A palletizer is a manufacturing machine that sorts, transfers, and stacks cases of goods or products onto pallets automatically, usually at the end of a manufacturing line. Automatic palletizing is best suited for high-volume, easy shipping. Ensure load stability, precision, and efficiency. They also allow for the simultaneous movement of multiple loads. Placing boxes on pallets by hand is time-consuming and costly. It can also put workers under a lot of strain. The row-forming machine was invented in the early 1950s to get away from this process. On the pallet, the row-forming machine created neat rows of product. Palletizing has greatly improved as computers and robotics have advanced. The machine itself could handle more work and control. Palletizers could handle a wider range of products, including items like bottles, which would be difficult and expensive to palletize by hand.
Types of Palletizer
There are four types of Palletizers, namely: robotic, low-level and high-level, and in-line palletizers.
1. Robotic Palletizer (Robot Palletizer): Automatic or semi-automatic robotic palletizers are often located between a pallet dispenser and a pallet conveyor beltline that transports incoming products. A hydraulic robotic arm with suction cup arms or flat pincer arms lifts and organizes the products neatly onto a pallet. While robotic palletizers can only lift one item at a time, they are still significantly faster than human counterparts and do not pose any fatigue or injury risks.
Robotic palletizers are capable of handling both heavy and delicate objects. They can be adjusted to fit various products, including pails, drums, bags, cases, and bottles. Robotic palletizers could be renamed after the product they load and unload in situations like these. As a result, robotic pail palletizers, robotic drum palletizers, robotic bag palletizers, robotic case palletizers, and robotic bottle palletizers may all be respectfully referred to as robotic palletizers. Palletizers with articulated arms, selective compliant articulated robot arms (SCARA) palletizers, and gantry palletizers are the other important types of robotic palletizers.
- Articulated Arm Palletizer: Articulated arm palletizers, which have a jointed arm, have a greater range of motion and positioning flexibility than other robotic palletizers.
- Selective Compliant Articulated Robot Arm (SCARA) Palletizer: SCARA palletizers, too, use a mast and cross arm to position products.
- Gantry Palletizer: The addition of an I-beam or an overhead crane to a gantry palletizer expands its capabilities.
2. Low-Level and High-Level Palletizers: Conveyors and a product-feeding area are used in both types. The difference between the two is that low-level load products at ground level, while high-level load products at a higher elevation. Products and packages are delivered on conveyors in both cases, where they are continuously transferred to and sorted on pallets. These palletizing processes can be fully automated or semi-automated, but they are both faster than robotic palletizing.
3. In-Line Palletizer System: In-line systems are designed to stack multiple layers of bags or cartons in a single operation. Row stripper palletizers are in-line palletizers that organize a row before pushing it to the side until a new row forms. The palletizer will stack each row on top of the previous one until the pallet is full. The vacuum-head unit is another type of in-line palletizer. With air-powered suction cups, vacuum head units grab and hold items.
Component of a Palletizer
An infeed, a layer forming area, a row-former, a discharge conveyor, a pallet dispenser, a robotic arm, a pallet station, and a sheet dispenser are all common components found in palletizers. Many robotic and automatic versions also include QuickSTOP collision sensors and Smartscan work cell perimeter guards. These precautions not only improve safety but also increase productivity. Pallet dispensers, which are the device that dispenses or feed empty pallets to conveyors, and load transfer stations, are systems set up to transfer loads from one pallet to another without disassembling, are also used by some large-scale centers to unload packages.
Benefits of a Palletizer
Automatic and robotic palletizers have several advantages over manual palletizers, including:
- Load Stability
- Operation Speed
- Lesser associated workers injuries
- Moving packaged units is much easier
- Moving packaged units is much safer
- It is less labor-intensive
- Permits more loads to be moved at once
Though a palletizer is an expensive initial investment, the many benefits it provides far outweigh the cost.
What to Consider when buying a Palletizer
Palletizing systems have become essential equipment in the manufacturing industry. However, because there are so many different palletizers on the market, picking the right one can be difficult and time-consuming. As a result, you must be prepared with your specifications before visiting a manufacturer. Many consumer help blogs and articles cover various topics, including reliability, speed, packaging options, machine type, loading capacity, and size. On the other hand, speed is the most important factor to consider because it is what reduces the operation cost.
What affects the speed of a Palletizer?
The goal of the assembly line in manufacturing has been to make processes faster and more efficient since its inception. This is true in packaging as well, and inventors have devised a variety of palletizers to automate stacking and packaging, including both conventional and robotic palletizers.
Speed specifications, such as “up to 30 packages per minute” or something similar, may be found. This type of information is frequently misleading, as various factors determine the speed of a palletizer. To determine a palletizer’s speed, you must first determine the product length, product per layer, and product weight. That is why Palletizer manufacturers must first determine case length, cases per layer, cases per pallet, and weight when designing a palletizer.
A case is a product that comes out of the palletizing industry’s manufacturing process. The length of a case impacts the speed of a palletizer because it determines how many cases can be stacked in a single layer in a traditional palletizer. The layer forming operation is interrupted after each layer as the hoist moves, and the layer is stripped. A palletizer’s speed can suffer as a result of the interruption. In new conventional palletizers, however, the steps, such as layer forming operations, stripping, and hoisting, occur simultaneously to help solve this problem. These faster palletizers, however, are more expensive.
This issue isn’t unique to robotic palletizers. In robotic design, the length of a case impacts speed, but for a different reason: Because time is lost in arm movement, the pattern in which you layer your cases is just as important as the length of a case.
Product per layer
The hoist movement slows down the speed at which a palletizer moves in traditional palletizing machines when fewer cases are put in a layer. Similarly, the speed of a pallet is affected if fewer layers are formed because the pallet must be moved, and an empty pallet must be replaced. High-speed conventional palletizers are available as an alternative to this problem.
In a traditional system, case movement is based on friction between the case and the conveying system. The law of thumb is that the lighter a package is, the more likely it is to cause a jam. Weight influences speed in robotic palletizers. However, as the weight of the cases increases, the speed is hampered; robotic arms take longer to handle heavier cases when a vacuum cup is employed to pick cases.
You are now better equipped to make a good purchase because you better understand the influences on palletizer speed.
Local laws and corporate regulations must be considered before a robotic palletizer – or any other piece of fixed machinery – can be added to a facility. States, municipalities, and corporations all have the authority to regulate how equipment is wired and protected.
The budget, perhaps most obviously, is a major concern. It’s critical to be realistic not only about available funds but also about future growth. Robotic palletizers, like most automation, are modular, meaning that individual components of a system can be added to an operation as needed. The organization can reinvest in its system due to the cost savings and increased efficiency of each piece. The optimal level of automation can be achieved while maintaining a reasonable ROI by adding layers to the operations.