June 14, 2012      

Automation integrators, as well SMBs looking to speed up their materials handling operations, have long awaited a simple solution in a robot palletizer. ABB Robotics, may have recently answered that need with the launch of the PalletPack 460, a pre-engineered package of robotic palletizing components featuring the new IRB 460 robot designed specifically for high speed, end-of-line palletizing.

FactoryEquipment.com?The packaged configuration, claims ABB, offers integrated hardware with full documentation, reducing overall project costs and significantly reducing set-up engineering time. It will allow integrators to more easily specify and design palletizing systems, and reduce the barriers for end-users to realize the benefits of robotic palletizing automation.

Klas Bengtsson, product manager for ABB?s picking, packing and palletizing offer, comments, ?ABB is very serious about palletizing. This new function package allows integrators with little robotic experience to enter this market.

abb 460

ABB claims that the PalletPack is easy to work with, without the need for any special robot programming know-how. ?Robot grippers, safety and cell control PLCs, graphical HMI and software all come ready to plug-in and produce,? adds Bengtsson.

Available for either high-speed bag palletizing or compact end-of-line case palletizing, the function package consists of an IRB 460 palletizing robot; a Flex-Gripper (either the Claw or one-zone Clamp gripper); an ABB control PLC; an ABB safety PLC; PalletWare support software; user documentation; and the ABB FlexPendant featuring an easy-to-use graphical HMI.

The heart of the PalletPack is the IRB 460, the fastest known palletizing robot on the market. The 4-axis IRB 460 features a reach of 2.4 meters and 110-kilogram capacity, with a compact footprint that makes it ideal for integration into existing packing lines.

Wizard-enabled setup and programming

A prime feature of the PalletPack is the programming wizard which makes the programming very similar to that used for a traditional PLC. This enables PLC programmers without specific robotic experience to program the system, eliminating the complications that can arise when special skills are required.
The programming and operation are carried out via the user-friendly FlexPendant, the standard ABB Robotics HMI. This features a graphical interface with four user-friendly screens: pallet-and-pick setup, pallet pattern set-up, path profile edition and movement edition.

In summarizing the benefits of this innovative new programming method Bengtsson states, ?Programming times for the PalletPack 460 can be reduced by as much as 65% compared to traditional methods, shortening the return on investment and making robotic palletizing highly attractive to a wide range of end-users. What used to take days now takes only minutes. Robot programmers are an increasingly rare resource, so this package is truly transformational.?