ABB has released what it says is a “faster, higher payload and more flexible” delta robot – the IRB 390 FlexPacker.
The industrial giant says the machine, along with its other solutions, will its enhance robotic picking and packing portfolio and transform omnichannel order fulfillment and retail logistics.
The new IRB 390 FlexPacker is designed for applications such as customized packaging, vertical packing and high-speed, high-variation sorting and on demand order picking in logistics and e-commerce fulfillment centers.
The growth of omnichannel retailing means distribution centers and logistics warehouses need to transform their systems to handle both pallets and packaging destined for retail shelves, while also picking and packing highly varied items for shipping direct to individual consumers.
A significant driver for change has been the growth of direct-to-consumer and direct-to-store shipping, which is dramatically changing the way that consumers order and collect products.
With these new models, ABB says consumers have an expanding choice of methods for receiving orders in addition to home delivery, which is becoming increasingly environmentally and economically unsustainable as more people shop remotely.
These methods include click and collect, in-store collection and, more recently, robotic street kiosks, where shoppers pay for and receive the product of their choice.
Operators need the right infrastructure for maximum flexibility that can pick and handle a wide variety of goods in the widest range of combinations and in the shortest possible time.
During a webinar in lieu of this year’s Interpack trade show event, Marc Segura, ABB’s managing director consumer segments and service robotics, said: “We are helping retailers as they embrace omnichannel strategies to answer consumer demand for greater choice.
“The ongoing development of direct-to-consumer channels and the fusion of e-retailers acting as retailers and vice versa is creating pressure on traditional order fulfillment systems to handle a greater variety of items at higher speeds.”
Advances in technology, including robot speed and payload, as well as AI enabled by vision systems, will give customers the unprecedented ability to recognize and handle a greater variety of products in a more agile and flexible way.
With its FlexPicker robot and PickMaster software, including the recently released PickMaster Twin, ABB says it is “already helping logistics, e-fulfilment and retail operators worldwide to meet the consumer demand revolution”.
ABB plans to enhance this with the upcoming launch of IRB 390 FlexPacker at the end of 2020.
The IRB 390 FlexPacker robot will be available as a four and five axis variant delta robot. It is 35 per cent faster than the IRB 360-8/1130 FlexPicker, with a 45 per cent increase in reachable volume and payload of up to 15 kg.
Designed for customers in Food & Beverage, logistics, pharmaceutical and consumer-packaged goods industries, the IRB 390 will be ideal for secondary packaging and higher payload applications, with the speed and flexibility to support Shelf Ready Packaging (SRP) and Retail Ready Packaging (RRP).
Possible uses include secondary packaging in food (dry and wet), beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, personal care, pet care (food and more), CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) and logistics.
The IRB 390 will have NSF H1 Food Grade Lubricants and built of FDA compliant material, suitable for use in hygienic environments. FGO and FGG (H1) is used in all exposed gearboxes and bearings.
Marc Segura said: “With the launch of the new IRB 390 FlexPacker, ABB will be able to offer an enhanced portfolio of automation products to help our customers meet the latest pick and place challenges.
“We are combining the speed, payload and dexterity of FlexPacker with the proven high-speed picking and packing capability of FlexPicker and the advanced vision and digital twin capability of PickMaster Twin to help our customers make their lines more flexible than ever before, to handle the growth of low volume, high mix and higher payload production.”
Manufacturers will be able to build a complete solution for pre-sorting and group packing by combining the IRB 390 FlexPacker with the IRB 360 FlexPicker, which has been the leader in state-of-the-art high-speed picking and packing for the past 15 years.
FlexPacker is also designed to work with PickMaster Twin, ABB’s market leading robotic software for vision-guided random flow picking and packing applications.
PickMaster Twin features digital twin technology, allowing the building of simulated packing stations to optimize the picking process.
The software increases productivity by dramatically shortening commissioning times from days to hours and changeover times from hours to minutes, while maximizing overall line efficiency.
The software also features a powerful color vision system that can support up to 10 cameras for accurate position guidance and feature inspection.