Pally at AkzoNobel: – Perfect solution for our needs

At AkzoNobel, they are exploiting the benefits of having a cobot palletizing solution with our Pally software.

“An industrial robot requires fencing and has a huge footprint. This is not the case with a cobot. Given the weight of the boxes and the speed of the line, an industrial robot would be overkill. A cobot solution was the perfect solution for our needs.”

The man behind this quote is Willem Boere, who is the Engineering & maintenance manager at AkzoNobel. They found the small footprint of the Pally installation to be an important reason when Rocketfarms partner, Olmia Robotics, asked why they went for a cobot instead of an industrial robot.

Olmia Robotics has been interviewing Boere regarding their Pally installation, Palletbooster. In addition to a small footprint, Boere highlights its ability to work with several patterns and at different production lines, as other important benefits of the solution.

Interview with Willem Boere

(Engineering & Maintenance manager)

What was the main reason for automating?
– It gets more and more difficult to hire people, and we were experiencing a shortage of personnel. Even labor migrants are difficult to obtain. In addition to this, the cost of having personnel is increasing. However, the price people are willing to pay for the product does not increase. Therefore, we had to look at other solutions to solve this issue, Boere says.

How did employees react to automation? Are they afraid of losing their jobs or being given other tasks?
– At the start, the employees were afraid of losing their jobs. However, after gaining some insights, they saw the benefits that came from having a cobot at the facility. They now see it as an opportunity to work their way up by learning how to program the cobot. Investing in automation will not cost us any jobs. The workforce will be used in tasks that are better suited for humans.

AkzoNobel Palletizing solution using the Pally software

Would you like to do more automation with cobots in the future?
– We have three products that require a lot of work to assemble, pack and stack on a pallet. The first one is a product where two items must be placed in a blister, with a cardboard manual/product specifications. The second concerns a two-component product that goes into a collection box and then has to be stacked in an outer box. The third is a two-component product to which a can, a tube hardener, spatula and a manual must be added. The whole thing is covered with a lid, Boere says and continues:
– If this is to be automated, the cobots must be able to process three very different products in one working cell. We’re working with Olmia to develop a custom work cell for this, that would be able to handle the work of three packers.

Do you have any problems with the cobot solution? Is it for example necessary to stop production or do big changes in the production line to make it fit?
– The cobot is a flexible solution that is being used on various production lines. When changing products in the production line, the correct stacking pattern is set. In this way, we are exploiting the value of the cobot.

How did the whole process go, did you have any unexpected problems?
– The palletbooster was quickly set up, but the programming caused some problems. So much that we actually considered to return the cobot. However, the problem eventually got solved and an engineer at Alabastine can now program the cobot without any problems.

What do you get from automating the palletizing task?
– Stacking boxes is now done by the cobot. This saves us one full-time equivalent. In addition, it is not necessary to count boxes manually to check whether the correct number of boxes are stacked on the pallet. This is now counted automatically by the cobot solution. As a result, we also save time with counting and possible corrections.


Start the process of automating your palletizing

At AkzoNobel, they are enjoying the benefits of their Pally installation. If you are considering automating and want to verify your palletizing project, feel free to check out – the Fast Track to Cobot Palletizing.

With basic information about your product, the cobot palletizing search engine will provide you with a digital video of a cobot palletizing solution. In addition to this, you will also get a detailed performance report and even help you get in touch with available solution providers. This product-service is free to use and include everything you need to move forward with your project!

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