Smallest possible gripper, greatest possible safety

Published: 23-May-2024

New Robotic Labelling Cell for pharma and healthcare products

Thanks to the development partnership with Weiss Robotics and Fanuc, the HERMA 211 HC RC pharma labelling cell combines high performance with low space requirements. This is also made possible by the world's smallest fully integrated servo gripper, which owing to its hygienic design is ideal for pharmaceutical products. The fast SCARA robot with its ultra-compact footprint and integrated cabling performs up to 20 labelling and inspection processes per minute.

Robotics can play a fundamental role in boosting productivity and increasing safety during labelling. Crucial here, however, is that the footprint of the overall system, i.e., its space requirement, remains small. HERMA demonstrates how to achieve this at ACHEMA (Hall 4.1, Stand B20). The showcased 211 HC RC robotic labelling cell, which is specially designed for the demands of the pharma industry, is almost as compact as a conventional labelling machine. In an area measuring less than three square metres, it successfully labels irregularly shaped products that have a tendency to tip over. The operator has just one task during operation: to feed and remove products by means of an intuitive drawer system.

"To bring together the necessary technology in the smallest possible space, we worked closely with specialists from Fanuc and Weiss Robotics. This has allowed us, for example, to utilise the world's smallest fully integrated servo gripper," explains Gary Hopkins, robotics specialist at HERMA. The gripper module with the designation CLG 30-006 was developed by the German company Weiss Robotics and is being used for the first time in a pharma labelling solution. The small gripper has a volume measuring just 45 cubic centimetres. So far, it has put its advantages to use particularly in applications involving the handling of tiny electronic components or in microassembly. "However, thanks to its hygienic design with the smallest possible gap dimensions, the CLG is also ideal for pharmaceutical applications," emphasises Sascha Wittig, Head of Sales and Marketing at Weiss Robotics.

Gary Hopkins from HERMA adds: "Crucial for us, of course, was the seamless GRIPLINK integration of Weiss Robotics so that the complete process, including all necessary settings, can be controlled and operated via the HERMA HMI. This worked out extremely well with the CLG."

Compliance with ISO class 5

The same also applies to the SCARA robot SR-12iA from Fanuc, the carrier of the small gripper. Despite its compact dimensions, it has a maximum reach of 650 millimetres. Owing to its speed, it can perform up to 20 labelling operations per minute, including the inspection processes. "Furthermore, the epoxy coating, the food-safe lubrication, and compliance with ISO class 5, which corresponds to cleanliness class A as defined by the EC-GMP guidelines, make it the perfect choice for production environments with especially high cleanliness requirements," adds Thilo Schmeling, Regional Senior Sales Manager at Fanuc. The ultra-compact footprint of the robot thanks to the pedestal design and integrated cabling not only ensures low space requirements but also minimises interfering contours: The gripper can carry out its precise work unhindered by obstructive peripheral devices. "The manufacturers of pharmaceutical or healthcare products therefore receive a labelling cell featuring optimally matched components and convenient control for the operator," sums up Gary Hopkins from HERMA. "Entry into robot-assisted labelling doesn’t get any simpler and more convincing than this."

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