Turn an engineer loose at the Automate trade show (March 23-26, Chicago) and he'll happily walk aisle after aisle looking at all the new technologies and applications. John Henry, owner of Changeover.com and author of the KC Boxbottom Adventures on our sister site, PackagingDigest, spent two days there talking with exhibitors to discover the newest automation tools. He reports on highlights of what he saw -- a baker's dozen of goodies for fellow packaging engineers.
Starting with ...
Rethink Baxter robot: Rethink Robotics displayed its Baxter collaborative robot, shown here shaking hands with Henry. "A robot with two arms and three vision systems for $25,000? Sounds like a game changer to me," says Henry. Baxter has a new brother named Sawyer. Sawyer is a bit shy and did not come to the show but we hear good things and look forward to meeting him.
Datalogic low-cost vision inspection system: Remember when vision inspection systems cost $50,000 or more? It was not that long ago. Datalogic Automation's VSM monitor/DataVS2 camera combo were detecting and rejecting cocked caps, low fills, and improper labeling. And the complete system is less than $2,000.
Adept Lynx AIV: Adept Technology's Lynx is a new class of autononomous delivery robots. The Lynx is not an AGV (Autonomous Guided Vehicle) but an AIV (Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle). AIV technology means that it is self-guiding based on an internal map of the area which it is initially taught but then continually updates from experience. AIV means there are no floor magnets or wires or overhead beacons.
Schneider Packaging gum tape case sealer: Schneider Packaging Equipment showed its new SR5000WAT case sealer. This combines two features to make this one of the more versatile sealers on the market. First, it seals with water-activated (gummed) tape for a stronger, more reliable seal. Second, it automatically adjusts to random size cases. This allows it to serve multiple packaging lines or a distribution warehouse.
Fanuc bin picking robot with 3D vision: 3D vision systems allow robots to identify the location of a part in three dimensions. This allows "bin picking" or finding, grabbing, and orienting parts that are jumbled at random in a bin. Several companies were showing variations on the theme. One that caught my eye was this Fanuc robot picking caps at random from a pile.
Continue reading at packagingdigest.com.
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