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The Future of Robotics: An Interview with FANUC America

October 8, 2015

Fanuc Robotics Family
More and more companies are adding various forms of robotics to their operations as they seek to improve productivity, enhance worker safety, and keep labor costs down. We recently spoke with Wes Garrett, Packaging Account Manager at FANUC America about robotics in the material handling industry. He provided some great information regarding cost of ownership, indicators robotics may benefit an operation, and trends in new technologies.

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Posted in Automation, Manufacturing, Palletizers, Robotics, Warehousing| No Comments »

The Wonder of Robotic Palletizing

June 6, 2014

Robotic Palletizing

I recently attended an ESOP event at a specialty paints and stains company. During the tour of their plant, I got to see a robotic palletizing system in operation. I was impressed. Standing about 6 to 8 feet away from the action, I watched as it placed 5-gallon cans of paint in rows of 3 stacked 3 high. Each row was offset from the previous one, so that optimum pallet space was used. As the robot picked up cans off the conveyor belt using a vacuum end effector, it placed them precisely on the pallet. Then, it slightly dropped down and “bumped” them to make sure they seated onto the row below. That action made me chuckle as I considered what a profoundly human act that was – a little hip action to make sure the cans seated correctly.

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Manufacturing: Attacking the Skills Gap

February 3, 2014

CNC manufacturing cutting operation with bridge crane

In its 2011 “Skills Gap in Manufacturing” report, the Manufacturing Institute laid out the situation: as American manufacturing continues to expand, a lack of critical skills in the workforce is becoming an increasingly common limitation. In many places, we see classified ad pages full of jobs for skilled positions like CNC machinists, high-volume assembly technicians, welders, or electricians. With a reported 600,000 unfilled jobs in the manufacturing sector, it’s something that has to be addressed.

Certainly, lower-cost foreign labor is still a drain, but there is little manufacturers can do about that. What can manufacturers do?

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Posted in Manufacturing, Palletizers, Robotics| No Comments »

End-of-Line Robotic Palletizing: A Matter of When

July 11, 2013

robotic palletizing white paper

We’ve posted a new white paper in our growing library of free material handling, logistics, safety, and manufacturing information resources.  This paper focuses on the proliferation of end of line robotic palletizing, its growing benefits, methods, and more. If you are palletizing at the end of a production line, this is a must-read.

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Does Labor Cost you $2.24 an Hour?

May 2, 2012

Costs of warehouse labor

We all get it: labor is expensive. In distribution & warehousing  it’s one of the most expensive line items.

Automation and utilization of certain technologies (conveyors, as/rs, robotics) has helped alleviate these expenses and made companies more competitive, but there is no end in sight to cost pressures coming both from foreign competition and customer demand. Seegrid has created this graph, comparing the hourly costs of its driverless automated forklifts and that of a human operator.  The Seegrid trucks require no overtime, no dental insurance, and don’t take breaks. The unique thing about the Seegrid line is that it can deliver day-one ROI.

Posted in Automation, Cross Docking, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Robotics and End of the Line Packaging

November 18, 2011

End of line case packing robot with conveyor

The end of a manufacturing or distribution line is where the rubber meets the road for many operations. It’s potentially the last place where you have direct control of your product before it ships to retailers or direct customers. It’s where you can add a lot of value…or spoil a lot of value. The end of the line in many ways is more important to your company’s image as all its public relations, its websites, its brochures. It is often where your reputation can be made.

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Posted in Automation, Docks & Shipping, Manufacturing, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Robotics, Safety & Ergonomics, Supply Chain| No Comments »

Mixed-Load Robotic Palletizing Application Video

May 10, 2011

In this video, a Fanuc robot is executing mixed-load palletizing of beer cases at a distribution center.

In this operation, differently-sized beer cases are conveyed to the robot to fulfill a specific order. Since the cases vary by width, length, and height, their dimensional information is sent to the robot by the WMS (warehouse management system). The robot utilizes mixed-load palletizing software to determine the best pattern to build a pallet with the available products, achieving high density and stack stability with rapid speed.

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Robotics, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Cisco-Eagle Expands Robotics and Automation Offerings

January 10, 2011

Robot intengrated with conveyorsCisco-Eagle has always provided integrated material handling systems, but we’re entering a new phase by partnering with companies like SSI Schaefer, HighJump WMS, Orion Packaging, Fanuc Robotics, ABB Robotics, von Gal, and more. We recently invited Dr. Sam Chen to join us as Senior Robotics and Software Engineer. Dr. Chen will complement our existing controls and implementation services, allowing us to integrate robotics, palletizers, packaging machinery, and other equipment with conveyors and other material handling solutions.

We have engineered and implemented hundreds of systems in distribution, manufacturing, order fulfillment, and other applications. We can now help clients to a greater degree by providing advanced control systems, robotics, and more.

More details on these partnerships are coming soon.

Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Manufacturing, Material Handling, News, Order Picking & Fulfillment, Palletizers, Warehousing| No Comments »

Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

August 4, 2008

Palletizer - palletized cans

With the growing popularity of automating the palletizing function, we arranged an interview with vonGAL, a leading manufacturer who has the largest installed base of palletizers in the country. Bobby Edmond is vonGAL’s Director of Applications, and has been in the business for 25 years. He has seen applications in a wide range of industries, and in companies large and small. I asked him if he would take time to share his thoughts, and answer a few questions of interest to those that might be considering palletizing for the first time.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Palletizers. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues
  2. Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

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Posted in Automation, Conveyor, Material Handling, Palletizers, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »

Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues

June 30, 2008

lifting from the “golden zone”As interest continues to grow in automated palletizing, let’s take a brief look at a few of the issues surrounding these applications.

Over the next couple of months, I’ll be providing a handful of blog postings relative to palletizers. We will begin with what is driving the growth in the use of these products, then a look at basic systems, cost estimates, what you can expect from a properly applied palletizer system, and then share specifics from a couple of actual implementations in distribution centers.If you are experienced in palletizer systems, you will likely be familiar with much of what is covered here. If you are new to palletizing, or considering your first system, hopefully this information will help you understand what the issues are and how you can navigate them.

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This article is part of a series of articles on Palletizers. Click on a link below to view one of the other articles.
  1. Palletizers: ergonomics and justification issues
  2. Palletizer Perspectives: Is Palletizing Suitable for My Operation?

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Automation, Material Handling, Palletizers, Safety & Ergonomics, Space Saving, Supply Chain, Warehousing| No Comments »