Month: February 2024

Shibaura Machine SCARA robots appear at Fish International 2024

TM Robotics and Shibaura Machine demonstrated high-speed robots for process and packing lines in Germany

Shibaura Machine and its distribution partner TM Robotics, exhibited a trio of high-speed, flexible and cost-effective SCARA robots for food processing and packaging applications at Fish International 2024. Germany’s only trade fair for fish and seafood was held at the Messe Bremen exhibition centre in Bremen, Germany, between February 25 to 27, 2024.

Shibaura Machine and TM Robotics promoted automation and packaging technologies at Fish International 2024. The companies’ robots featured as part of the ‘Robotik Pack-Line’, a fully operational demonstration of an automated packaging line, which appeared in a dedicated showroom on Stand 5B39 in Hall 5.

The Robotik Pack-Line was overseen by Rolf Peters Projektmanagement, a sales project management company located in Bad Zwischenahn, Germany. Rolf Peters Projektmanagement’s specialists represent TM Robotics and Shibaura Machine in the German markets, and were on hand to greet visitors to Stand 5B39.

“This year’s Fish International was a valuable opportunity for visitors to see up close how Germany’s fish and seafood industry can benefit from the quality, innovation and flexibility of industrial robots made in Japan,” said Rolf Peters, robotics specialist, Rolf Peters Project management. “Shibaura Machine offers cost-effective solutions, without compromising on quality or sophistication.” Topics of discussion at Fish International 2024 included Shibaura Machine’s versatile SCARA robots designed for fast-cycle automation, inspection and pick and place applications. They include the THE range, a flexible and cost-effective option for food processors and system integrators featuring the compact and lightweight THE400 and THE600, and the larger and more powerful THE800 and THE1000 models.

Shibaura Machine’s THP 550 SCARA robot featured in the Robotik Pack-Line demonstration, integrated seamlessly with automation technologies from SEALPAC, ECOMA Maschinenbau, PFM Verpackungsmaschinen and other leading manufacturers. The THP 550 offers speed, precision and versatility in high-speed picking applications, and has played a crucial role in streamlining food packaging applications and increasing throughput.

Visitors to Stand 5B39 also saw a hands-on demonstration of Shibaura Machine’s THL 500. The THL Series of lightweight and energy efficient plug-and-play SCARA robots are ideal for price-conscious end-users and systems integrators seeking to automate food processes. Lastly, Shibaura Machine’s TVL700 6-axis robot was also on display. The TVL700 delivers a high speed, accurate and energy saving performance at a low cost, with a reach of 700 mm and a payload of 4 kg.

“Shibaura Machine’s high-speed, easy-to-program SCARA robots are the best and most flexible in the small robot markets for high-speed packing and food processing lines,” added Peters. “The robots’ hygienic design makes them ideal for food processing including clean room applications, and meets the IP65 ingress protection rating.”

In addition, Stand 5B39 featured an interactive education module that demonstrated Shibaura Machine and TM Robotics’ partnership with IQ Bremen, an education centre located in Bremen, Germany. Each year, IQ Bremen helps more than 1,000 students gain qualifications in industrial robotics, including technical bachelor’s and master’s degrees, aided by the use of Shibaura Machine industrial robots.

“There is a strong demand in the fish processing and packaging sector for innovative robots that can adapt to different tasks and operate at high speeds,” said Nigel Smith, CEO at TM Robotics. “Visitors to Fish International 2024 had a chance to see how the flexibility and speed of Shibaura Machine’s SCARA robots can play a vital role in the future of Germany’s fish processing industries.”

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Zeres 3 – 90t and 120t electric machines with optional V800 Hilectro robot
Jupiter 550t with optional V1300 ID longitudinal robot

FANUC UK begins search to find Britain’s best young robotics talent

Registrations open on 26th Feb for WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition 2024

As part of its ongoing drive to encourage more young people to begin a career in automation and engineering, FANUC UK is inviting the country’s brightest young minds to take part in the WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition. For the fourth year running, the industrial automation company is partnering with WorldSkills UK to give apprentices and students the chance to learn key robotics programming and operating skills with help from FANUC experts – and even earn the right to represent Squad UK at the international finals in China.

Entry is open at from 26 February-29 March 2024 for teams of two people aged 16+. After completing an initial simulated entry-stage task, successful applicants will undertake training with FANUC ahead of the hands-on qualifier stage, which is being held at the Smart Factory Expo on 5-6 June at the NEC Birmingham. Visitors to the event will also be able to test their skills by taking part in a similar robotics trial alongside the competitors.

