The global market in packaging robotics and robotic automation is growing fast – at around 13% compound annual growth. That’s set to continue through to at least 2025 by which time the market is set to be worth $3bn. Robots will be integral part of packaging for the foreseeable future.

Find PPMA Member Companies who are experts in Packaging Robotics through our Machinery Finder.

 

What are the benefits of robots in packaging?

Automatic packing machines based on the use of robots replace the repetitive and unrewarding roles traditionally performed by people. Robots are faster and more efficient, and are not subject to the same safety considerations as human workers. With precise movements they minimise damage to products and help avoid contamination of foods and pharmaceuticals.

Robots are also part of a modern approach to industrial processes known as Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution. (The first was mechanisation, the second was mass production, the third computerisation and automation). Robotics today are about connectivity and smart systems fuelled by data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Yes, robots on a packaging or processing line can operate fast and save money against a large labour force. But the future encompasses a world where robots, as part of a hi-tech, data-driven infrastructure, seamlessly optimise advanced operations and production in line with instructions generated by technology rather than being dictated by humans. 

If you need to increase production because of a spike in demand, your connected production line will know. And if you’ve excess product in storage, the production line will slow down accordingly. The decisions will be accurate and data-driven, so the entire operation is designed to achieve optimum efficiency.

PPMA members are well aware of the current challenges of finding staff for their production and packaging lines, making robotic automation increasingly attractive. 

 

What are collaborative robots?

Many production and packaging lines already feature collaborative robots or cobots working alongside human beings. A key benefit of cobots is that they perform dull, repetitive tasks with maximum efficiency, instead of being handled by unskilled workers. They are able to handle products of all types, sizes and weights, and they are not subject to safety concerns or working with extreme temperatures. 

 

What do robots cost?

As the use of robotics grows, so does the range of robots available for different purposes. While some robots are being developed to perform very specific functions, others are becoming available which are more flexible and are designed to meet a range of different requirements.

The other trend is that costs are coming down. There is also an alternative to purchase through Robots as a Service, which mirrors the non-ownership model of SaaS (Software as a Service). 

 

Find out more about Packaging Robotics at PPMA Total Show 2019

You can find out about robotics in depth at PPMA Total Show which runs for three days from 1-3 October at NEC Birmingham.

As well as networking opportunities with thousands of industry peers, you’ll also be able to meet robotics suppliers, consultants and experts. 

 

Key exhibitors are:

ABB Robotics – industrial robots and robot software, and complete application solutions

Active8Robots – specialists in collaborative robots and consultancy

Acrovision – collaborative robots and robot arms

BW Integrated Systems – robotic solutions for the packaging industry

Epson UK – 6-axis and SCARA robots, controllers and more

HMK Robotics – Cobots including products with integrated vision as standard

ICS – autonomous mobile robots for production line and warehouse logistics

IGUS – Low cost modular robotics systems

Olympus Technologies – Specialised low-cost collaborative robots

PWR Pack – Robotic packaging solutions for the food industry

Reeco – Europe’s #1 Cobot integrator

Schunk Intec – modular end-of-arm modular robot systems