Over the course of developing new products, we must regularly verify the long-term stability of product quality to ensure that customers will be able to use our products with peace of mind. In the development of liquid products like laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents and fabric softeners, for example, we need to confirm product quality at various temperatures using a variety of evaluation criteria, one of the most important of which is pH, a measure of a substance’s acidity or alkalinity, and another is viscosity. Until now, pH and viscosity measurement had to be performed manually on each product sample and accounted for more than 5,000 work hours per year.
Utilizing collaborative robots to address this issue, we have developed an automated pH and viscosity measurement system and introduced it at Lion research facilities. Capable of continuously measuring up to sixty samples in succession, this system automates the entire series of processes involved in testing, from opening and closing sample containers, taking measurements, washing and drying measurement devices, and sending on the measured data. The installation of this system has resulted in a reduction in the time spent on evaluations, which can sometimes consume up to 40% of a researcher’s daily work, thereby generating time for research aimed at creating new value.
Going forward, we will expand the use of various type robots to a wider variety of experimental work beyond automating quality assessment.