Machinery supplier Engelmann & Buckham (E&B) has started to offer Italian manufacturer Sitma’s new Cobot 'collaborative robot' to the UK market.
Commercially available with immediate effect, the Cobot can be positioned at the back end of existing envelope enclosing machinery.
It automatically moves mail-sorted envelopes and stacks them into postal trays without the intervention of an operator.
The device can easily be moved to and from either end of an envelope enclosing machine to provide flexible production and can also be used to stack postal trays into cages.
Designed to work around operators with no fixed position, the Cobot can be used to replace human tasks.
“The Cobot can be used by mailing houses, but also in print finishing for loading printed material into feeders on stitching and binding lines or for boxing printed material,” said Engelmann & Buckham director Richard MacLean.
“People are looking at every angle that labour can be automated because wage costs keep increasing and if factories can get rid of temporary labour then they will.”
He added: “The idea is to not have any fixed guarding around Cobots. They work alongside people, and this is what can generally limit the speed of things.
“You can use a Cobot at faster speeds but generally you would need guarding like a light barrier around it so that it would slow down to a health and safety speed if somebody approaches it.”
Pricing for the Cobot ranges from £120,000 to £150,000, depending on configuration.
“Sitma have been developing this technology for a while now and believe that it can bring significant cost saving benefits to its customers,” said MacLean.
“In fact, the return on investment can be in as little as 12 months, depending on your production facilities.”
He added: “There is definitely a demand for this technology in the UK and we have a number of customers who have been asking for this for a while. The flexibility of the cobot means that it can easily be added to a well-established production line.”