ABB’s collaborative robot (cobot) technology has improved productivity at Nestlé’s Brazilian chocolate manufacturing plants by over 50%, according to the company.
Co-developed by ABB and Nestlé’s engineering team, SafeMove cobot cells perform pallet loading tasks.
Each cell features an ABB IRB 660 robot with a suction gripper head to move boxes from the end of the production line to the pallet, stacking them accurately to ensure a balanced load.
According to ABB, at Nestlé’s Caçapava factory, the use of SafeMove has resulted in a 40% smaller footprint compared to previous fenced cells at the site.
Furthermore, the new installation has been so successful that it has now been installed at three other Nestlé factories in Brazil, with 13 palletising cells currently in operation and further installations and commissioning underway.
ABB’s robot monitoring software, SafeMove, enables safe intermittent collaboration between the robot and production line workers, who occasionally need to enter the palletising area to speed up pallet changes.
SafeMove detects movement and restricts a robot’s speed, motion and position when a person comes near. allowing large industrial robots to work safely and reliably alongside people, without the need for fences, safety switches, doors and locks.
Sami Atiya, president of ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation, said: “Food and beverage manufacturers like Nestlé increasingly need more flexibility on their production lines to enable them to adapt to changing consumer tastes and demands, allowing their employees to collaborate intermittently with robots in their production centres.
“At the same time, they require higher levels of productivity and efficiency while maintaining the highest levels of product quality.
“Collaborative robot technologies like SafeMove help us deliver on all of these requirements, and by removing the need for extensive fencing, enable us to bring automation to smaller spaces, anywhere on the production line.”