An Innovative Robotic Application at Northcot Brick, Great Britain
SABO S.A./GR is an innovative company that tries to meet the needs of its clients through the best technical solution. Northcote Brick located in Great Britain requested a packaging robot equipped with a special gripper that functions in a way different to the conventional one.
The client’s request was that the gripper would be able to perform programming of the bricks by itself without the need of any programming conveyors. More specifically the gripper should be able to move individually each gripping “finger”, distance the bricks and transfer them onto a palette that would later be taken to a dryer. The independent spacing was required to build packs with layers with a different number of bricks. This would result in a more stable pack that is essential for the process.
After extensive study on SABO’s facilities the engineering department came up with a gripper that would do exactly what the customer asked. The new robotic gripper has a conventional open and closing system using pneumatic cylinders and ten independent gripping fingers that can grip each brick row independently. This by itself enables it to grip bricks with uneven dimension. In addition, servomotors were used to allow the distancing of the rows and create the desired spacing between them.
The particular gripper opens up new opportunities to the brick manufacturing processes. In certain cases, it can eliminate the need for complex programming conveyors with complicated mechanisms and programming. Thus, it can save the investment cost but also the operational and maintenance cost of a conventional complex programming conveyor. Furthermore, it gives big flexibility in designing solutions with tight space requirement. At the same time, it maintains a high efficiency and productivity since the programming of the bricks of each layer occurs during the robot movement. SABO’s programmers created a special parametric software that would allow the client to use this gripper with many different types of bricks, allowing him to create the individualized settings that he desires.