Even smaller producers have a need for automation, whether at a very basic level or a complex customised solution, and in Australia, due to the smaller population and size of the country, equipment needs to be flexible.
It’s common here for a business to have the need to pack different size products in different configurations, all on the same machine, where in Europe where you could have one machine doing one job for a long period of time. Here, the changeover needs to be quick and easy, with anything up to 21 configurations required of one machine.
This means the planning phase for automation is often longer, and machines need to have the longevity to cope with consumer demands. It’s important to identify the various scenarios and possible configurations required during this stage, and ensure the design accommodates these.
Consumers are driving manufacturing. Manufacturers are responding to consumer demands at a more rapid pace, and machines need to keep up with these changing demands. One solution is the use of collaborative robots, also known as ‘cobots’, which are now changing the face of productivity and manufacturing in Australia.
Collaborative robots are robots that are designed to operate collaboratively with humans, and are easily integrated into a wide range of production environments.
Cobots are a potential solution to the shortage of labour for repetitive tasks because of their ability the same job over and over with complete accuracy. Importantly, and contrary to popular opinion, the introduction of automation can lead to job growth. A recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) indicates that automation programs carried out in the USA and Germany had a positive effect on employment. In the German automotive sector, the growth of jobs increased at the same pace as the growth of robotic automation because increased efficiencies and productivity results in lower prices, which then results in increased demand, thereby allowing companies to grow and create positions for better skilled employees.
The applications are really only limited by your imagination. See cobots in action and find out more about how they can help your business at the HMPS Open Day.
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About the author
Mark Emmett, Managing Director, HMPS
HMPS is the largest original equipment manufacturer in Australia. A wholly owned Australian company specialising in the design, development and manufacturing of high quality machinery for packaging processes. The company designed and developed the first ‘bag in box’ machinery back in the eighties and has since grown to offer case packers, RSC, palletisers, carton erectors and sealers, pick and place applications and specialised robotic solutions. HMPS export to Asia, South Africa, New Zealand, Europe and the United States. HMPS is based in Adelaide with offices in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.