Harpak-ULMA Unveils Cobots for Smart, Connected Bakery Packaging Platform

Harpak-ULMA has unveiled the newest integration to its smart, connected bakery packaging solutions: Cobots (Collaborative robots) developed by Universal Robots.

Baking producers’ unique automation needs stem from an inherently wide variety of product sizes and forms (raw or baked, wrapped or not) as well as delicate products that require extra gentle handling, the company says.

Product variation determines how a product is picked and placed, and in what condition, posing many challenges to traditional robotic technologies. Cobots introduce cost-effective bakery automation for product movement and palletizing efforts since they can work with even the most fragile products of virtually every size, shape, weight and form.

Cobots are designed for easy setup and rapid deployment/repurposing, sans reprogramming or retooling. They operate safely alongside human counterparts without guarding or special environments, optimizing production floor space.

John Weddleton, Harpak-ULMA’s automation product manager, explains: “Cobots combine fast set-up, easy programming, redeployment flexibility and amazing safety characteristics with an ability to handle even the most delicate packaging chores. We’re seeing an aggressive upsurge in demand from our customer base since there really isn’t anything else on the market that provides such a cost-effective solution to repetitive, menial production tasks.”

Harpak’s partner, ULMA, is itself a global leader in bakery packaging, offering a wide range of solutions from manual packaging machines to turnkey systems. Harpak-ULMA’s president, Kevin Roach, says: “Our philosophy embraces disruptive automation technologies that make it possible for customers to leap-frog their competition in throughput, quality, and total cost of ownership. Cobot integration allows producers to maintain safe and clean operations while operating at higher speeds and overcoming staffing challenges that hamper productivity. We intend to make it easier for customers to leverage advanced automation hardware and software to overcome their toughest productivity barriers and deliver unfair competitive advantage.”

Harpak-ULMA has recently made headlines with an announcement that they are collaborating with Rockwell Automation to provide Allen Bradley industrial control systems as their platform of choice for smart, connected packaging solutions.

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