Carlsberg says it has almost eliminated the risk of accidents in its Fredericia plant, in Denmark.
The famous beer and beverage maker says it has achieved this by implementing collaborative robots from Universal Robots.
Carlsberg says this has not only “significantly improved staff safety”, it has also taken steps towards achieving “zero accidents” since integrating cobots into its Fredericia-based factory.
According to Thomas Kern Ruby, senior project manager at Carlsberg Fredericia, previous to installing the cobots, incidents were a common occurrence on the factory floor.
He says: “Although our production line was highly automated, it still required some degree of human input.
“This was mainly during the packaging process which saw our workforce manually carrying packaging cartons from the pallet to the magazine.
“This was a monotonous and strenuous task and often staff endured repetitive strain or sustained severe cuts while removing the packaging cable.”
To overcome these safety concerns, the company invested in two cobots, the space-friendly UR3 and the powerful UR10.
With a high payload of up to 10 kg, the company uses the UR10 to pick up a stack of 10 cartons which are tied together with packaging cable.
The UR3 is used to cut and dispose of the cable and the UR10 then places the stack in the magazine.
Working in tandem, the cobots can handle up to 500 packaging cartons per hour, allowing Carlsberg Fredericia to alleviate and upskill its human workforce to focus on high priority tasks, such as quality control and line maintenance.
Ruby says: “This process previously accounted for 60 percent of one employee’s workload. Today, this stage only requires an operator to drive a pallet of cardboard boxes onto the line and oversee the process.
“The UR10 and UR3 quite literally does all the rest. This frees up our team to focus of more demanding tasks that improves their job satisfaction and crucially, keeps them safe.
“This has helped us achieve our goal of zero incidents, a key policy of our sustainability programme.”
Following the success of the UR10 and UR3, the company purchased four additional cobots to further automate its production lines, including handling lids during the bottling process.
According to Ruby, this has already delivered substantial production efficiencies.
Mark Gray, UK sales manager at Universal Robots, says: “Productivity is just one element of business, ensuring staff safety and comfort is equally important.
“As Carlsberg Fredericia demonstrates, our cobots are designed to work alongside their human counterparts, alleviating them of the most dirty, dangerous and dull jobs to reduce accidental injuries.
“From a business perspective, their ease-of-use ensures simple integration into existing production cycles, allowing our customers to reap the rewards in no time.”