Real Digital International, a specialist in digital print communications and a service provider to sectors that include retail, teleco

Real Digital in digital print com

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facility to h lp w th the packaging of mobile phone SIM cards. As well as automating previously mundane manual operations, the robot, which was supplied by RARUK Automation,on has allowed the company to repurpose employees tomore varied tasks

Universal Robot UR10 at its Croydon facility to help with the packaging of cards. A

and healthcare, has i stal d a t U 10

iv sal R le autom ting previ usl

nual operati ns, the robot, was suppl d by RARUK Aut has al


ith annual turnover of circa £18 million and 100 employees working

management interactive print and direct marketing, is supply chain optimisation,” explains managing director, David Laybourne. “Part of this offer comprises bespoke packaging services, and it is here that we have recently introduced a robot to one of our main operations – the packaging of SIM cards for mobile networks and MVNOs [mobile virtual network operators].”

at its 70,000ft², £20million facility, Real Digital is going fromstrength to strength in amarket that is constantly evolving. “Among the many facets of our business, which include document ,

Taking control of accuracy and

traceability means that Real Digital uses vision-based cameras to oversee a process which involves taking a SIM carrier, just like those found at

supermarket checkouts, and inserting the SIM card, booklet and top-up card. The SIMs are then boxed and plastic film security wrap

before being sealed with a

placed on a pallet at rates of up to 70 boxes per hour (annually the company packs around 30 million SIM cards). However, until recently, certain aspects of this process still required an amount of mundane manual input.

“Sure, we were looking to gain some efficiency, but primarily the aimwas to repurpose our labour to more varied, added-value activities,” states

Laybourne. “Standing on the line and remaining alert for 8-10 hours is difficult

16 16 NOVEMBER 201 OVEMBER 2016 | AU AUTOMA MAT ATION ll a ndane d the com any to repurpose employees to m re varied tasks

Universal Robots has developed a highly specialised flexible, easily programmable low-cost robot arm t can be used in almost any industry, where

traditional robots are too large, expensive, noisy or inflexible

Universal Robots has developed a highly specialised flexible, easily programmable, low-cost robot arm that can be used in almost any industry, where traditional robots are too large, expensive, noisy or inflexible

hat ,

and introduces the risk of repetitive strain issues.”

The manual tasks required an operative to check the start and end of which contains 100 packaged

SIM cards. each box,

A lid is then fitted to each box before being inserted into a strapping machine where it receives a seal tab. Once sealed, the box is placed on to a pallet.

The process of selecting a robot to fulfil these functions came down to two or three potential suppliers, but there were clear reasons for selecting a Universal Robot fromRARUK Automation, in

particular, the collaborative functionality. “Although we deploy camera validation, there is still some verification and

logging that can only be done by people,” explains Laybourne. “Health and safety is important to us and we wanted to create an environment that blends automation with humans; caged robots would have restricted our ability to be flexible in the way we use the machines.”

, Known as ‘cobots’, lightweight UR

robots can work side-by-side with human workers, safely and effectively. Integral

RARUK Automation T: 01462 670044 T: 01462 670044 www.rarodriguez. ww /AUTOMATION AT /AUTOMATION

force sensing, set at a pre-determined level,means the robot comes to a halt in the event of contacti Digital opted for the UR series, the UR10,

which offers a 10kg largest robot in the ng a human. Real

payload and reach of 1,300mm.

“Installed in March 2016, our new UR10 robot is placing the lid on a completed box of packaged SIM cards, turning it 90° and offering it into the strapping

machine where it receives a plastic heat seal security wrap. After exiting on a conveyor, the robot will pick and place the box in the correct place on the pallet,” explains Laybourne. “Of course, stacking pallets by robot is not that easy - there is a new pos each time a box is p

precise sequence is required, with accurate positioning. Fortunately, the UR10 is easy to programand offers repeatability of 0.1mm.”

Laybourne also singles out RARUK Automation for praise, stating that the process was straightforward despite Real Digital being inexperienced robot users. “RARUK Automation were

communicative and clear throughout, and the commissioning process passed off without issue. They proved to be a qualified, knowledgeable supplier,

particularly with regard to programming support Ultimately we view this


relatively small investment as a proof of concept exercise. We are already working on implementing further robot applications at Real Digital.”


service provider to sectors that include retail, telecommunications, finance and healthcare, has installed a its C


laced, which means a ition on the pallet

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