new robotic module that leverages the speed and precision of Delta robot
technology is focused on picking, gluing and placing glued parts on a second moving
object. An immediate target application is in the baby and medical wipe
industries where a polybag of wipes uses a plastic lid on the top of the bag. When
the lid is removed, there is a tear away die cut where the baby wipes are
dispensed. Manufacturers are moving away from plastic tubs because of material
costs, so it's a rapidly growing market opportunity.
"The Delta robot integrates with an upstream flow wrapper which packages the wet wipes," say Mike Seager, picking and packing segment manager for QComp Technologies. "The bag of wipes enters the robotic cell on a conveyor, and a separate lid conveyor delivers the plastic lids into the cell. Using machine vision, the system tracks both the bag and the lid, and the robot is commanded to pick up the lid. The robot passes it over a Nordson glue head. A bead of glue is applied around the entire periphery of the lid, and the lid is then precisely placed on the bag."
System movements are all continuous motion, and provide an ability to pick, glue and place products at speeds up to 75 parts per minute. Since the flow wrappers are capable of basically twice that speed with a single machine, a second robot can be applied to double up the rates of the gluing operation.
Robotics integrator QComp Technologies has announced a partnership with Hayssen Sandiacre to offer the robotic Pick & Glue technology and the companies will demonstrate the new method at PackExpo 2010 in Chicago.
Speed is a key advantage of the new system, along with the ability to apply the bead of glue to a flat surface on a moving, mating part. Seager says that if a customer screen prints a bead of glue on the bottom of a lid, the glued part still needs to somehow be applied to the bag. The new system provides both speed and the ability to place the lid on a moving part at plus/minus 3 mm, which requires tight operating tolerances at those speeds.
"The robot is able to handle the coordinated motion, plus both the bags and lids can be skewed at a slight angle," says Seager. "The vision system will recognize those angles, and still pick and place to the tight tolerances. If the product is not collated correctly or presented at slightly different angles, the system easily compensates for variations."
Combining the speed and flexibility of the Delta Robot with the integrated vision system, users can program a profile for the part and adjust the tuning to achieve quick changeover for multiple parts. Other potential application areas for the system, in addition to the baby and medical wipes, is direct mail applications such as gluing a magnet on a postcard or gluing samples of chocolate onto a mailer.