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Automation News

Think a robot can’t work on your manufacturing floor? Think again.

As the heavy, bulky bags come through the production line, your manual palletizing team lugs them to pallets. Dust leaks from the bags and fills the air as the team goes back and forth, and back and forth.

With all the repetitive lifting, the manufacturing floor makes tough, dangerous work for your laborers. And if that environment is hard on your employees, it’s also hard on your equipment.

But you can’t automate your line — a robot simply doesn’t have the durability to survive on your floor, nor can it handle your product with enough care. Besides, you also don’t have staff capable of operating and maintaining a complicated robotic system. Right? Wrong.

Built with durability, reliability and ease of use in mind, PASCO® systems don’t just function in the harshest environments, they thrive. The secret? Smart and innovative engineering. Environment-specific parts and components. And heavy-duty systems and equipment.

Here are the four most extreme environments our palletizers and other systems have faced and outlasted.

Proper materials and coatings prevent corrosion in caustic environments

Equipment in caustic or corrosive environments, like facilities that process salt, battery acid, pool chemicals and other oxidizers, require more protection. Such as:

  • Grade 316 stainless steel, which performs better and will protect your equipment longer than the standard 304 grade used by some other OEMs

  • An epoxy coating, which we have tested by soaking it in battery acid and salt water, baking it at different temperatures for varying lengths of time and comparing adhesion properties with different surface preparations

And even in environments that aren’t naturally corrosive, like ice production, this coating helps prevent rusting and other degradation. Which is why we use it on all of our systems.

A PASCO system palletizing batteries

When you can’t keep dust out, design it to allow dust in

Concrete, silica, graphite or any other loose/granular product that gets blown into a bag is almost impossible to keep out of machinery. So, we design our equipment to tolerate it.

A bag placer holding a valve bag

No matter the environment, a PASCO® can chew through just about anything without quitting: product buildup, fugitive dust, even a lack of housekeeping. We build our products to last — and they do. Some of our customers still run 15-year-old robotic bag placers on their lines.

But foreign materials aren’t the only thing to worry in an abrasive environment. Just as dust buildup can impair a sensor's ability to see, so can dust in the air. With photo eye sensors, knowing when to use a blue light or a red light diffuse sensor, or when to use an emitter and receiver setup as opposed to a retroreflective sensor, can be the difference between a functioning setup and costly downtime.

Stop explosions with solid in-house manufacturing

Each class and division of the hazardous classification system requires different equipment ratings and certifications. What works for one group may not work for another, so understanding what components to use for which applications hinges on a combination of research and expertise.

This is why we manufacture nearly everything in our shop in St. Louis, Missouri. When we control the materials, processes and assembly, you benefit from long-lasting equipment that meets the required safety and durability specs for use in a combustible environment. Guaranteed.

A box of parts that were manufactured in house

For combustibles like sugar, flour, paints and petrochemicals (or for products whose processes rely on petrochemicals) this is absolutely critical. Equipment in these facilities must be intrinsically safe —internal faults stay contained within their housing and voltage stays low to avoid sparks.

But sometimes sparking equipment isn’t the issue. If a product like flour settles on a hot machine or in a control panel, that heat can trigger a reaction as well. Using fans and thermostats (like those used in environments with extreme temperatures) to purge electric panels, prevent dust buildup and even shut the machine down before it overheats helps stop explosions before they happen.

Withstand extreme temperatures with climate controls

You don’t need to be told how hard extreme temperatures can be on equipment and machinery.

Whether you’re in a scorching lead smelting facility where temps spike up to 150 degrees, or a chilly ice cream processing plant where temps dip into the negatives, your equipment won’t run without proper climate control. Which is why it’s part of the standard for our systems destined for these conditions.

Not too hot …

Most electronic equipment reaches its upper temperature limit around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep components cool enough to function, we install climate control devices like fans, air chillers or vortex coolers. These protect control panels, prevent sensors from fogging up, and can even be doubled up or combined to pack a bigger cooling punch.

For non-electric equipment in high-heat situations, like an oven conveyor belt, it’s crucial to consider both the materials and additional components. For example, molybdenum-based lubricants handle extreme heat better than other options, so that’s what we use.

That way, even if your facility doesn’t spike up to 150 degrees, you can be confident that these same engineering principles will keep your PASCO® from overheating.

… And not too cold

While deep freeze environments rarely need additional heating devices, we typically double the size of the motor and increase the horsepower. Without that extra power boost, your equipment may struggle to start, just like a car in the winter.

Built to last, no matter the environment

If you think your environment is too harsh for an automated system, think again. Our team has seen everything, which means they have the expertise to handle almost anything. Even if your environment isn’t as harsh as these examples, what we learn from the most extreme situations carries over to all our other systems.

The more we see, the better your equipment functions — meaning less downtime and more reliable systems without the extra engineering costs.

So, tell us about your challenge and let’s get started.

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