OMRON and Reeco have collaborated on the development of the new RB1200 cobot palletiser, which they say costs up to 50% less and has a 60% smaller footprint than a conventional robot palletiser.

“The concept of collaborative robots working alongside humans has already been proven in automotive, warehousing, and fulfilment environments. We believe the time is right and the technology is ready for this next-generation automation approach to be adopted for palletising tasks across a range of industries, from food and drink to personal care and pharmaceuticals,” comments Dan Rossek, marketing manager for OMRON UK.

According to OMRON, although they have been a mainstay of FMCG production lines for many years, robot palletisers take up considerable floor space, are complex to specify and programme, and are almost impossible to redeploy to another location, making them cost-prohibitive for many SMEs.

Reeco and OMRON describe their RB1200 cobot palletiser as a compact plug-and-play system that can be switched between lines. This reportedly ensures users can maximise their investment by providing flexibility to cope with rapid changes in demand across the factory.

Without the need for all-round guarding, the RB1200 measures in at 2.2 x 3.2m, which apparently equates to a 60% size reduction versus a typical 4x4m cartesian palletiser.

The companies also say that product, pack and layout configuration changes can be “completed in minutes” using Reeco’s EasyStack visual software. No programming skills or robot experience is required to redesign a pallet pattern – the operator has to enter a few parameters such as box and pallet dimensions, define the layout for the first and second layers, then repeat for as many layers as required.

From order to installation within 2-3 weeks, OMRON claims that the RB1200 slashes the wait time of a traditional robot by months. As well as minimal programming requirements, to achieve fast fulfilment the plug-and-play cobot is fitted with a standard, unique, universal end-effector which can reportedly handle 90%+ of box-based products. Reeco Automation can also provide custom-designed tooling for special application requirements.