Page 56 - Packaging News Magazine Nov-Dec 2018
P. 56

November-December 2018
LEFT: Operations manager at Prysm, Matthew Murphy, programs the
UR5 cobot.
RIGHT: The UR5, which has a payload capacity of up to five kilograms, is suitable for automating various low-weight processing tasks such as picking, placing, testing and labelling.
From robots to cobots
The introduction of collaborative robots – cobots – to carry out specific repetitive tasks on the
production lines of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) is set to make a substantial contribution Cto the productivity and competitiveness of Australian industry, writes Hartley Henderson.
OBOTS are small robots designed to wine glasses and liqueur shot glasses. “In 2009, Prysm began expanding its op- work in close collaboration with hu- Environmentally friendly bio-polymer erations and commenced contract packag- mans in carrying out repetitive shop biodegradable plastics derived from re- ing a range of beverages. The business is floor tasks, and benefits can include newable resources such as corn starch or structured to help customers keep their significant productivity improve- sugar cane, are utilised in the injection costs down without compromising the ment, delivery of consistent high qual- moulding processes. quality of their product,” he says.
ity, and quick return on investment. The filling and packaging facility has “Having an injection moulding factory, Australian businesses are starting to rec- three machines to fill products such as ice plus a filling and packaging facility on the
ognise the benefits that new technologies such as cobots can provide, especially when seeking an edge against low cost imports and in highly competitive overseas markets.
Prysm Industries, in the Melbourne sub- urb of Dandenong, is a family owned busi- ness that operates a biodegradable plastics injection moulding factory, together with a contract filling and packaging facility for a range of food and beverage products in its 300 square metre clean room.
The company, which has 2000 square metres under roof and another 1000 square metres of usable space for purposes such as loading trucks and storing pallets, em- ploys some 35 people and operates three shifts six days per week.
The moulding division has 12 injection moulding machines ranging from 30 tonne clamping capacity to 660 tonnes manufac- turing products ranging from homeware containers and ice cream buckets to plastic
cream containers and the single serve wine and liqueur shot glasses.
Matthew Murphy, operations manager, explains that Prysm commenced opera- tions about 50 years ago as a solely injec- tion moulding operation. Matthew’s father Paul bought the company 18 years ago.
The flexibility of cobots means they are particularly suitable for high-mix low-volume applications. Individualisation and mass customisation is the way of the future.”
same site, means that our customers can eliminate extra transport and warehous- ing costs.”
Murphy points out that the company is continuously looking for new and innova- tive ways to improve the productivity of its operations.
“This has included the installation of a cobot that is currently being used for the highly repetitive task of applying adhesive labels to plastic containers, as well as pack- ing the wine and shot glasses into boxes.
“The UR5 collaborative robot from Univer- sal Robots is delivering a high standard of accuracy and volume in its labelling task and has enabled staff to undertake other tasks around the factory floor.
“This cobot is fast and applies the label ac- curately to the same spot on the product ev- ery time,” Murphy says.

   54   55   56   57   58