Hacked Gadgets Forum

August 9, 2011

Midwest Engineering Robotic Bottling Line

at 5:06 am. Filed under Complex Hacks, Crazy Hacks

Midwest Engineering in Pewaukee Milwaukee has put together a great video showing the robotic technology they implemented for this Robotic Bottling Automation Line to allow it to go from bins of raw goods to a finished product. I am curious how many man hours are needed to keep this machine humming away. I think I would enjoy programming this type of equipment until a customer needed an Automatic Chicken Breast Deboning Robot built!


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9 Responses to “Midwest Engineering Robotic Bottling Line”

  1. Bill Says:

    Is this a real plant or just a demo? I’d be surprised that the capital outlay for that plant could be justified for such a low value product. Or are human workers really that expensive these days?

  2. Faisal Says:

    The “body language” of the robots is very similar to that of human beings

  3. Ed Says:

    @Bill: This was probably filmed in the “build shop” where the machine was built. The banner on the wall for Fanuc robotics, the plexiglass still has the protective covering on it and the pickup truck inside are what leads me to believe this. Human workers are expensive, yes, but robots don’t sleep, don’t take breaks, don’t whine or complain. That machine will probably pay for itself in a year or two actually.

    Programming these robots is enjoyable, I love what I do. I’ve worked on Motoman, Nachi, Kawasaki, Fanuc, ABB and Kuka robots in my 8 years as a automation engineer. Its a great gig, but not for most people, I work 60-100 hours a week and am always on the road.

  4. ElectroNick Says:

    The stuff that goes in the bottles may also be something you wouldn’t want people to be around for prolonged periods of time. These look like some cleaner or pesticide or a fertilizer bottles perhaps. OK to use while applying this stuff but probably causes anything from allergies to irritations and such if you’re handling it all day long, 5 days a week.

    @Ed: I envy your job. Love programming robots (as a hobby in my case) and it’s most enjoyable to see the sequence working flawlessly for the first time. I can just sit back and watch them move for a while. Entertains me better than TV 🙂
    Hope you get compensated enough for the time and effort you put in!

  5. Touchscreen Repair Says:

    This is crazy, i wonder if they really needed those robotic arms, and couldn’t do that in a cheaper way!

  6. Ed Says:

    You would be surprised at the cost of robots, its gone way down. I’ve heard of full sized arms (150-250KG payloads) selling brand new for 25-30k. If you’re a bigger company (automotive) buying in bulk, you’ll get an even better deal. The way they make their money is in service and parts. Whatever the cost should be, quadruple it and that’s pretty close. $50 bearings you can buy for $3 at Grainger, $60 for a can of color matching spray paint, etc.

  7. ElectroNick Says:

    I’ve seen some production lines without articulated arms like these and guess what happens when they decide to change the design of the product (bottles in this case or the sprayer handle or some such) – a huge chunk of that equipment gets thrown out. The product designers probably come up with a new bottle every year, I imagine. No doubt saying that consumers demand the change 🙂 It must be cheaper to train the robots to handle the new shape than to replace every piece of equipment that had to touch the old shape product before.

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