The Straight Poop on Material Handling Robots


By Brian Huse, Director, Marketing & PR, Robotic Industries Association

It is a good day when a company that makes home gardening products out of cow droppings can make a case for using robots. This certainly is true for one client of Practical Robotic Services.

“It is green packaging and good business,” said Frank Pagano, General Manager of Practical Robotic Solutions. His company designed a system that uses a Kawasaki robot to handle trays used in the drying process for flowerpots made of cow dung.

“Pots are formed on a forming machine and placed on trays for the drying rack,” said Pagano. “The robot works with an integrated lift to destack the trays and keep things moving.”

Robots are famous for efficiency and affordability, so even a small company can take advantage of the green benefits of the technology. For instance, energy savings and less waste (thanks to an improved process) all play a role in reducing a company’s carbon footprint.

In the end, cost savings usually motivate customers, so it is always nice when a side benefit is preserving jobs. Says Pagono, one customer (a toy maker) avoided the need to outsource to China by installing robots in the injection molding process. The arrangement kept people working right inside the company’s homeland and they are competitive in the global market.

Material handling is one of the most common ways robots are used and Practical Robotic Services specializes in this application. An RIA member since 2006, they are consultants and assist customers with automation planning and implementation. The company provides programming, control design, robot teaching and end-of-arm-tooling.

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