A beautiful installation combining Modula and ABB robot technologies

06 October 2023

At Masinara, a Bologna-based company specialising in the production of window frames and shutters, palletising and depalletising are handled in a fully automated manner in a robot island where ABB robots and Modula automatic warehouses work in synchrony.

In the production area involving sheet metal stamping and assembly, the place of the old metal bins has been taken by 7 Modula ML50D double outer bay automatic warehouses, later connected to an ABB robot that moves between the two opposing rows of Modula moving on a 16-metre ABB TRACK Motion IRBT linear guide.

The double outer bay warehouses, which were previously operated by operators, are now serviced fully automatically by the anthropomorphic robot.

Modula and ABB carried out the project together, mainly coordinating the software-side process whereby ABB’s Deck software interacts with the Modula WMS.

The processes that are managed by the ABB and Modula duo are:

  • Depalletising, i.e. pouring the product from the pallet to the cartonsCartons arrive from production on a pallet, which is placed in the island. The robot picks it up and identifies it with the barcode. The package is weighed for a quality control check and then poured into the drawers of the Modula following a well-defined pattern
  • Palletising, i.e. pouring the product from the drawers onto the palletTo launch a picking order, the WMS shows the customer’s order and creates the picking missions, which are then confirmed by the DECK software that orders them according to the palletising pattern upstream. Once the mission is unlocked, the robot starts and picks from the Modula drawer the packs needed to make up that order. Picking from the Modula’s outer bay drawer is managed by the anthropomorphic robot, which not only knows exactly where to place itself, but also uses a gripper equipped with an artificial vision system to control the picking accuracy.

Masinara is a virtuous example of a fully automated island project with all its advantages. First and foremost in terms of safety and ergonomics for the operator, who no longer has to handle heavy packages or work in cramped and dangerous spaces.

At the same time, the move to automation has led to an efficiency in picking times because the loading of Modula’s takes place during evening hours when the operators are absent.