Robotics & Automation News

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Universal and Apex set to launch collaborative robot-assisted palletising

Universal Robots and Apex Motion Control will launch the Zero Footprint Palletizer (ZFP) at the ATX West show in Anaheim, California, USA, this February. Collaborative robots – or cobots – can now automate some of the most common manufacturing tasks in the industry.

The ZFP is for mid-rate production at a maximum load of 18 lbs. The system can be deployed throughout a facility and fits right into existing packaging lines without modification, replacing manual palletizing operations in minutes.

Universal Robots’ UR10 cobot has been integrated with the ZFP, combining the full functionality of the robot with a vertical 7th axis swing system with the ability to stack on each side, supporting North American pallet sizing.

The ZFP is ready for distribution in North America through Universal Robots Certified Systems Integrator, Apex Motion Control.

“The UR10 arm was chosen for this solution due to its ease-of-use and safety features,” says Rob Antonides, President of Apex Motion Control.

“We deliver automation solutions for the food industry and saw a clear market need for a flexible automation solution that addresses high mix/low volume runs in space restrained spaces.”

The ZFP can operate with no guarding. If an operator is detected in the carton pickup area, the collaborative safety features of the UR10 will safely reduce the speed of the robot until the area is cleared while the zero pressure accumulation infeed conveyor controls the flow of the product.

Also on display at Booth 4616 will be the new SnapWeld Collaborative Robot Welding package developed by ARC Specialties Inc. The cobot welder is the first integrated MIG welding system for cobots.

“We are getting a lot of requests for integrating Universal Robots in welding booths, so we saw this as a unique opportunity to develop an integrated low-cost system for gas metal arc welding (GMAW) applications that no one else in the market is currently offering,” says John Martin, Vice President of ARC Specialties.

The welding system integrated with the UR robot is comprised of a Profax wire feeder and water cooled torch enabling welds up to 600 amps, with torch bracket, all cables and hose packages included.

The simplified programming is enabled by direct software integration into Universal Robots’ own programming environment through the UR+ platform, which allows users to program advanced settings directly on the UR robot’s teach pendant.

Showcased alongside Snapweld will be a soldering application from American Hakko Products Inc. Chris Stuber, Division Manager of Products with American Hakko Products Inc., explains that the soldering product developed for robot integration needed a versatile, no-maintenance, user-friendly and safe platform.

“The collaborative systems provided by Universal Robots meets these needs and provides a system that is very fluid in movement with the control and dexterity to make the optimal solder joints on an assembly without having to rotate or reposition the board.”

Area Sales Manager for Universal Robots’ Western Division, Craig Tomita, said: “A benefit shared by all applications in this versatile exhibit portfolio is the ability to lower the automation barrier significantly, leading to faster and easier robot deployment.” He will give a presentation at ATX on ‘Getting the Best ROI out of your Cobot’.

The conference program also features UR’s Sales Development Manager Tim De Grasse presenting: ‘The new Guy is a Robot: Should I be Worried?’ “And no, there is no need to worry,” says DeGrasse, who will be sharing examples of how the UR robots on the contrary address labor shortages and help bridge the looming skills gap.

UR cobots will also be on display in the following show booths: American Hakko Products Inc.  Booth 349; Creaform – Booth 4170; Hirate America – Booth 3911; Igus – Booth 3219; MSI TEC – Booth 4155; Numatic Engineering – Booth 4431; Octopuz – Booth 4710; SCHUNK Inc. – Booth 4215; Sensopart – Booth 4468