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Cobot palletiser set to revolutionise robotic uptake

19 April 2021

OMRON and Reeco have taken collaborative robotics innovation to the next level with the development of the RB1200 cobot palletiser that costs up to 50% less and has a 60% smaller footprint than a conventional robot palletiser.

These metrics have a radical impact on project payback, making end-of-line robotic automation economically attractive to producers of all sizes for the first time. 

“The concept of collaborative robots working alongside humans has already been proven in automotive, warehousing and fulfilment environments. We believe the time is right and the technology is ready for this next-generation automation approach to be adopted for palletising tasks across a range of industries, from food and drink to personal care and pharmaceuticals,” comments Dan Rossek, Marketing Manager for OMRON UK. 

He continues: “Designed together with our solution partner Reeco Automation, the RB1200 has the potential to revolutionise palletising. Our offering is unparalleled in terms of its size, affordability and agility. The ease with which it can be set up for different products and layouts and redeployed around the factory floor is phenomenal.”

Cobots replace robots

Although a mainstay of FMCG production lines for many years, robot palletisers take up considerable floor space, are complex to specify and programme, and are almost impossible to redeploy to another location, making them cost-prohibitive for many SMEs. 

In contrast, Reeco and OMRON’s RB1200 cobot palletiser is a compact plug-and-play system that can be easily switched between lines. This ensures users can maximise their investment by providing flexibility to cope with rapid changes in demand across the factory.

60% smaller

Without the need for all-round guarding, the RB1200 measures just 2.2 x 3.2m, which equates to a 60% size reduction versus a typical 4x4m cartesian palletiser. The cobot is inherently safe, using optical laser scanners to monitor the immediate area and stopping operation if potential human contact is identified.

Up to 50% less expensive

Based on a standardised platform and without the need of a heavy-duty sub-frame to support a large robot arm, the RB1200 has a more streamlined automation infrastructure at a dramatically reduced cost. The purchase price is up to 50% less than a comparable traditional palletiser robot, making it a viable investment for many businesses that have previously ruled out robotics on cost grounds. 

Maximum agility

The cobot’s intrinsic flexibility also contributes to a compelling payback case; the lack of extraneous kit makes the RB1200 easy to move between lines. 

“The RB1200 is light and transportable; it can easily be moved by pump truck to another line within minutes. By contrast, to redeploy a traditional robot palletiser to another part of the factory would be a huge undertaking, requiring a significant logistics effort and considerable time,” explains Dan. 

Changes at the touch of a screen

Not only is it easy to relocate the RB1200, but product, pack and layout configuration changes can be completed in minutes using Reeco’s EasyStack visual software. No programming skills or robot experience is required to redesign a pallet pattern – the operator simply has to enter a few parameters such as box and pallet dimensions, define the layout for the first and second layers, then repeat for as many layers as required.

Off-the-shelf solution

From order to installation within 2-3 weeks, the RB1200 slashes the wait time of a traditional robot by months. As well as minimal programming requirements, to achieve fast fulfilment the plug-and-play cobot is fitted with a standard, unique, universal end-effector which can handle 90%+ of box-based products. Reeco Automation can also provide custom-designed tooling for special application requirements.

Automation for all

With a maximum payload of 10kg and a cycle time of 12 picks per minute, the RB1200 cobot palletiser is ideally suited for small to medium volume producers. 

As OMRON’s first cobot solution partner, Reeco is looking forward to presenting the RB1200 to the market in conjunction with OMRON. “The cobot palletiser is an off-the-shelf, market-ready solution that represents great value for money, with no hidden costs in design or engineering. Leasing options and a fixed service contract are also available, making next-generation, end-of-line automation a reality for FMCG producers of all sizes,” says Reeco Managing Director Llewelyn Rees.  

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