Palletizer - Robotic Palletizing Systems
Automated palletizing systems assemble unit loads of cartons or cases on either pallets or slip sheets. Systems can reach speeds of up to 200 cartons per minute using the latest design and technology. A typical application uses case conveyor to deliver the cases to the palletizer. The palletizer arranges the cases in layers onto the pallet or slip sheet. Once complete, the palletizer discharges the full unit load onto a pallet conveyor system. Normally, the first stop for the unit load is for stretchwrapping followed by labeling and then off to either storage or shipping.
Automatic palletizers are often broken down into two types: traditional mechanical system and a robotic palletizing system.
Traditional Automatic Palletizer
Traditional automatic palletizers can be configured with the cases
either conveyed and accumulated at the infeed of the palletizer at a
mezzanine level or on the ground level. When they are presented to
the palletizer on a mezzanine level, the layer is built and moved onto
the pallet. The palletizer then lowers the pallet the height of the layer
and a new layer is then assembled and moved onto the pallet. This
operation continues until the last layer is moved onto the pallet and the
entire unit load is lowered to the ground level discharge conveyor.
When the cases are presented to the palletizer at the ground level, the layers are formed onto a slide plate. The slide plate then elevates to the height of the next layer on the pallet and gently moves the layer on top of the pallet. Just as in the mezzanine-level palletizer, when all of the layers have been placed onto the pallet, the unit load then gets discharged onto the pallet conveyor exiting the palletizer.
Robotic palletizers use an articulating arm with multiple degrees of freedom that can swing up to 360 degrees. These robots use an end effector to pickup and place various cases or bags from an accumulating case conveyor onto the pallet being built. The layers on the pallet are assembled one case at a time with the robot's control system directing the arm and end effector to position the case at the proper location and orientation. Depending on the level of sophistication of the robot, the throughput can reach up to 30 cases placed onto a pallet per minute. Additionally, one robot can build multiple pallets from multiple infeed case conveyors.
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