ESS’ Taskmate adds robotics to tube filling and closing

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Robot, Manufacturing

ESS Technologies’ says its unique robotic loading system improves the speed, efficiency and accuracy of pharmaceutical manufacturers’ tube filling and closing operations.

The Taskmate feeder, which is unique for any tube filling system according to ESS spokeswoman Kim Norris, is designed to work in concert with Bergami’s TF 100 unit and specifically allow it to operate at peak production rates.

The custom designed unit incorporates a FANUC multi-axis robot-base and optional visual inspection capabilities.

Norris told in-PharmaTechnologist that: “The robot’s dexterity also reduces jamming and damaged product at the infeed, and unlike magazine systems, robotics can be more quickly adapted to different tube sizes, greatly reducing changeover times.”

She said that “When Bergami introduced the TF 80 and TF 100 tube fillers in late 2007, ESS began to receive quote requests for these systems to include robotic infeeds. It was through these quotes that ESS proved the concept and created a design for this system.”

Norris also said that the system’s ability to stockpile and automatically introduce cases of empty tubes during filling operations is key advantage for manufacturers in terms of operator resources.

At rates of 80 per min, it doesn’t take long to run through a case of tubes, meaning the machine would need a full time person to load the non-robotic infeed cartridge to maintain production​,” Norris explained.

We feel that the ever-increasing demands for packagers to reduce cost, increase efficiency, reduce scrap and reduce rework will continue to generate interest in the TaskMate systems​,” she added.

ESS hopes Obama plan will boost capital spending

Norris also spoke about how ESS is faring in the global downturn, explaining that although some customer equipment purchases had been delayed in general the firm’s order book is beginning to pick up.

We are hoping that the stimulus package put forth by the Obama administration, which includes incentives to purchase capital equipment, will allow our customers to purchase equipment this year, and we are focusing marketing efforts on informing our US clients about this tax benefit.”

Interestingly, Norris also said that: “Some of our customers, who have used Chinese companies in the past, are actually shifting production back to the US,” ​suggesting that North America may be becoming a more attractive option for industrial manufacture in tough economic times.

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