The WorldSkills UK Industrial Robotics competition reaches its peak in November when, following further training, the most talented teams will compete to programme and operate a robot in a real-world task at the National Finals during FANUC UK’s Open House event, held at its Coventry HQ. Winners will then be selected for Squad UK to compete in Shanghai in 2026.

“It’s crucial that the next generation is given the opportunity to explore the world of robotics and automation, to help nurture a passion that could lead to a future career path,” says Satty Cole, Business Development Manager for Education, FANUC UK. “Finding talented and enthusiastic students and taking them on the WorldSkills UK journey is immensely important to FANUC as part of our drive to support and train young people looking to consider a career in automation, and to bridge the current manufacturing skills gap. Gaining experience with real-world industrial robots and receiving hands-on training from current FANUC robotics engineers can help to ignite a spark in a young person that could last a lifetime.”

Peter O’Neill was part of the 2023 winning team and is keen to encourage other students to take part in this year’s competition: “You will learn new skills which could open future job opportunities. Participating in WorldSkills and qualifying for the national finals is something that will stand out on a CV.”

Ben Blackledge, Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK adds: “Skills will continue to be a key differentiator for business both at home and abroad and through our programmes we are working to ensure that all apprentices and students across the UK can gain access to high-quality technical education and apprenticeships that lead to real success for them and the UK as a whole.” 

How to apply

Register in teams of two via the WorldSkills website from 26 February 2024. Entries close on 29 March 2024.

Entry criteria

Eligible entrants are 16+ year old students in groups of two. Schools and colleges are encouraged to invite students to register, safe in the knowledge that FANUC will provide training and one on one support to the teams that make it through. There is no limit to the number of teams permitted to enter this competition per organisation.

Entrants must be present for the final stage of the competition at the National Finals in Coventry in November 2024. They must also be within a year of completion of a relevant Level 3 Apprenticeship and/or hold qualifications in an engineering-based subject to a minimum of a Level 3 or equivalent. Additionally, applicants must not have been employed within the industry of the chosen skill for more than three years prior to registration, not including the period of an apprenticeship.

The Passive Stage will require teams to complete a task on FANUC’s ROBOGUIDE system, which they can access using the 30-day free licence. FANUC will then provide everyone who makes it to the final with a free ROBOGUIDE educational license, to support their studies further.

Competition timeline

  • Entries open (26 February 2024)
  • Entries close (29 March 2024)
  • Passive stage (April 2024) – assessment of the team using simulation software
  • National Qualifiers (June 2024)
  • Announcement of finalists (summer 2024)
  • Training and development (autumn 2024)
  • National Finals (November 2024)
  • Squad UK – the winning team will represent their country at the International Finals in Shanghai, China in 2026 and compete against the winning teams from other countries. NOTE: International competitors must be 25 or under.

MedTech moulding trends to watch

Regional Medical Director of the Global Sumitomo (SHI) Demag team Andrew Sargisson shares his industry insight…

MedTech is a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing sector. Unsurprisingly, industry analysts are always keen to pinpoint the newest transformational medical and life science technologies that are expected to shape future treatment pathways.

Regional Medical Director of the Global Sumitomo (SHI) Demag team Andrew Sargisson shares his industry insight and global predictions for the medical market, touching upon how these latest trends are influencing investments in medical injection moulding facilities worldwide.

Thermoplastic and LSR moulding continues to be used extensively to manufacture a huge variety of everyday medical applications. The range is broad and can include implantable components, test tubes, petri dishes, PCR tubes, pipette tips and other labware, as well as medical monitoring devices, drug delivery components and surgical equipment.

In 2023, the global medical injection moulding market size was estimated at USD 22.54 billion[i]. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% from 2024 to 2030. Much of this growth is being driven by advances in self diagnostics, the home healthcare sector, improved healthcare infrastructures in emerging economies, and an aging population, which WHO predicts will double by 2050.

The medical market, particularly diagnostics, was strongly influenced by the Coronavirus pandemic. As anticipated, there has been a natural levelling-off for pandemic-related consumables.

More recently, there is a stronger leaning in the medical market towards larger strategic and more complex projects, such as drug delivery devices and pen style injectors. This is predominantly due to the global growth in diabetes care, where demand for advanced glucose monitoring and insulin delivery devices is propelling innovation. Testament to demand, credible industry reports forecast that the diabetes device market will surpass USD 68.2 billion by 2032, almost triple its 2022 value.

