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Yaskawa receives Robotics Award 2020 – 3rd place for patented «Air Grip World» for breweries

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With a flexible robot cell for the automatic handling of bottles, we have secured 3rd place in the Robotics Award. The system is installed on a platform and can be moved if required.
With the new development «Air Grip World» we show how the robot-based handling of bottles can work. The complete solution is designed in such a way that safe, flexible and fast processes for loading and unloading of crates or cartons can be implemented in a practical way.

In the submitted solution, a Motoman robot with patented gripper technology is used – including the complete required system environment. With a flexible robot cell for the automatic handling of bottles, Yaskawa has won third place in the Robotics Award. The robot can not only move the bottles, but also pack them into crates. The system can handle six to eight of them per minute.

In addition to the grippers, Yaskawa’s equipment includes a manipulator, the robot controller, the HMI panel and a frequency converter. All components are from Yaskawa and complement each other to form a technically simple solution that has already proven itself in practice. The cell is mounted on a mobile platform. This means that the system can not only be put into operation quickly, but can also be easily moved with a forklift if necessary. The plant capacity is around six to eight crates per minute, with the system itself having a carton erector and a closing device. This space-saving handling solution is therefore particularly suitable for use in small and medium-sized companies. With a bottle table, optionally equipped with one or two robots, the individual bottles can be fed automatically.

The special feature of the system are the patented grippers. They are stable, durable and can be individually configured. In the rare event of a defect, the user can maintain and repair them himself thanks to the modular design. This aspect has already convinced large packaging line operators. In addition to many breweries and beverage producers, Norway’s Roma Mineralvannfabrikk AS also uses the special gripper system together with the sorting table. Two models are used especially in this application. One is the heavy-duty robot Motoman SP800 with five axes, which can move a weight of up to 800 kg, and the other is the palletiser Motoman MPL500 with four axes and a load capacity of 500 kg. Thanks to the higher filling capacities, the company was able to increase its sales by around 30 percent. Robots from Motoman are also used in other areas of the beverage industry, such as palletizing.

In a Paderborn brewery, the MPL500 II model handles foreign empties and precisely handles up to 1000 beverage crates per hour. If this were to be sorted by hand today, 15 to 20 employees would be required. In addition, this is a physically demanding task, which, moreover, would no longer correspond to the generally high degree of automation of modern bottling plants.

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