August 23, 2023
Collaborative robots are being used across a growing number of industries as the need to reshore manufacturing rises. The tube filling industry is no exception, with many packaging machine manufacturers now offering robot tube feeders and packers.
As labor prices rise rapidly in countries such as China, many businesses are now taking action to reshore their manufacturing operations. The two main advantages of adding robotics to production lines are increased productivity and decreased labor costs, both necessary in the effort to bring manufacturing back to the United States.
Use of Robotic Arms in Production Lines
Tube filling and sealing operations are incorporating collaborative robots at several points throughout the production line. First, robotic arms are used to rapidly load empty tubes into semi or fully automatic filling and sealing machines. These robots allow production lines to reach speeds of up to 120 tubes per minute. In the case of semi-automatic machines, the robot replaces the operator who would typically load the tubes by hand, which in turn reduces labor costs. A second robotic arm can sometimes be found at the end of the production line too. This robot serves the purpose of rapidly packaging or palletizing the sealed tubes.
Benefits and Concerns with Increased Automation
One of the main concerns with the increasing level of automation is a loss of jobs. However, several businesses that plan to increase their automation are also anticipating an increase in job creation. Employees who were once performing menial, labor-intensive tasks would find themselves programming and overseeing the robots.
Collaborative robots and other forms of automation allow businesses to improve their competitive standing through heightened precision, increased output rates, and enhanced product quality. Automation in the tube sealing industry is opening the door for reshoring manufacturing and upskilling the workforce.