate that the stop condition has been activated.Status instructions can not only protect workers, but also confirm problems very effectively on the packaging line-especially when a series of buttons are connected.The visual status indication allows the operator to know which button is pressed, allowing them to quickly determine where the problem came from, so that workers can quickly solve the problem and make the production line run again.
Optical protection technology: When robots are further integrated into the upper packaging production line, the possibility of robots working side by side with humans can be increased.In order to prevent workers from introducing clumsy physical protection barriers, optical protection technology is the best guarantee solution in robot packaging applications.
Safety light curtain: When the robot performs multiple tasks or supports multiple production lines, different entry points of the robot unit will be presented.For example, a palletizing robot unit enters at the new pallet and slide, and exits at the full pallet.The safety light curtain can effectively maintain multiple access points with minimal damage.Through the selective mute safety light curtain, pallets and products can flow freely into and out of the unit, while also protecting staff from dangerous areas.
Safety laser scanner: The safety laser scanner uses a pulsed laser to scan the surrounding environment, and then compares the scanned information with a pre-defined area.If the scanner detects that an object has invaded the robot’s work area-such as a person-it can send a stop signal to the protection machine.
Regional laser scanners are multifunctional and non-invasive safeguards.Unlike other rigid security equipment, fences or safety air cushions, laser scanners work without physical barriers.Safety laser scanning is also an ideal solution for niche packaging applications where safety light curtains cannot effectively cover areas.
Direct-impact rated equipment: When machines enter the field of processing procedures and primary packaging, they can come into contact with food, pharmaceutical and other conventional direct-impact materials.These robots require IP67 and IP69K rated protection devices to protect them.Direct-impact safety light curtains, emergency stops and interlocking devices are becoming more and more popular in the packaging industry.

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