Automated Drop Testing using Collaborative Robotic Technology

Our automated drop testers reduce variability and easily perform multiple tests on all kinds of products and packaging. Use the recorded data to achieve your industry drop test standards.

Why do we need packaging drop tests?

Outer and product packaging should protect goods from being damaged if they are dropped. Drop testing helps determine the optimal packaging requirements to ensure goods reach the consumer in perfect condition. Too little packaging and goods will be damaged, too much and it is wasteful environmentally and costly to the business. So, it is important to get reliable data in an efficient way, which is where automated drop testing using collaborative robotic technology can help.

What does a drop test involve?

Tests typically involve a range of drops, on the edges, faces and corners of the packaging, that simulate what can happen during transportation or general use.

Many distributors, such as Amazon, have introduced drop test standards. Achieving these standards can help companies transport and sell goods through these channels. The various standards share key variables of height, position and the number of drops.

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What are the benefits of automating drop testing?

  • Reduce variability of results as compared to a manual/human method.
  • Reduce the potential for Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder (W-RULD), caused by manual procedures.
  • Provide uniform testing strategy.
  • Provide a controlled, consistent and repeatable process.
  • Provide operationally reliable and safe automated equipment.

How does robotic testing work?

In a typical test the operator would use the touch screen interface to select which drop test protocol to run. They would then select which variables, such as box size, apply. With the box placed in the loading area the operator is then ready to press the start button.

The robot then performs the steps of the protocol, picking up the package to the desired heights and rotations before dropping it in a designated area. After each drop the robot takes a photograph showing the result and returns the package ready for the next sequence. The data and photographic results can then be reported and used to optimise packaging or achieve the required standard.

Astech’s Drop Test robot features 

IP camera; takes photographs of the item after each drop, recording the condition of the item throughout the test.

3D vision System; accurately locates the position and orientation of the box/item. Positional and rotational data is fed back to the robotic arm.

3D Scanning Robotic arm; the robotic arm is a collaborative ‘Cobot’, meaning it can safely occupy and work alongside human operators without the need for traditional enclosures and precautions.

Vacuum Gripper; enables the robot to lift and place or drop the item being tested. The gripper has a foam pad that allows the robot to continue to pick up items and accurately perform the test even when the packaging has become misshapen.  

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