because it is an existing, standard approach
to software templating, which will be a
benefit to us in engineering development.
More importantly, it benefits our customers,”
Intelligrated’s (Booth #C-3036) Alvey®
robotic partial and mixed-load palletizing
and depalletizing solutions use the latest
advancements in robotic integration, software, controls and vision technology.
“We have used Motoman’s MLX platform on several jobs with good results. The
Allen-Bradley PLC runs all the programming,
functions and controls, simplifying integration with the Motoman developed AOIs,” says
Earl Wohlrab, robotic and palletizing systems
products manager, Intelligrated.
“We integrated our GoKart order fulfill-
ment solution with a mobile robot from Adept,
applying its autonomous mobilization technol-
ogy to a distribution and fulfillment environ-
ment. Enhancing cart picking with robotic
mobility reduces order time in
transit through the distribution center and
frees labor to focus on more complex tasks
without overhauling existing workflow,"
The integrated Adept robot uses onboard
lasers and mapping technology to navigate
through a warehouse or manufacturing facility, adjusting its path to move around obstructions.
The gift of vision
Robots are advancing on many additional
fronts. Vision sensors give robots the ability to
sort by color and enable a variety of nimble
end-of-arm tooling. Additionally, OEMs are
equipping robots with features to advance
spatial awareness, allowing personnel to
work safely adjacent to the robots. With no
need for additional cages, fences or guards,
and the ability to move between locations,
these robots add flexibility to operations.
Consumer goods manufacturers have
also seen robot designs that support sanitary
food handling and pharmaceutical aseptic
processing; and robots that learn from expe-
rience and adjust accordingly to execute
applications support faster, more flexible
In the realm of more seamless data sharing between packaging machines and their
robot partners, new machine form factors
with common control systems are providing
simplified, lower cost designs.
OEMs are pushing the envelope by inte-
grating robotics in new and different ways.
For example, the Rockwell Automation i TRAK
is a two-axis robot in the guise of a racetrack
conveyor in which end-effector paddles
on the conveyor control the product in lieu
of traditional robot arms. Within Rockwell
Automation’s programming environment,
motion and movement can be changed on
different areas of the line as the robotic units
work independently or in coordinated fashion.
“The robot is tightly integrated on the control
architecture side as well as the software side
so there is no issue with integration and tim-
ing between machines,” says Peters.
Robotics will continue to evolve as robot
and automation vendors collaborate to meet
packagers’ demand for a standard unified
control system that is simple, flexible and
easy to maintain.