Guided robots add labels to round mugs

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Guided robot

Food storage manufacturer Sistema continually introduces new products into the market.

Recently this included a range of round soup mugs and other products with rounded sides. However these proved to be a major challenge for the company’s existing labelling machine, used on traditional flat-sided products.

“The rounded products just didn’t label very well because they were virtually impossible to guide as they came down the conveyor. As they were presented to the labeller, you didn’t know which orientation it was going to be, and the label placement was very inaccurate,” says Sistema engineering manager Oliver Jensen.

The tapered shape of the soup mug, and the fact that the product was still warm from the plastic injection moulder created additional challenges. Conventional machinery could squeeze and warp the shape of the product, while also leaving marks.

Initially, operators used a mandrel to manually label each rounded product. However, ever-increasing production demands meant that a more efficient, automated solution had to be quickly devised.

“When we decided to look at a camera-guided robotic solution, there were many companies who were keen to sell us a camera, but most were completely unable to help us integrate it. That’s where ControlVision came in – they were able to supply both the hardware and engineering know-how to make the solution work,” Mr Jensen said.

For the soup mug product, a Cognex In-Sight 5100 smart camera identifies the mug handle’s location before the Adept Cobra i600 robot places the product on the labeller, in order to ensure an exact and consistent label placement every time.

See a video of the robotic labeller on www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aDgx-2qMW0

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