Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have embraced robotics. Expanded intelligence, mobility, and sensing capabilities are opening up new applications for robots and cobots in processing, primary packaging, secondary packaging, and transport packaging. As a result, usage is growing along the entire line from initial inputs to end-of-line, according to Robots & Cobots, An Automated Future, a white paper produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.
Most CPG companies (84%) operate robotics somewhere on the line, and this number will rise to 93% in the next five years as shown in a forecast presented in the Robots & Cobots, An Automated Future infographic. Deployment of cobots also will see strong growth with usage more than doubling from 27% in 2022 to 57% in 2027. Improvements in functionality such as vision, self-learning, and artificial intelligence will spur adoption.
For CPG companies, installation of robotics can achieve multiple goals:
- Reduce labor and repetitive tasks
- Increase speed and productivity
- Achieve repeatable quality and consistent product handling
- Improve operator safety
- Minimize waste and human error
Today’s robots are more intelligent, significantly faster, capable of lifting heavier loads, and easier to operate. Cobots now have sensors for feedback, use hand movement-based guides for self-learning, and are more mobile. Robots and cobots also are easier to program and require a smaller capital investment. Nevertheless, one of the main challenges to adoption is ROI justification. Other hurdles include internal shortfalls (time, skills, budget); total cost of ownership; OEM support for integration, training, and service; technology and functionality; and identifying appropriate applications.
PACK EXPO International (Oct. 23–26, 2022; McCormick Place, Chicago) will provide many opportunities to see robots and cobots in action performing processing, primary, packaging, secondary packaging, and transport packaging tasks. Special highlights include:
- Future Innovators Robotics Showcase – See Chicago-area high school robotics teams showcase their design, engineering, and troubleshooting skills. Located in the North Hall at booth W-21028.
- PACK to the Future Exhibit – Follow the evolution of modern packaging and processing solutions over 250 years to the present and explore key trends shaping the future. Sessions on the PACK to the Future Stage will share the latest trends and look towards what the future holds. Located in the West Building at booth W20001.
PACK EXPO attendees will experience 2,000+ exhibitors from 40+ vertical industry markets, over 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, and 100+ free education sessions.Visit packexpointernational.com to learn more about the show features, search exhibitors, and register. Registration for PACK EXPO International is $30 until Sept. 30, after which it increases to $130.