- Local Australian manufacturer Automation Innovation receives esteemed ABB Value Provider Award for their developed AiMC-1000 system which features high intensity laser cleaning technology.
- The system incorporates ABB’s IRB 4600 industrial robot and artificial intelligence to pioneer a new industry standard for cleaning glass moulds for mass production.
- The Most Innovative Solution Award was presented to Walter Meyler, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Automation Innovation in a special celebration held at their facility in Keysborough, Victoria.
Located in Victoria, Australia, Automation Innovation are the leaders in industrial automation and robotics engineering. They specialise in custom machinery, robotics and automation solutions for manufacturing plants, factories, and assembly lines. The company was recently awarded ABB’s esteemed ABB Authorized Value Provider Award for their developed AiMC-1000 system.
A turnkey robotic cell laser cleaner, the AiMC-1000 incorporates artificial intelligence and robotic automation as an answer to manufacturers’ needs for a safer, environmentally friendly, and more economical solution to cleaning glass moulds used in bottle manufacturing for consumer products.
Identifying a need for the AiMC-1000
In 2020, the glass and glass product manufacturing market size in Australia reached $4.2 billion. It’s grown 2.1% in the last five years. Glass and glass product manufacturing in Australia as an industry continues to increase faster than the Australian manufacturing sector overall. The growth is attributed in part to a heightened awareness of glass as a more sustainable material in comparison to plastic. Glass is also fully recyclable, and lasts several years longer than plastic, which gives the material its conspicuous environmental appeal.
The art behind glass mould cleaning and what’s caused safety concerns
Glass moulds are used in the manufacture of fast-moving consumer goods bottled products such as soft drinks, and are made up of interlocking parts, small features, and pinhole-sized cooling vents. In glass bottle manufacturing processes, lubricant is used to help release the glass from the mould. This paves the way for surface contamination to build on the mould which causes product quality issues and requires frequent residue removal every one to two weeks.
When it comes to contaminant removal, methods include ultrasonic (often with the use of chemicals), bead or dry ice blasting. This is then followed by a manual hand polish and re-machining of the mould to remove surface imperfections which is caused by the physical cleaning.
Automation Innovation recognised the safety concerns for employees in this manufacturing space and their exposure to cleaning chemicals, as well as the substantial loss in operating costs for manufacturers because of outdated cleaning processes, prompting them to embark on their own research to identify more advanced ways in which they could help glass manufacturers intelligently run their mould cleaning operations, particularly over large product production volumes.
Laser cleaning for a greener, intelligent, cost-efficient alternative
This led Automation Innovation to develop the AiMC-1000. It’s an automated robotic cell which delivers superior glass mould cleaning. The AiMC-1000 incorporates ABB’s IRB 4600-60 industrial handling robot and the IRB 4600-45 laser robot, to deliver a safer, chemical free, and repeatable cleaning process. This is currently unattainable using traditional techniques.
The AiMC-1000 also uses a higher intensity laser light to clean the surface of the moulds, ensuring that only the surface contaminant is removed, with minimal damage to the parent mould material. It facilitates 24/7 operational environment, increased daily clean volume, lower replacement costs, removal of additionally required materials, and the discontinuation of the use of chemicals which avoids harmful environmental impacts.
Serious occupational health and safety concerns for workers are also minimised with the reduction of manual handling, and elimination of the need for mildly radioactive ceramic beads used in other cleaning methods, as well as exposure to noxious fumes which are now securely contained.
Recognition for the AiMC-1000 through ABB’s Most Innovative Solution Award
In an award ceremony held on September 28th 2022, Walter Meyler, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Automation Innovation, along with Marcus Clarke, Co-Founder at Automation Innovation, were personally handed ABB’s award for Most Innovative Solution using ABB robotics.
The presentation included a celebration at their facility which included Peter Bradbury, Channel Sales Manager for Robotics at ABB Australia, Peter Katsos, Head of Robotics at ABB Australia, and special attendance by Anand Natarajan, Regional Manager for ABB Robotics in Asia Pacific.
"We’re honoured to be recognised for our AiMC-1000 system and to see its value being recognised by manufacturers all over the globe"
Walter says, “we’re honoured to be recognised for our AiMC-1000 system and to see its value being recognised by manufacturers all over the globe for its autonomous functionality and ability to deliver a safe, environmentally friendly, future-proof cleaning system."
Peter Bradbury says, “with no chemicals or excess waste, automated robotic laser cleaning has become the more cost-effective, green alternative to traditional cleaning methods. As mould growth is eliminated, so too are frequent parts replacement costs.
We’re thrilled to be presenting Walter and his team with the Most Innovative Solution award, not just because of the way this system incorporates ABB industrial robots, but also the industry 4.0 integration capabilities which ensure manufactures will be able to remotely manage their operations and assets to keep them at the forefront of their industry. This is innovation in its truest form.”
Automation Innovation continues to choose ABB Australia for robotic technology to support them in targeting a global market with a potential of over 500 systems planning to be developed in the near future.