Packaging machines are evolving and maybe even undergoing a revolution due to a new generation of robotics that overcome the tradeoff between high-speed production and the need for flexibility. A new wave of packaging machines is increasingly incorporating smarter sensors, machine vision, and software capabilities, as well as artificial intelligence and cloud-connected edge computing. Together, these new technologies are changing the packaging automation landscape in both their designs and applications.
For example, these new technologies will improve operations from high-speed upstream tasks to flexible end-of-line applications across a spectrum of uses. These range from bottle orienting, filling-and-capping, labeling, and cartoning to case erecting, palletizing, and the use of autonomous mobile robots in the warehouse. And these applications will be enabled by new designs; Instead of tacking-on robotic components to legacy machine designs, robots will be the starting point and centerpiece for new machines, according to John R. Henry, author, futurist, and “changeover wizard” behind the company Changeover.com.
Henry shared his insights in a recent deep-dive webinar from Design News, a sister publication of Packaging Digest. Henry was joined by Ross Blumenthal, sales and marketing manager with Schneeberger, a leading name in linear technology; and Joe Campbell, head of marketing for Universal Robots USA, a leader in collaborative robots, or cobots. The free 1-hour webinar, “Automation and Robotics in Packaging,” is now available to view on-demand. Register here to watch this one-hour webinar.