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Increased productivity in forming boxes in a veterinary application

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Using Piab's B52XP suction cups and piCOMPACT23 SMART pump, Cob-Solution designed and built a system to handle the picking and opening of cardboard boxes at Rao Farmaceutici, Sicilian veterinary pharmacy that is investing in e-commerce and selling throughout all Europe.

Cob-Solution's system, called CoBox Erector, was installed inside the logistics department at the customer's Partinico site, in the province of Palermo. The solution was designed to relieve the operator from the repetitive activity of forming and taping boxes, allowing him to devote himself to tasks with a higher added value.

The process chain

The system is fully configurable and offers the possibility of handling different box formats, thanks to its double bay design. The maximum capacity of each bay is 40 pieces with a carton thickness of 5 mm. The system is capable of forming and taping 4 boxes per minute, taking the knocked-down box directly from the warehouse. The gripper with Piab's solutions is used in the forming phase.

Once formed and taped, the boxes are placed on a roller conveyor placed above the system and, by gravity, descend onto the line where the operator fills them with the drugs ordered online by customers. These are fed into the production line from an automatic warehouse.

After being filled, the boxes are closed and taped by the Cob-Solution system. They are then checked by the operator, labelled automatically and dispatched to customers.

The Cob-Solution plant is equipped with remote assistance to reduce on-site interventions and optimize time and resources.

The gripping challenge

"The difficulty was the dimensional difference of the box formats to be handled, an issue that was solved thanks to the support of Piab's technicians who allowed us to grip even our customer's largest and heaviest format with reliability and precision," says Federico Caroppo, Cob-Solution's CEO.

"Another challenge was the porosity and stiffness of the cardboard. Here too, the expertise of Piab's technicians and Mr. Cristian Mazzetti of TMA, Piab's authorized distributor, guided us in the best possible way in choosing the right technology," adds Matteo Barbieri, Cob-Solution's Technical Manager.

The cooperation and results

Federico continues: "Piab has always been our first choice for our standardized solutions because of the reliability they are able to guarantee us. For us, it is essential to have a supplier who is able to size and supply a complete vacuum gripping system, as in this case, avoiding using a mix of products that would also make it complex for the customer to get spare parts.

Matteo concludes: "Thanks to the automated solutions adopted, our customer has experienced a 30% increase in productivity and is considering the introduction of our system in its other production plants. Most small and medium-sized companies have not yet fully perceived what collaborative technology can do for them and we help companies to reach this awareness".

The advantages of Piab's vacuum technology

B-XP bellows suction cups are ideal for uneven and porous surfaces such as cardboard. They are made of DURAFLEX®, a material specially developed by Piab, which has the elasticity of rubber and the wear resistance of polyurethane. DURAFLEX® material is also mark-free.

Based on COAX® technology, piCOMPACT®23 SMART is a configurable vacuum ejector developed for robotic handling applications. It integrates 2 solenoid valves for vacuum generation and blow-off, a vacuum switch and a series of sophisticated software functions that reduce compressed air consumption and simplify robot installation and programming due to its extreme flexibility. It features an optimized design for maximum reliability, versatility, high flow rates and short cycle times.

Piab's COAX® vacuum generation technology minimizes energy consumption while offering safe and fast gripping due to its high initial flow rate.

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About COB-Solution

Cob-Solution is an innovative startup founded in 2019 with a strong focus on collaborative robotics. The company offers cutting-edge automation solutions through the use of advanced technologies with an Industry 4.0 perspective, guaranteeing more efficient production processes. Cob-Solution provides customers with specialised skills and know-how acquired in the field of industrial automation, analysing the production cycle and identifying repetitive tasks that can be easily automated, increasing productivity.  Cob-Solution's machines are designed and manufactured based on specific requirements, using the most appropriate cobot for the application. Flexibility and security are guaranteed at affordable prices for all companies wishing to maximise their return on investment.

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