Cobots Can be Solution to Industries Struggling with Labor Shortages

The exhibit of Ann Arbor’s Universal Robots at the recent Pack Expo 2021 in Las Vegas was designed to show how collaborative robots, or cobots, can help overcome the challenges of rising delivery expectations, growing labor shortages, and expanding order volumes in the packaging industry.
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Universal Robots exhibited its enhanced UR10e cobot at the Pack Expo show last week in Las Vegas. // Courtesy of Universal Robots
Universal Robots exhibited its enhanced UR10e cobot at the Pack Expo show last week in Las Vegas. // Courtesy of Universal Robots

The exhibit of Ann Arbor’s Universal Robots at the recent Pack Expo 2021 in Las Vegas was designed to show how collaborative robots, or cobots, can help overcome the challenges of rising delivery expectations, growing labor shortages, and expanding order volumes in the packaging industry.

At Pack Expo, the company showed to the packaging industry for the first time its longest reach cobot, the UR10e, featuring a new total payload of 27.55 pounds.

“That’s a 25 percent increase in payload and a zero percent increase in the price of the cobot, giving a significant boost to palletizing applications at no additional expense,” says Joe Campbell, senior manager of applications development at Universal Robots. “That means you can move more per pick, use heavier tools, and process heavier parts, supported by the 51-inch reach (51in) and small footprint that makes the UR10e our best-seller.”

The enhanced UR10e’s greater payload also takes more weight from the hands and shoulders of humans, leading to improved ergonomics and working conditions, the company states. With overexertion and repetitive motion accounting for an estimated 24 percent and 8 percent of workplace injuries respectively in the U.S. alone, this provides relief to human workers.

The company collaborates with more than 400 third-party companies that develop peripherals and application kits certified by UR for seamless compatibility with UR cobots. The products are available through the UR+ platform, the cobot industry´s largest ecosystem, assisting manufacturers to automate quickly and easily.

At Pack Expo, the UR10e was showcased powering UR+ partner Robotiq’s Palletizing Solution that redefines ease-of-use. Manufacturers simply open the box to find the hardware and software already connected and ready to install. Programming happens in just three steps, directly on the UR10e cobot’s teach pendant that runs Robotiq software suite’s Material Handling Copilot.

The Copilot automatically generates and optimizes all trajectories and robot movements based on the pallet design, matching line throughput.

To fully optimize end-of-line tasks, automating the erecting of cardboard boxes is key. The box EZ by Flex-Line Automation solves this job. The box EZ by Flex-Line Automation, also showcased at UR’s Pack Expo booth, is a collaborative box building solution with a small footprint. It builds multiple sizes of boxes and can automatically replace them in a queue so that users never run out of the box size that they need.

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