Inside Logistics

United Robots trade show demo will help kids’ charity

Robots will pick and pack 1,200 bags of food to be delivered to “Blessings in a Backpack” at Pack Expo


August 30, 2019
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Universal Robots manufactures cobot arms.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Pick six differently sized food items randomly oriented on a moving conveyor and place each of these items into the same pouch. Then do this again 1,199 more times, ensuring each pouch has the same six items.

This is the challenge Universal Robots and Allied Technology will address, quickly identifying and picking items – ranging widely from packs of Craisins to cans of beef ravioli – in Pack Expo’s Robotics Zone during the three-day show, which takes place in Las Vegas September 23-25.

“Random picking is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after automation tasks from industries such as e-commerce, fulfillment centres and warehousing,” says regional Stuart Shepherd, sales director of Universal Robots’ Americas division.

“At Pack Expo, Universal Robots and Allied Technology will demonstrate how UR cobots can be deployed in a compact, modular system, handling the entire process from box erecting, to vision-guided conveyor tracking, part picking, tote assembly, pouch filling and sealing, kitting and palletizing.”

Shepherd also noted the packaging line is also a testament to the capabilities of Universal Robots’ growing number of Certified System Integrators (CSIs). “Allied Technology was able to quickly create this fully-automated solution. We are delighted to see our cobots competently integrated in so many new packaging applications now.”

Allied Technology and Universal Robots’ packaging line features four UR cobots equipped with products from the UR+ platform that certifies grippers, vision cameras, software, and other peripherals to work seamlessly with UR’s collaborative robot arms. The latest flexible grasping technology will be showcased by a UR5e with Piab’s new Kenos KCS vacuum gripper guided by a vision camera from UR+ partner Cognex.

Once completed, the 1,200 bags of food will be delivered to “Blessings in a Backpack” a leader in the movement to end childhood hunger, ensuring that children receiving free or subsidized school lunches during the week do not go hungry over the weekends.

Manufacturers wanting to kickstart their cobot-assisted packaging applications can now sign up for free one-hour training sessions hosted by certified Universal Robots product trainers in a dedicated classroom at the show. “Pick-and-place,” “moving conveyors” and “palletizing” are the topics each covered in the three types of training sessions offered.

Pack Expo is also the launch pad for the company’s new “Service360 Now” program that unites Universal Robots with distributors and customers in customized service plans designed for rapid response and predictable production, facilitating direct access to cobot specialists, resolving any cobot issues quickly.

Unlike traditional robots caged away from show attendees, visitors to the UR booth are able to walk right up to the UR cobots and interact with them.