SCARA offers flexible easy-to-use robot solution

13 June 2022

Ease of programming was a top request for the robot chosen for use as a part of an innovative new packaging cell.

A top 2022 trend for industrial robotics this year is ease of use, according to the International Federation of Robotics. 

The need for less skill-intensive control, due to intuitive human-machine interfaces (HMIs), allows human workers to focus on more important goals, such as key performance indicators (KPIs). 

This was the case for machine builder Orfer Oy, a manufacturer of robotic material-handling systems for a range of industries. Orfer needed a new robot that could provide fast and accurate handling and would integrate easily with its vision system, which tracks and picks parts from a moving conveyor.

The robot would need to be able to support Orfer’s BoxCellPlus, a new packing cell with the ability to open flattened boxes, fold the flaps, seal the bottom with tape and then fill the box with products. The cell is designed to achieve all this in one economical and fully-automated packing cell, with space-savings being a key feature and benefit. 

Reaching further 
The company turned to TM Robotics for a solution. Orfer’s existing BoxCell system uses a high-speed SCARA robot from Shibaura Machine, (formerly Toshiba Machine), chosen for its ability to quickly pack products into plastic or cardboard boxes. 

The BoxCellPlus application also needed a robot that was easy to use, flexible and cost-effective.  For the design of the BoxCellPlus, Nigel Smith, CEO at TM Robotics, helped Orfer define its robot specification based on the reach, payload, and cycle time requirements for food and packaging applications. 

“Packing is a classic pick-and-place application,” said Smith. “It doesn’t require the dexterity of a six-axis robot and needs a greater working envelope than a spider-style robot offers.” 

It was decided the BoxCellPlus should also be equipped with a high-speed SCARA robot. The robot has an arm designed to meet every application and is capable of handling up to 20kg for strong payload capacities.

“In comparison to a six-axis robot with a cycle time of five seconds, the Shibaura Machine SCARA robot’s cycle time is approximately two seconds, which dramatically improved capacity. It also costs about 40% less than a spider robot.”

As part of BoxCellPlus, the SCARA robot has also greatly benefitted Orfer’s customers that previously used multiple machines to assemble boxes and fill them. This traditional process could take up as much as 50% more space on the production floor. Instead, with the BoxCellPlus – equipped with the SCARA robot – both of those functions occur in a smaller space, with a 15 to 25% lower cost than using multiple machines.


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