The use of traditional palletizing robots goes back many years. Some notable characteristics of a conventional palletizing robot include a succession of conveyor belts with other auxiliary components. When you place an item on the belt, it will spin and rotate to ensure appropriate alignment before stacking it in rows. Afterward is a gentle shove of the rows with the help of a layer-forming table before storing them in pallet form.
Today, many industries are ditching traditional palletizers for automation using robotic palletizing systems. The switch is because a palletizing robot has mechanisms to automate all the processes of piling goods onto pallets, allowing for greater efficiency and productivity. As a bonus feature, a palletizing robot is easily programmable for depalletizing, which is essential for many production lines.
Palletizing Robot vs. Conventional Robot
Compared to the older version, a palletizing robot is better at dealing with a broader range of palletizing issues. Both the traditional and the more advanced palletizing robots share some things in common, one of them being an infeed conveyor belt for moving products along. However, while a conventional robot bumps and grinds products along the belt, palletizing does not.
Instead, a palletizing robot handles the products by rotating them as they move along the conveyor belt. The robot can also address the products by lifting them into position on a pallet immediately after leaving the conveyor belt.
Cycle rates for conventional palletizers are much lower because they can only process about 200 cases per minute. They also demand larger floor space due to the enormous quantity of conveyor belts required to arrange the goods appropriately. Palletizing robots also have much smaller footprints enabling them to occupy less floor space on the production floor.
However, palletizing robots are faster than conventional robots and can attain over 2000 cycles in an hour when it comes to speed. Unlike their counterparts, palletizing robots specialize in handling the goods – such as rotating boxes for reference purposes with the labeling removed or piling containers and bags. They also manage high SKU values in different operations.
Variables to Consider When Implementing a Palletizing Robot
When it comes to palletizing robots, attaining a return on investment begins with selecting the most appropriate solution and the proper implementation of that solution. When integrating a robotic palletizer into any activity, consider the following aspects for flawless operation and ROI.
1. Laws, regulations, and budgets
Before installing a palletizing robot in a facility, it is necessary to consider the applicable local laws and corporate regulations. States, municipalities, and corporations all have the authority to regulate the wiring and guarding of equipment.
The budget is a significant cause of concern for many people. If you want to be successful, it is essential to be realistic about the current cash you have at hand or the amount you can comfortably use for investing in a palletizing robot and the growth potential.
Palletizing robots, like the majority of other types of automation, are flexible, which means that you can add components of a system to an operation one at a time if you so want. After realizing the cost savings and greater efficiency that each piece provides, the organization can reinvest the earnings back into the system.
Increased automation is achievable while keeping a decent return on investment by adding layers to the activity. However, this is only achievable if both the budget and the growth expectations are credible.
2. Throughput and SKU counts
When picking the appropriate palletizing robot, one of the essential factors is throughput or the quantity it can process per minute. Conventional palletizers can handle higher capacity rates than automated palletizers. A palletizing robot, on the other hand, has several advantages over a traditional palletizer.
Some other important considerations are the dimensions, loads, and styles that the system can handle, as well as the type of material for product packaging to utilize. In the past, robotic palletizing systems could not handle certain types of packaging and products. However, with technological advancements, end effectors are now available for nearly any type or style of material.
Determining the end effectors needed for each application is an essential part of the planning process. Additionally, do not forget to account for any potential future requirements. The addition of SKUs or the modification of packaging can change the EOAT or design of the robot.
3. The location of the operation space within the facility
Implementing a palletizing robot on the production floor goes beyond the available space, shelving, and walls. It is also essential to think about how convenient it is to transport material to the palletizer robot.
Check if the existing infeed belts need any modification or if you need a new set of conveyor belts. You should also ensure that the workflow is smooth throughout the workspace for your workers and the palletizing products.
4. Configuration of pallets
The pallet configuration is another crucial factor to consider as it influences palletizing robot design and EOAT. While you are considering pallet configuration, you should check the following things.
- Number of pallet layers
- The layout of every layer
- The general trajectory of the configuration
- Rotation of each structure per layer
- If the base has protection using, slip or tier sheets
5. Extra equipment
Implementing a palletizing robot does not guarantee a complete system for all palletizing tasks. You might also need extra equipment for effective operations. For example, pallets need distributing.
You can choose to do this with automation or manually. For this, you will need a pallet distribution system. Application of slip and tiers sheets and shrinking wrapping pallets to provide safety and stability while on transit might require additional equipment.
Palletizing is a highly tedious and repetitive application. Using palletizing robots frees the human workers from boring and repetitive tasks. They also help to streamline the processes through automation and increase productivity. Moreover, a palletizing robot works 24/7 without having to worry about any distractions.
It is faster than humans conventional palletizers are, and they have more accuracy and precision. Before implementing a palletizing robot on your production floor, you should consider the above variables to get the best out of your investment.