Highly Customizable and Flexible Packaging Station for mid- to upper sized Electronic Consumer Goods using Industrial Robots

This project aims to develop a scalable and flexible packaging tool to aid human workers in packaging a range of goods. The idea is to automate the packaging process so that several production lines of various consumer goods, mostly heavy goods such as TVs, can be amalgamated into one packaging line. Many consumer goods have large numbers of variables (size, colour, range of features) and thus need to be packaged manually. Automating the packaging process decreases production cycle times and associated costs, even for mixed-variable production lines, meaning that several production lines can be merged into a smaller number of packaging stations and parameters such as the number of items produced per day can be easily modified. To achieve these goals, CustomPacker will bring together the skills of human workers with the precision and dexterity afforded by robots. The final goal is to achieve one setup which is able to package a high variety of products and components using a programmable system architecture. Notably, the system will include an innovative feature to recognise the worker’s intentions, namely if it realises that the worker is due to walk over to it, eventually it will be able, for example, to hand over a tool to him/her, thus streamlining the production process even further. All of this will enhance the ways in which industrial robots are used today, in particular with regard to human-robot interaction. In addition, product cycle times will be reduced, paying for the increased investment in complex equipment by optimising reliability and the precision of existing technologies. Given the range of consumer goods produced in Europe and the scope for automation, the impact of this project on European industry is expected to be important for automated companies and consumers.
More information
Web resources: http://www.custompacker.eu/
Start date: 01-07-2010
End date: 30-06-2013
Total budget - Public funding: 3 816 281,00 Euro - 2 615 000,00 Euro
Call topic: Smart Factories: ICT for agile and environmentally friendly manufacturing (FoF.ICT.2010.10.1)
Cordis data

Original description

The project entitled Highly Customizable and Flexible Packaging Station for mid- to upper sized Electronic Consumer Goods using Industrial Robots (CustomPacker) aims at developing and integrating a scalable and flexible packaging assistant that aids human workers while packaging mid to upper sized and mostly heavy goods.Electronic consumer goods, e.g. TV sets, have a large number of variants and are packaged manually. Only in single-variant production lines with high lot sizes, an automation of the packaging step has been introduced. However, automating the packaging process will decrease the production cycle time and costs also for mixed variant production lines, thus allowing that several production lines can be merged to a reduced number of flexible packaging stations. This also allows an optimization with regard to the actual demands of the (various) goods (i.e. number of items produced per day). In order to achieve the realization of these challenging goals for a highly flexible packaging station, CustomPacker will bring together the highly adaptable skills of a human worker together with the precision and ability of robots to carry heavy goods.The main goal of CustomPacker is to design and assemble a packaging workstation mostly using standard hardware components resulting in a universal handling system for different products. Ideally one setup for packaging a high variety of products and components can be implemented, which can be achieved by a teachable system architecture. This will open a new dimension of today's way in how industrial robots are deployed, namely the collaboration of human workers together with robot co-workers. Only by driving the reliability and precision of today's available technology to the limits and by additionally forcing the use of highly sophisticated software modules for worker detection and intention recognition, the cycle times can be reduced in order to justify the investment costs for additional complexity.



Call topic


Update Date