Herndon, VA — Expanded intelligence, mobility and sensing capabilities are opening up new applications for robots and cobots in processing, primary packaging, secondary packaging and transport packaging, according to Robots & Cobots, An Automated Future, a paper produced by The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI). As a result, the report finds usage is growing along the entire line from initial inputs to end-of-line.
Most CPG companies operate robotics somewhere on the line, and this number will rise to 93 percent in the next five years. Deployment of cobots also will see strong growth with usage more than doubling from 27 percent in 2022 to 57 percent in 2027. Improvements in functionality such as vision, self-learning and artificial intelligence will spur adoption.
For CPG companies, installation of robotics can reduce labor and repetitive tasks, increase speed and productivity, achieve repeatable quality and consistent product handling, improvise operator safety and minimize waste and human error.
Cobots now have sensors for feedback, use hand movement-based guides for self-learning and are more mobile. Robots and cobots also are easier to program and require a smaller capital investment.
One of the main challenges to adoption is ROI justification. Other hurdles include internal shortfalls (time, skills, budget); total cost of ownership; OEM support for integration, training, and service; technology and functionality; and identifying appropriate applications.