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New pallet assembly robot boosts sustainability

Home Engineering Automation & Control New pallet assembly robot boosts sustainability

DELTA Engineering has created a versatile new robot for the in-house assembly of cardboard pallets for manufacturers. The robot’s movements are controlled by Omron’s Sysmac automation platform.

Delta Engineering develops complete solutions for companies in the blow moulding industry. The company design and manufacture a whole range of machines for the production and packaging of plastic bottles and containers.

Traditionally, many blow moulding factories use wooden pallets for transporting their products. The empty pallets are brought to the factory, filled and then moved to the filling factory.

Delta Engineering realised that if cardboard pallets could be produced in-house, this would significantly reduce the amount of road transportation needed, providing a more environmentally sustainable operation.

This spurred the development of the DPR200 pallet assembly robot, which has been designed to enable factories to produce their own cardboard pallets of all sizes up to 1422 mm².

The robot can be used to assemble up to 100,000 pallets in-house each year. This will help to reduce the costs, transportation needs and weight of the pallets when compared with the wooden alternatives, which are heavy and labour-intensive to handle for the operators.

Another advantage of cardboard pallets is that they are recyclable in the current paper or cardboard recycling stream. Moreover, it is a space-saving solution because factories will no longer need storage space for their pallets, as they can produce the pallets by themselves whenever they need them.

The company needed a supplier that could provide a flexible platform for controlling the robot’s movements. This included the need to create pallets of different sizes and a flexible way to glue the pallet parts. The glue needed to be applied in the correct places so that up to nine cardboard blocks, also folded by the robot, could be attached to the base of the pallet board.

This could be achieved with the help of a CNC (computer numerical control) code. The blocks produced in the robot’s pallet framework can then be inserted in the correct orientation on the pallet board.

Koen Hendrickx, Teamleader Automation Engineer for Delta Engineering, said they chose Omron because of their long-standing relationship, reputation for industrial automation and innovation, the easy implementation of their automation concept, and the quality of their technical support.

“We were also impressed by the Sysmac platform EtherCAT’s very fast machine network, the safety implementation, the motion concept, and the company’s ability to provide the solution in a short timeframe,” Hendrickx added.

“The new DPR200 pallet assembly robot will enable factories to produce cardboard pallets in-house, frequently avoiding transport and trouble involved when using wooden pallets, helping them reach their sustainability goals.”

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