Manual palletizing in material handling applications has always been time consuming and inefficient. It also involves a significant safety risk for the employees required to perform this highly burdensome labor. While some automated palletizing systems offer an improvement over manual palletizing, conventional palletizers are very limited in terms of flexibility. Robotic palletizing is now delivering the benefits of automation with enhanced functionality and capability.
Innovations in robotic technology have made robotic automation more affordable and applicable to a broader range of industries. According to Robotics.org, growth in industries other than automotive rose substantially in the first quarter of 2016:
- Semiconductor & Electronics (90%)
- Food & Consumer Goods (82%)
- Plastics & Rubber (44%)
Representing part of this growth is the use of robotic technology in material handling, which grew by 6% in the first quarter of the year. Robotic palletizing has become much more mainstream, and is delivering a host of advantages to businesses in a variety of industries.
Significant advances in robotic technology systems have included:
- Product Changeover Management – custom designed end of arm tooling handles a variety of product dimensions and can also be quickly interchanged to accommodate differing requirements.
- Handling Mixed Load/SKU Pallets – customized infeed conveyors and vision integration allow robots to place different layers of product onto a pallet in a specified orientation.
- Process Integration – stretch wrappers can be integrated with a robotic palletizing system so that pallets leaving the palletizing conveyor will stay straight and tight.
The increased through-put allowed by robotic palletizing means that materials and products involved in the process move at a significantly faster rate that keeps up with the robotic automation. Automated conveying equipment is an integral element in a robotic palletizing system. The conveying package used in the robotic system should include automation software, which allows for programmable control to be integrated into the robotic work cell.
Download Our Guide to Conveying Systems in Robotic Integration
Take a closer look at the beneficial role of automated conveying systems in various robotic applications.