Staying competitive by adding value

A demanding consumer environment requires flexible robotic packaging solutions that are easier-to-use than ever before

Interpack 2014—the world’s largest trade show devoted to packaging technology—has now come to an end. For ABB Robotics, it is always an incredible opportunity to show off our newest innovations.

During the past week about 160,000 people walked through 20 different halls with close to 3,000 exhibitors looking for the best demos to find the packaging solutions of tomorrow. Given the huge interest and number of exhibitors, Interpack was open 8 hours a day for 7 days, including over the weekend, to make it as easy as possible for everyone to find what they are looking for and hopefully more than that. Yes, it was a bit exhausting, but in the end it was a spectacular event and a great time getting closer to our customers.

The size of the exhibition demands that you are extremely sharp with your message, or risk becoming lost in the crowd. This time around, ABB focused on picking and packing applications, showing a standardized solution—our RacerPack—for packing of flow wrapped products combined with a standard picking cell based on our IRB 360 FlexPicker robot and industry leading PickMaster software.

We also saw many customers that were interested in our newest software for PC-based picking simulation, the Picking PowerPac, that allows customers to simulate and look at the real solution in the virtual world. We had this software running live on a monitor showing real case examples ready for customers to give it a try. We even had a little surprise in the form of being able to enter the virtual world with 3D goggles and look at the robotic cell as if you were standing there in real life.

With this setup, our crew was prepared to welcome every visitor throughout the course of the entire week even after being on their feet for 56 hours in the noisy and lively environment. The excitement we saw from our customers to these solutions kept us going!

This year all our hard work seems to have paid off with a record-breaking number of visitors walking through our booth and stopping to find out about our products. Even over the weekend, our team had their passion on display and I think our customers could feel it. Aside from our excellent team, part of our success at Interpack 2014 is also due to the fact that ABB now has more to offer to a wider range of customers than ever before.

The basic components are still there for the users who add amazing value by being clever about how to use the components together. Robots, software, motors, drives, PLC with safety, low voltage equipment and our global service offering combine to make ABB a one-stop-shop for all your automation needs. On top of that, we are now offering complete Application Function Packages such as the RacerPack, and we’re reaching out to even more customers by engineering the solutions the industry is demanding.

The RacerPack and the standard picking cell are for those looking for standard solutions ready to be used. Their main advantage is that they are well engineered and supported by ABB and with our global support are suitable to standardize on a global level. In these types of complete Function Packages, all of the engineering costs are out of the way and you can build them like LEGO, adding sections here and there to meet your particular factory’s demands.

Over the past years, ABB Robotics has come a long way in the packaging industry. In the past, robots have perhaps been seen as the odd bird in the forest of packaging machines; flexible and reliable but still difficult to deal with unless being engineered, installed and operated by an expert. However, these days, by seamlessly integrating robots with application equipment such as grippers, conveyors, sensors and other brilliant available techniques and supporting it around the globe, the advantages robots traditionally deliver are now made available in an easier-to-use package than ever before.

This is what drives us at ABB Robotics and also we were talking with our customers about in our booth at Interpack! I think we certainly stood out from the crowd this year.


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About the author

Klas Bengtsson

I'm a global product manager at ABB Robotics with a specialty in packaging. We're always trying to develop the newest and most innovative technology here at ABB and make it easy for our customers to get their robots up and running quickly. I'm happy to share my knowledge and long experience and appreciate the opportunity to let my passion for robotic packaging technology help others solve their challenges.
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