Packaging Explosives with Robotic Care

Shenzhen King Explorer Science & Technology Co., Ltd., China’s largest civil explosive service provider, is counting on the speed and strength of robots to increase its customers’ productivity and limit human exposure to potentially dangerous tasks.

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Shenzhen King Explorer Science & Technology Co., Ltd., China’s largest civil explosive service provider, plans to upgrade the more than 100 emulsion-explosives production lines it has built for customers worldwide with automated packaging lines incorporating Adept robots.

Based in Shenzhen, China, King Explorer has, in the past four years, constructed more than 100 civil explosives plants worldwide. These make powder explosives, emulsion explosives and other products. The upgrades will be made in the next three years and use Quattro s650 parallel robots from Adept Technology, a Pleasanton, Calif. maker of robots and autonomous mobile solutions for assembly, handling, packaging, testing and logistical processes.

According to Rob Cain, president and CEO of Adept, each line requires either two or four Quattro s650 parallel robots depending on its throughput. The $1.1 million order is expected to be fulfilled over the course of the 2013 calendar year.

Gang Ming, CEO of Shenzhen King Explorer Science & Technology Co., Ltd., said, “Adept's industrial automation experience in high-speed packaging was a key factor in our decision in choosing Adept as our partner for this project. We believe that, with the speed and strength of the Adept Quattro robots, we will be able to increase our customers’ productivity and greatly limit human exposure to potentially dangerous tasks.”

According to Cain, the Adept Quattro s650 chosen for the project is the only robot on the market that is able to achieve in excess of 150 parts per minute to meet production demands. The Quattro uses an advanced control algorithms and a four-arm “parallel” design that is engineered for high-speed manufacturing, packaging and assembly applications.

"By utilizing Adept Quattro robots and vision-guided conveyor tracking, [King Explorer’s] automated packaging lines will improve traceability of explosive material by using sensors at each step in the process," said Cain. With this type of system, the robots can track the number of units in each package, virtually guaranteeing traceability and removing the potential for human operator error, he added.

King Explorer recently acquired Zukovich, Morhard & Wade, LLC (ZMW), a U.S.-based maker of emulsion-explosives technology. ZMW has operated in more than 580 explosives and detonator plants in 95 countries worldwide. Its lines are expected to be part of the upgrade.

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