6 transformational packaging production trends of 2017: Page 4 of 6

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Automation on December 12, 2017

#3. What are collaborative robots and why should you care?

Changeover Wizard and packaging machinery guru John R. Henry takes the mystery out of collaborative robots with this highly popular May 2015 article.

In his easy-to-read writing style, Henry tells us what cobots are—and what they’re not.

He also explains the two basic approaches to making cobots safe:

1. “Make the robot inherently safe. If it makes contact with a human co-worker, it immediately stops so that the worker feels no more than a gentle nudge.”

2. “A sensor-based approach allows collaborative use in faster and heavier applications.”

But he goes one step further—because “no discussion of robot safety can ignore the end-of-arm tooling (EOAT)”—to include information about various suppliers of soft grippers/fingers.

Henry concludes: “Robots have come a long way in just the past 10 to 15 years. They used to be expensive, complicated machines that could be a bit scary to work with and required highly skilled technicians. Now they have become almost just another member of the team, working side by side and taking care of the ergonomically hazardous scut work nobody enjoys doing.”


NEXT: How food processing methods affect your packaging operations


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