What is a Pick and Place Robot?
When we address modern manufacturing and automation, one of the first and foremost types of robots mentioned is the pick and place robot. These particular robots serve the purpose of speeding up the process of picking up parts or items and placing them in another location. These helpful robots are used to handle repetitive tasks while freeing up their human counterparts to focus on more complex tasks.
There are various styles of pick and place robots and just as many purposes for which these robots are designed. However, they are typically mounted on a stable stand and positioned so that they can reach different areas to perform their function. They may have programmed advanced vision systems that allow them to view and identify the objects they need to grasp, move, and place in another area. Taking into consideration the job they are intended to perform, they may have a variety of design options and end-of-arm tools to better perform the job at hand.
Automation technology in the warehouse and on the production line is becoming all the more important with each passing year. From state of the art TMS platforms such as RedwoodConnect 2.0 to AI developments, technology in the warehouse is here to stay. The race to keep up with the competition in the logistics industry now relies heavily on the proper implementation of that tech. To help ensure that you are staying one step ahead, you really need to consider partnering with a reliable and well-rounded 3PL.
At Redwood, we not only give our clients the tools to help them succeed, but we also guide them and help them maintain those tools. Reach out to our team of warehousing experts to see how we can help you streamline your pick and place tasks through automation.
What Tasks can a Pick and Place Robot Handle?
Pick and place robots are most commonly used in manufacturing settings, but they are also used in a variety of other applications, depending on the product being handled and the best use of automation for the individual company. The most common ways in which pick and place robots are used are as follows:
- Assembly: Pick and place robots used in assembly grab part(s) from one incoming location and place the part(s) on another piece of the item being assembled. (For example, items on a conveyor belt) Those two parts would then move on to the next assembly area.
- Bin Picking: In this application, the robot is used to grab items or parts from bins, usually using an advanced vision system that allows them to determine and distinguish between different items via size, shape, or color. This is important in situations where bins may contain a mixture of items. The items are then moved or sent to another area for continued processing.
- Inspection: Using vision systems to monitor products on an incoming conveyor belt, defective or flawed items can be detected as they move through production. Pick and place robots can then be directed to remove the defective items or product before it moves further along in production.
- Packaging: For use in packaging, pick and place robots simply grab items from an incoming source and place them in packaging containers. This application is generally done at a fairly high speed, cutting down on packaging times significantly.
Why Use Pick and Place Robots?
The most obvious benefits to the usage of a pick and place robot are significantly increased speed and consistency. Pick and place robots can often reach and process up to 200 products per minute, and those with vision systems can identify 100 products per second on a moving conveyor. When the systems are well-integrated and properly maintained, there is also a very minimal rate of placement error.
These robots also have higher rates of consistency when completing assembly, quality control, and packaging tasks. This applies to other material handling tasks as well, thanks to the inability to make human error. With increased consistency comes overall improvement in quality and production, as well as a reduction in downtime caused by errors in production. The return on investment for pick and place automation is high thanks to the increases in speed, productivity, and quality control.
There is also the added benefit of relieving the human workforce of monotonous and repetitive tasks, freeing them up to do more complex and stimulating work. This boosts productivity and alleviates physical strain that warehouse associates and operators that perform these tasks are typically subject to. Finally, these robots are typically smaller in size, which makes them ideal in settings with limited space, and easily programmable, which can allow them to be adapted for a variety of tasks and functions.
Thanks to the many clear benefits of pick and place robots, they have become a very common application in warehouse and manufacturing facilities that are looking to implement more efficient automation tech. As previously mentioned, they provide high-value ROI for business owners looking to increase productivity, alleviate burnout and physical strain in associates, improve quality control, increase the speed of production, and can serve a variety of other functions.