09 August 2020 Print Companies

Hobbs is first with MBO's robotic stacker

The south coast printer has installed a CoBo Stacker for an MBO folder, the first of its type in the UK.

Hobbs the Printers has become the first UK company to install the MBO CoBo Stack robotic pallet loader. The unit has been fitted to the company’s MBO K8 high speed folder, which it installed last year.

MBO launched the CoBo Stack a year ago. It is a collaborative type robot that works alongside a human operator outside of a cage and without the need for a laser safety curtain.

Its task is to pick up folded sections and then load these in the optimal pattern on a pallet for further finishing. One robot arm can be positioned between two pallets to allow for continuous operation, allowing one pallet to be replaced while the next is being loaded.

Hobbs related the news along with a video on LinkedIn, saying: “This collaborative robot works safely alongside our operators. It removes repetitive tasks from their daily work, enabling them to be more productive, with an absolute focus on quality but with much less physical effort, and therefore fatigue, over the course of the working day.

“Our K8 folding machine runs faster with dramatically reduced downtime for pallet changes as a result of the CoBo Stack installation.”

Sections from the folder are collected in an A500 stacker and fed along a conveyor belt for the robot arm to pick up the pile and positions them on the pallet.

A second benefit is that the robot assistant fits the current regulations around social distancing. Hobbs has continued to work through the lockdown and has implemented a full sweep of safety measures, including screens around the business and implemented one-way traffic as much as possible. It has been working three shifts since the middle of May.

MBO is now a fully owned subsidiary of Komori and will be part of its Connected Automation concept of the smart factory. But this has not stopped MBO joining the Postpress Alliance, a joint venture between a number of German and Swiss manufacturers to promote data exchange and automation.

This was scheduled to launch at Drupa, with MBO being joined by Bograma, BauamannPerfecta Wohlenberg and Herzog + Heymann. All are represented in the UK by Friedheim International. Its aim is to future proof any investments and make interfaces between finishing equipment and MIS universal to increase the flexibility and productivity of finishing equipment.

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CoBo Stack in action

CoBo Stack in action

A year after MBO introduced the CoBo Stack as an automated assistant to relieve the burden of repetitive tasks from the operator of the MBO folder. Hobbs has been a leader in terms of automating handling in its finishing department; on a previous occasion it has installed an automated saddle stitching line.

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