Delta Engineering has created a versatile new robot for the in-house assembly of cardboard pallets for manufacturers. Delta Engineering designs machines and solutions to improve customers’ efficiency in terms of process, labour, packaging material and/or transport costs, which also applies for the DPR200 pallet assembly robot. The robot’s movements are controlled by OMRON’s Sysmac automation platform, which provides the flexibility, reliability and accuracy required for such a complex operation.
The Challenge: Developing the new robot
Traditionally, many blow moulding factories use wooden pallets for transporting their products. The empty pallets are brought to the factory, filled and then moved to the filling factory. These transports of empty bottles between factories mostly consist of air, increasing the need for transportation. Delta Engineering realised that if cardboard pallets could be produced in-house, this would significantly reduce the amount of road transportation needed, providing a more environmentally sustainable operation.
The company therefore developed the DPR200 pallet assembly robot, which has been designed to enable factories to produce their own cardboard pallets of all sizes up to 56 inches² (1422 mm²). The robot can be used to assemble up to 100,000 pallets in-house each year. This will help to reduce the costs, transportation needs and weight of the pallets when compared with the wooden alternatives, which are heavy and labour-intensive to handle for the operators.
Another advantage of cardboard pallets is that they are recyclable in the current paper or cardboard recycling stream. Moreover, it is a space-saving solution because factories will no longer need storage space for their pallets, as they can produce the pallets by themselves whenever they need them.
However, the company needed a supplier that could provide a flexible platform for controlling the robot’s movements. This included the need to create pallets of different sizes and a flexible way to glue the pallet parts. The glue needed to be applied in the correct places so that up to nine cardboard blocks, also folded by the robot, could be attached to the base of the pallet board.
Koen Hendrickx, Teamleader Automation Engineer for Delta Engineering, says: “We chose OMRON because of our longterm relationship with them, their reputation for industrial automation and innovation, the easy implementation of their automation concept, and the qualitative technical support they supply. We were also impressed by the Sysmac platform EtherCAT’s very fast machine network, the safety implementation, the motion concept, and the company’s ability to provide the solution in a short timeframe.
“The new DPR200 pallet assembly robot will enable factories to produce cardboard pallets in-house, frequently avoiding transport and trouble involved when using wooden pallets, helping them reach their sustainability goals. OMRON’s Sysmac controller has been a key item in enabling us to offer flexible design, high reliability and state-of-the-art technicalcomponents.”