ENGINEERS in Rotherham have developed a robotic arm process to cut costs and improve safety when making cardboard boxes.
The new system was created by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre for the Accrington-based Cardboard Box Company.
Ken Shackleton, the firm’s managing director, said: “The AMRC came to visit us to look at our operation and how they might improve upon any of our manufacturing processes.
“It was decided that exploring the possibility of installing some form of robotics at the end of one of our production lines would help with our palletisation process.
“There are the potential benefits of maintaining consistent production speeds, whilst reducing manual labour and the health and safety issues related to the process.”
The robot arm puts bundles of cardboard boxes onto pallets at the end of the manufacturing process — halving the time operators spend manually handling the cardboard materials during production.
Ben Fisher, project manager at the AMRC’s integrated manufacturing group, said: “This kind of automated technology brings consistency and speed to the production process and has valuable applications in safeguarding the health and safety of employees, reducing the need for physically demanding manual operations.”
Mr Shackleton added: “For the amount of expenditure incurred, the result was remarkable.
“We have subsequently received from the AMRC a number of companies to approach who can build a full industrial version of this robot with indicative costs, which we are about to pursue.”