Robotic Flexible Feeding System Announced
The ESS Technologies TaskMate Flexible Feeding Systems offer an alternative to large, expensive bowl feeding systems.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Feb 24, 2011


While traditional feeding systems require custom engineering and significant floor space, TaskMate Flexible Feeding Systems have a small footprint and can be configured to handle a wide variety of products, according to ESS Technologies Inc. The flexible feeding system incorporates a high-speed FANUC multi-axis robot with an ESS-designed, end-of-arm tool (EOAT) and an impulse-based flexible feeder, such as the ones offered by Flexomation, integrated with the FANUC iRVision system.

The feeder flips or recirculates parts into a robot’s pick zone, which uses the iRVision system to locate and pick the part, regardless of its orientation on the feeder. According to ESS Technologies, the Flexible Feeding System offers cost benefits where multiple axis orientation is required. ESS says it can design the EOAT to handle most any product configuration.

To handle multiple product sizes, traditional bowl feeders typically require additional size parts and take time to change over. The TaskMate Flexible Feeding System, however, can be programmed to handle many product configurations. The system retrofits for new products, requiring only additional programming and new EOAT with quick-release connections for tool-free changeover. This eliminates the different size parts, tools, and the lost time and expense associated with bowl feeder changeovers.

The TaskMate Flexible Feeding System can be integrated with other packaging machinery for a variety of applications, including pick-and-place assembly processes, bottle and vial feeding, cap and dropper feeding, and sorting or kit-packing applications. A number of models of the FANUC robot may be specified, depending on the reach and payload requirements of the application. A clean class robot option is available.

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