User-friendly robots beef up productivity for fresh-food packaging
Each day, shrimp, olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and other specialties are marked with labels, packed and palletized at Atria Scandinavia. Three robot arms from Universal Robots (UR) work side-by-side with employees to prepare an average of 228 items per-hour, per-production line for round-the-clock, fresh delivery to retailers.
Atria Scandinavia is one of Northern Europe's leading manufacturers of vegetarian and gourmet products. Johnny Jansson, Atria’s technical manager, explains why the company chose UR robots. "Our goal is to get reliable product lines where we can produce efficiently and effectively while keeping our staffing costs down. As a food producer, it is extremely important for us to minimize downtime, so we can supply fresh goods at a competitive price.”
In fact, the easy programming and operation of the UR collaborative robots (“cobots”) helped Atria eliminate more than five and a half hours of downtime when changing packaging, such as from shrimp to olives. "Before, it took six hours to convert to a different product, but with the UR robots, change-overs happen in just 20 minutes," says Jansson.
Even before training, Atria's technical department began to use the robots and built the first installation of two UR5 robots and a UR10 robot. "We were all completely new to UR robots and I was impressed that it was so easy to get started. They’re very different than other robot brands as they are very logical and intuitive to work with," adds Jansson. He and his colleagues were able to design and build robot applications for a new, automated packaging processthat helped reduce carton waste by 25 percent.
Atria’s management is so pleased with the Universal Robots that it has decided to scrap a traditional, shielded industrial robot and a bulky packaging machine that occupied half the space on the packaging floor. Instead, Atria will automate all of its packaging lines with flexible UR robots working unshielded, side-by-side with employees. And installation will happen in a fraction of the time of the first two robots according to Jansson. "Now that we’re familiar with the UR robots we know how to easily integrate them. It should not take more than two weeks to get the next ones up and running."
For more details on how Universal Robots helped Atria beef up productivity, reduce downtime and meet company goals see the full video at http://www.universal-robots.com/case-stories/atria/. Or find a UR distributor in your area http://www.universal-robots.com/distributors/ and get started on your own packaging enhancements.