Cobot loading machined parts into a box.

Let’s dive into the world of case packing!

Case packing, putting products into boxes or cases for transportation and storage, sounds simple. However, there are a lot of components that go into making it happen.

Firstly, some products don’t lend themselves well to being case packed by a robot. For instance, irregularly shaped, extremely heavy, or extremely fragile products pose challenges for robots to handle without causing damage. Additionally, products that require a high degree of precision in their placement or orientation can be difficult to pack with a robot’s limited dexterity. However, modifications to the packaging or gripper can often be made to accommodate these challenges.

That’s why it is important to work with experienced engineers and integrators (like us) who help determine the best approach for each unique product and application!

Then there’s the case or box itself. The box needs to be erected either with a traditional case erector, by hand, or by using a collaborative robot box erector like our boxEZ system. It doesn’t matter how fast you can case pack if you don’t have cases available to pack into!

We need to bring your boxes and products together, so you’ll need a couple of conveyors or other automation. You need to present the components reliably, so the robot or cobot can accurately pick and place them. This requires the right robot and EOAT for the job, which typically involves using a vacuum gripper. However, there are also mechanical, magnetic, or soft gripper options depending on the product.

Okay, so we use all those components to get the products into the case and then send the case to be sealed and labeled for shipment.

Seems like a lot of moving parts just to put something into a box, doesn’t it? Why do it?

Manually case packing boxes involves many steps and can be labor-intensive. It requires a lot of workers and takes up valuable time. It also tends to be prone to errors like incorrect product placement, leading to wasted product and increased costs. Plus, repetitive motion injuries often result in pain for workers. That is not only crappy, but leads to downtime and a decline in productivity.

That’s where robotic case packing comes in. Industrial robots have been case packing for years, and are incredibly precise and efficient. They are programmed to handle a wide variety of products and cases. Robots pack at much faster speeds than humans. Plus, they don’t get tired or make mistakes, which leads to a higher quality end result.

Recently, increases in payload and reach on collaborative robots (cobots) are opening them up as options case packing. Cobots are safe to work alongside humans, and can be used in locations that industrial robots can’t. They are great at tasks that require a bit more finesse and flexibility than traditional robots. They’re also SO much easier to program and set up, making them a great option for smaller facilities or those with more frequent product changes.

Industrial and collaborative robots both provide significant benefits for case packing. They are faster, more precise, and require less labor than manual methods. Additionally, they offer the potential for increased safety by freeing workers from repetitive and potentially injury-prone tasks.

So, if you’re looking to improve your case packing process, industrial and collaborative robots are definitely worth considering. They help you pack more efficiently and accurately, and reduce costs while increasing safety.

Plus, let’s be honest – who wouldn’t want a robot like this one on their team?

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