Food & Drink Process & Packaging Issue 15 2017 - Page 18

of steel, and food-grade grease in the mechanical unit. While the in- troduction of articulated food robots was warmly welcomed by the indus- try, it demanded more. Increasing automation levels implies increasing output quantity. While picker robots could achieve multiple picks per movement speed remains an issue. Next to articulated robots there is also the delta robot, also known as spider robots. They have been around for quite some time, finding their way easily into the food industry. While their use has been validated, they do break down regularly due to a lack of stiffness at high speeds and lack in many cases additional degrees of freedom. So for FANUC the most challenging area was certainly the development of a new delta robot, not with four axis but having six degrees of freedom with the appropriate supporting structure. The FANUC M-3iA is a delta robot with full six degrees of freedom. It allows users to pick up food articles, and places it in any chosen way into a tray, blister or other carrier. The re- sults are stunning: for the first time vegetables and fruits (for example) can be packaged in even smaller containers, in the desired direction. And all this is realised at speeds pertaining to delta technology. FANUC Robotics Eu