The new Motoman-PL series represents four additional options of palletising robots complementing their existing models covering lightweight palletising applications and those which can handle larger, heavier items such as building materials.

Increased automation, adapting to new labour-saving manufacturing practices and the consequences of Covid-19 is accelerating the demand for effective robotic solutions.

This is especially the case in industries where logistics are key such as food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics where there is increased urgency to improve efficiencies by automating the packing and stacking of individual products.

The new PL Series are compatible with the established and successful YRC1000 robot controller ensuring easier set-up and ease-of-use, along with improved energy-saving performance thanks to a power generation function. In addition, the 2 new PL models (the 190 & 320) are designed to be more user-friendly, slimmer than the previous MPL series and have an improved payload capacity.

Where manufacturing applications involve the loading / unloading of bulkier items the weight of the final item can be compounded with heavy packaging such as cardboard which can be easily damaged or will deform if not handled correctly.

These situations require the combination of a soft grip as well as strong power and typically air-drive or suction is the solution although this requires larger, more intrusive piping. With the new PL models Yaskawa adopted a large diameter hollow structure for the wrist shaft at the tip of the arm which eliminates the risk of interference with peripheral equipment and the robot arm itself.

This design also provides a wider operating range in the height direction so it’s more flexible as it can be loaded up to the optimum pallet size.

The improved energy saving performance is thanks to the YRC1000 robot controller used on the medium and larger robots which features the power regeneration function enabling energy to be generated when the motor is decelerated. This has proven to reduce power consumption by up to 30%, depending on the operating conditions at each installation. Also, as the connection between the controller and the robot is via a single cable, users benefit from reduced wiring and therefore less set-up time.

Optimising communication between the robot controller and manipulator is crucial to the overall system performance and its maintainability and these new PL models include features which help.

For example, when the communication line inside the manipulator is disconnected or an encoder error of each axis servo motor occurs, an error alarm is displayed on the programming pendant making it easier to identify the error on the corresponding robot shaft. In addition, they are equipped with a multi-port as standard in each part which enables quicker restoration should the communication line be disconnected.

Finally, Yaskawa’s palletising application software ‘MotoPal’ enables automatic generation of robot operation programs, simply by setting conveyor and station positions, product sizes and loading / unloading patterns.