Automation of the plastics industry | Robotics Tomorrow

It is the job of robot manufacturers to better inform the market that automation can increase their productivity and efficiency while remaining competitive. For the plastics and injection molding market, investments in automation certainly do not automatically lead to the exhaustion of human labor. Instead, robots should be seen as a means to do more with the equipment plastics manufacturers currently have.

One of the biggest challenges robot manufacturers face is the perception that technology is there to do people’s work – but that’s just not the case. Unfortunately, the notion that automation poses a threat to jobs often overshadows the potential benefits of investing in technology. Here, Nigel Smith, Founder and CEO of TM Robotics, explains how robot technology is affecting the plastics and injection molding market.

It is the job of robot manufacturers to better inform the market that automation can increase their productivity and efficiency while remaining competitive. For the plastics and injection molding market, investments in automation certainly do not automatically lead to the exhaustion of human labor. Instead, robots should be seen as a means to do more with the equipment plastics manufacturers currently have.

Think of this as an example.

In the past, most end users chose a classic XY Cartesian gantry robot to unload parts from an injection molding machine. Today the technology is available to enhance and complement this basic operation. By using a ceiling-mounted six-axis robot, for example, to remove a product from the molding machine, it is possible to work more with the specific part that you want to remove. During this process, the robot allows you to inspect, assemble or package the product.

TM Robotics recently expanded its six-axis range of robots, including the introduction of the TVM six-axis range, a machine designed to meet the growing demand for this type of automation. The larger payload and the longer reach of the machine enable TM Robotics to offer a solution for the unloading and loading of larger machines in the plastics sector, such as: B. the integration of larger injection molding machines, where Toshiba Machine is the market leader.

Ceiling-mounted robots are also a growing area for this market. They are particularly advantageous because they minimize the space required. For example, if you have a ceiling-mounted SCARA, you can use it in a much narrower and more compact area than if it were floor-mounted. From an efficiency point of view, if the robot is mounted above a conveyor belt, you can use a smaller and faster robot, which in turn increases productivity.

SCARA robots are particularly successful in the plastics industry for unloading injection molding machines. TM Robotics recently supported the launch of Toshiba Machine’s newest SCARA model, THE400 SCARA.

Automation can be a big investment, so it’s no surprise that the market is getting more bang for the buck, so to speak. However, the cost of automation is quickly becoming more competitive. Customers from the plastics industry want their robots to be more dexterous. You want to use the robot to inspect, take the part out of the injection molding machine, pick up the part, show it to the vision camera and, if it’s good, move it downstream.

At TM Robotics, we want to make sure the market understands these potential benefits. Robots should be viewed as job savers, not job takers. It is our job to make sure that the productivity, efficiency and economic benefits of automation are evident.

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