Take five with Propack Processing & Packaging Systems president Chris Follows.

Food and Beverage Packaging: What’s the difference between robotics and automation?

Chris Follows: While the terms have become perhaps incorrectly interchangeable, robotics is the term used to describe the field of robots and its uses. In the packaging industry; robotics is a programmable, automatic machine that replaces specific human effort, but does not look humanoid or perform a task in a human-like manner.

FBP: Are robotics affordable?

Follows: Certainly! While I wouldn’t suggest a Mom and Pop shop purchase one upon start-up, certainly for better-established companies looking to improve efficiencies, then adding robotic pieces is the way to go. But, it’s more than just simple dollars and cents. We have a lot of customers throughout both North and South America. Even though labor is less expensive in SA, line efficiencies featuring robotics are quickly recognized. More product in less time can be effectively processed with next to zero product loss with robotics than by cheaper labor any day – and that is where the return on investment is made.

FBP: What’s the latest addition to your robotics line-up?

Follows: The LB-SRT robotic collator & loader is the latest addition to our range of efficient products. It provides a cost-effective means for the packaging industry to handle flat or on edge output from medium-speed flow wrappers to be picked and placed within a flexible carton loader neatly; gently and quickly. And it sits within a small and compact 68-inch x 60-inch footprint.

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