What parts do you need to feed?

The plastics industry is in a highly demanding and competitive market, where factors such as low costs, high quality and short delivery times are the key to success and should be pursued if businesses intend to stay afloat. Moreover, unprecedented skilled labor shortage is now impacting almost every single business. High mix, low volume production leaves no space for hard automation to step in. How can a business remain competitive in such an environment?  Robotics and flexible automation are the answer because they can help plastic businesses meet the market demand, keep the margins and re-shore production.

By deploying a robot on the manufacturing floor, the business creates even more stimulating and smarter job positions as it emerges the need for programming and engineering. Robots are not job takers, but they create competitiveness and they are the driving force to get into the Industry 4.0 era, where smart production sites are made of connected machines, that communicate with each other via the Internet of things, and people that collect information to make decisions.

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Robots are widely applied in today’s plastics industry almost in all its manufacturing processes, such as injection molding where there’s steady demand for flexible equipment. The robot here can do parts loading and unloading automatically. Not only the robot can perform the task relentlessly but also increases the finished parts quality as it keeps the process steady with no space left for manufacturing variation.  This is driven by the never-ending increasing demand for more flexible solution. Eventually the business experiences a raise in productivity and a plunge in parts wastes.

Machine tending is a typical process where to apply a robot since it’s labor consuming and much care is needed in handling parts that are heat-sensitive. Through the use of pneumatic grippers or vacuums, the robot can ensure the careful handling of newly injected molded parts and avoid any damage.

In such case, a robot can relieve operators from their repetitive work and spare them from incurring in any harm.

Robots have also a fundamental role in the process of over-molding, where metal inserts are put inside the plastic molded parts either during or after the injection process. Six-axis robots are used commonly to load, unload and insert parts to the molding as they deliver increased dexterity and flexibility.

Likewise, robotics plays a significant role in plastic injection molding post-processing.

Automating the post-processing parts of the plastic injection molding manufacturing can make a massive difference in production rates and cost-effectiveness. Introducing certain machines discharges the employees of tedious and repetitive manual work such as labeling, wrapping, or palletizing.

An automated manufacturing process is crucial to ensure your end customers that your company will deliver the highest-quality product at a competitive price. Besides, injection molding robotics in the plastic industry provides numerous application benefits, including:

  • Steady quality of parts
  • Lower costs
  • Lower wastes
  • Steady throughput
  • Higher production and efficiency rate
  • Flexibility

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What advantages does the FlexiBowl solution bring in for machine tending applications?

FlexiBowl is a standardized vision and robotic based equipment that be used for feeding parts in the plastic industry. Parts ranging 1-250 mm and 1-250 mm no matter their geometry and material can be handled.

Its lack of dedicated tooling and its easy to use and intuitive programming software allows quick and multiple product changeovers inside the same work shift.

The high payload, up to 7 kg, and the robust and reliable mechanical design make the FlexiBowl a perfect match for robotic applications in the plastic industry.

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