Advantage: Robots pick and place product, conventional palletizers convey product into position.
By RBR Staff
November 26, 2012
Available since the 1950s, conventional, automatic palletizers began to witness the introduction of gantry and then jointed-arm robots in the 1990s.
More inroads may be just around the corner. Here are four robot palletizing applications that may be just right for you.
In order to handle more than one product at a time, a conventional palletizer needs to accumulate layers or loads of like product on an upstream conveying system, then feed them into a palletizer that automatically changes patterns. A palletizing robot can potentially simplify multi-line palletizing by eliminating the upstream conveyor system. Several loads can be built inside the robot work envelope, allowing the arm to work on all of the loads at the same time while storing the partial loads in cubic form at floor level. This is a very effective concept for lower-speed lines, generally under 15 cases per minute, per line.
Jointed-arm robots dominate the bag palletizing business. Clam shell tooling allows the robot to pick the bag from a roller conveyor and place it on the load without disturbing the contents of the bag, resulting in a straight and square load. Furthermore, the bag being dropped into place allows the robot to achieve higher rates than case palletizing – frequently above 20 cycles per minute. Robots have the ability to work in confined spaces and dusty environments, adding to their appeal in the bag palletizing business.
Most pails are constructed so that the bottom of the pail nests inside the lid of the pail below when stacked on a pallet. Robots can precisely place the pails so that each layer nests inside the previous layer, making pail palletizing an ideal robotic application.
Display loads frequently require four-way, labels-out orienting, multiple different sheets within a single load, special dunnage, etc. These requirements can be addressed with a conventional palletizer, but the cost may increase to the point where a robot is the best option.