DENMARK – Automation machinery manufacturer Omron has provided its collaborative robot (cobot) to support the end-of-line packaging process of ice cream tubs for Denmark-based ice cream manufacturer Ice Bakers.

The deployment of this cobot will help Ice Bakers to address the increasing demand of its customers for vegan ice cream by packaging up to 12,000 ice cream tubs every day, OMRON said in a LinkedIn post.

The company provided its ‘OMRON cobot’, which is equipped with a 3D-printed suction cup tool. The cobot was then installed at the end of the production line at Ice Bakers’ facility.

It is capable of lifting a total of eight tubs at a time and putting them into the requisite cardboard boxes.

OMRON stated that the cobot has increased the overall line capacity of the ice cream manufacturer by 80% while minimizing the requirement for human involvement in the process.

In a report, Packaging Scotland quoted OMRON Industrial Automation Europe Denmark’s channel sales manager Torben Friløw as saying: “It is a good example of how as a food manufacturer, you sometimes get overtaken by reality when you invent a good product that consumers demand.

“And then there is often a need for automation solutions that make it possible to scale up production so that capacity does not become a hindrance to growth.”

There has been rising adoption of cobots in the packaging industry in the decade. Unlike traditional industrial robots, which operate autonomously and often require safety barriers to prevent accidents, cobots are designed to work alongside humans safely and efficiently.

Over the years, several advancements have been made in the field of cobots, from improvements in sensor technology and artificial intelligence to more intuitive human-machine interfaces

With maximized accuracy and repeatability, cobots eliminate improper or inefficient packaging that leads to bottlenecks in production such as damaged products, repacking and rework, and wasted shipping space.

From packaging individual parts to packing into larger containers to palletizing in preparation for shipping, cobots automate the process with consistency and nonstop operation, cobots significantly optimize the overall cost and fulfillment timeline for a job.

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