The chemical and pharmaceutical industries are among the fastest growing and most innovative industries in Switzerland. This has been possible up to now despite increasing cost pressure, growing competition, as well as the persistent shortage of skilled workers. In order to continue to produce competitively and innovatively in Switzerland in the future, a rethinking of the entire industry is necessary.
For example, automation of production processes contributes to continued success.
In this article, we show you how international companies are using collaborative robots (cobots) in their production to support their human colleagues.
What kind of work can be automated with cobots in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry?
Collaborating robots are suitable for automating many different types of work. They make it easy to automate inspection, mixing, dosing, filling and packaging. The cobots support your employees, relieve them of tedious and repetitive work and provide a significant increase in efficiency. They help with lab analysis, testing, injection molding tasks and pick and place applications. Machines can also be operated with collaborative robots.
Your employees are relieved by these robotic arms. A robotic arm does not bother with tasks that are hazardous to health, dirty or strenuous. At the same time, they do their work with the utmost precision and speed. In this way, the strictest quality standards can be maintained without sacrificing competitiveness.
Collaborating robots in the lab
Cobots are being used at Copenhagen University Hospital to improve patient care. The cobots are not used in care, but in the hospital’s laboratory. In the lab, Universal Robots’ UR5 robots relieve lab staff of time-consuming and monotonous tasks. They sort 7-8 samples per minute and 3,000 tubes per day. A camera system assists in this process. The robots then sort the samples into an appropriate compartment according to color. The robots then remove the tubes and place them in a device for centrifugation and analysis.
“Our staff has enthusiastically welcomed these robots. They know that every unanalyzed blood sample in the lab means a waiting patient. Delivering nearly all blood test results within an hour means our outpatients save a trip to the hospital because their hospitalist now gets the results back during the same visit. Results for samples taken in the morning from inpatients are there before the morning visit.”
Collaborating robots in logistics
RNB Cosmeticos is a cosmetic products company and also uses collaborative robots. Here, six UR10 robot arms are used in the cosmetics laboratory. They take over the heavy task of palletizing and thus significantly relieve the employees. They can now attend to other much more important tasks. The cobots stack the heavy packages with ease.
“We don’t hire experts to operate a high-tech robot. We’re turning our employees into experts whose skill level is getting higher and higher.”
At MARKA, an Italian chemical company, a UR3 Cobot helps maintain performance and quality levels. This allows cleaning agents to be produced despite smaller batches. The robotic arm continuously and precisely places lids on bottles and then tightens them.
“Thanks to Universal Robots’ robot, we were able to increase the overall quality of the finished product and recover the initial cost within a year.”
In order to continue to operate successfully, companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries should implement efficient solutions and thus counter the growing cost pressure. Cobots can be easily and very flexibly integrated into many production lines.