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The Overlooked Reason Robots Should Be Utilized More In Bulk Material Handling

Gus Carrington

Gus Carrington About The Author

Sep 15, 2020

Manufacturers used to think of robots only as a way to cut labor costs, but they can be looked at in another meaningful way. Certain jobs in the material handling world are hazardous. The hazards of these kinds of jobs can encompass repetitive motion injuries, inhaling dangerous substances, and the list goes on and on.

The AZO RoLog®

Utilizing robots as a means to increase safety in bulk material handling provides another major benefit of these automated machines in addition to lower operating costs. At AZO, we are specifically familiar with the benefits of our RoLog® (short for Robotic Logistics). This innovation handles the manual weighing of “micro ingredients,” and there are some benefits gained by introducing any robotic functions into a material handling system. We’ll explain these in this blog, but first, let’s take a look at other industries that have benefited from the use of robots.   

Robots function in other industries, why not in ingredient handling?

Robots have been used for welding in the automotive industry for decades (and some say longer for other industries). Welding began as workers utilizing welding torches to physically put car pieces together. Not only was this hazardous, but it wasn’t nearly as precise as the modern advancements we’ve seen in robots that perform these activities. One action, each and every time, leads to a more consistent product and less on-the-job repetitive motion injuries as well. 

We’ve covered this in reference to automation as a whole, but specifically implementing robotic machines for particular tasks in material handling introduces further benefits. Not only will manufacturers who utilize robotics achieve precision (for instance, a 10-kilogram weighment), but they will also benefit from the accuracy of a repeatable action over thousands of iterations.

Ergonomics and precision are improved

Repetitive weighing and dispensing of material can, for lack of a better term, weigh on humans. Let’s face it, it’s a boring job. Robots are completely autonomous, so the ergonomic concerns that a human operator would face also don’t cause issues for robots. 

Another benefit is precision. Manual weighing is only as accurate as the degree of attention a human operator pays to a specific task. Maybe one operator at a given facility demonstrates thorough attention, but another operator is not nearly as consistent. Furthermore, even a great operator can just have a bad day, plain and simple. Inconsistent, or worse, the wrong product can be the result of this kind of unfortunate situation. 

Hazardous environments don’t pose extra safety requirements for robots

Another benefit is that for manufacturers handling ingredients that pose exposure risks, a robotic piece of equipment is not required to wear specific safety or personal protection gear. Positive pressure bodysuits may be necessary for humans when coming into contact with hazardous materials, but not for robotic machines. All in all, robotic machines can handle more ingredients in a more time-efficient (and cost-efficient) manner — with safety benefits to boot.

Material that would be extremely harmful to human touch can be dosed without difficulty by an AZO RoLog®. Whether in the food, chemicals, plastics or pharmaceutical industry sectors, an AZO RoLog® can meter:

  • Pigments 
  • Dyes
  • Aromas
  • Additives
  • Active ingredients

….and many other micro ingredients. To hear more about an AZO RoLog® or any of our other innovations, feel free to contact our sales team. For more material handling news and tips for running a smooth material handling operation, stay tuned to our blog