With regard to machinery, there is a strong move towards “copy & paste” systems and processes in both Europe and North America. The global medical team at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, led by business development director Anatol Sattel, are also noting more requests for remote system access to historical machine data. This is predominantly to assist with troubleshooting and monitoring validated process settings.

To support these efforts, the company’s R&D team continues to develop an IoT dashboard to facilitate data analysis and visualisation, transfer and storage of know-how, as well as maintenance planning and prediction. Within this assistance system, additional autonomous and interconnected functions are being conceived to provide valuable insight into the machine performance and different production variables.  

The development of process optimisation systems, integrating material and knowledge with simulation tools is probably the most exciting development on the horizon, claims Sargisson. Such systems will enable processors to observe advanced settings and capture deeper processing insights.

The company’s ultimate vision is an intelligent machine that can independently make predictions about part quality, machine wear and failures and deliver optimisations online. Enabling greater process consistency and allowing for real-time machine maintenance to be adjusted accordingly.

To support these advances and in order to meet the explicit quality management and validation ISO 13485 standards for medical devices,  Sumitomo (SHI) Demag introduced new machine user parameters, digital quality control and KPI analytics into its IntElect S medical production package. One of these advanced Med-Spec demo cells is now located in Limerick, Ireland. This will enable customers to perform validations, run tool trials and use the facility to provide valuable process optimisation training to technicians.

Also observed during the pandemic, larger scale adoption of home healthcare and smart diagnostic devices, continues to accelerate at pace.

With significant access to start-up finding, telehealth is the boom-market to watch. It is current exhibiting a CAGR of 19.7% between now and 2030[ii]. Online video and audio consultations with physicians and medical consultants are increasingly being used to deliver quality healthcare while simultaneously reducing heavy work and cost burdens. The telehealth segment is split between services and products. Items such as wearable patient monitoring and telecommunication devices accounts for around one third of the market.

For medical moulders already producing vital monitoring devices, including oxygen, weight, glucose and ECG devices, as well as infusion pumps and cannulas etc. and already meeting the exacting healthcare standards, the transition to homecare device production should be relatively seamless.  

High profile acquisitions of diagnostics companies, IPO listings, strategic partnerships, and the rise of virtual care platforms provide further assurance that the diagnostics market is on the cusp of another huge growth curve. This all indicates that there are clearly exciting opportunities ahead for moulders operating in the high tech medical device and diagnostics product development and production space.    

In 2024, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag will host its inaugural productivity roadshow. With four stopovers planned for July in the UK and Ireland, including Limerick, customers will be invited to explore all the latest trends, productivity and profit-enhancing technologies. Including medical. Watch this space!

[i] Grand View Research, 2023 report,

[ii] Telehealth Market to 2030, Fortune Business Insights

FANUC UK’S hottest automation trends for 2024

Could 2024 be the year that UK manufacturers finally embrace robotics? After trailing behind our international counterparts for years, the UK is now starting to catch up when it comes to the installation of industrial robotics. Across all sectors – from traditional automation users such as automotive and electronics to new adopters including food & beverage and logistics – manufacturing firms are breaking down longstanding barriers to automation, leading the International Federation of Robotics to predict ‘strong growth’ in the number of UK robot installations.

No longer seen as expensive, complicated or inflexible, today’s automated solutions are affordable, agile, easy to operate, and smaller than ever. And with the advent of smart features such as integrated vision systems and real-time energy reduction functionality, they are helping manufacturers to streamline their operations, increase their productivity and plug the labour gap better than ever before.

Here, seven experts from leading robotics manufacturer FANUC UK share their views on the hottest automation trends to look out for in 2024.

Energy-efficient solutions

“One of the major trends in automation is definitely energy efficiency. Aside from its primary function, a key requirement for any automation solution will be its ability to stabilise energy consumption and reduce it as low as possible. Being able to evidence this through live data monitoring and enhanced reporting will also be vital for any manufacturer serious about reaching net zero.”

Joe Mumby, Technical Sales Manager (ROBOSHOT)

Application-specific software

“I believe we’ll start to see an increase in bespoke application-specific software throughout 2024. This will not only make it easier for customers and system integrators when it comes to programming, but will also improve traceability compared to operations that are conducted manually.”

PMMDA ‘New Look’ Website

We’ve had a refresh! We’ve been a bit quiet lately as we’ve been busy updating our website to give it a fresh ‘new look’ enabling us to publish even more of whats happening in our industry!

If you have news or events you’d like us to add to our website just email us on

In the coming weeks we will be updating and adding data to our website, giving our members more access to industry information, buyers guides and technical info… watch this space!