Advantages of Robotic Depalletizing

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We often hear about industrial robots being used to load boxes and bags onto pallets, known as palletizing. However, industrial robotic arms can also be used for the process of unloading boxes and bags from pallets. The application of unloading items from pallets is known as depalletizing. In the past, depalletizing has largely been a manual process. Manual depalletizing is extremely labor intensive, hazardous, and undesirable for workers. These reasons have led manufacturers to automate depalletizing processes with the Yaskawa Motoman MPL160 and other robot manipulators. Many of the same factory robots used for automating palletizing can also automate depalletizing applications. Automating depalletizing provides a number of advantages over manual methods. These include:

  • • Safer Work Environment - Automating depalletizing with the FANUC M-420ia creates a safer work environment for employees. Depalletizing often involves strenuous and repetitive lifting, bending, and twisting. Many loads can be quite heavy, putting workers at risk of suffering from injuries and extreme fatigue. Automating depalletizing removes workers from the strenuous labor of the process, significantly reducing work related injuries.

  • • Reduced Turnover - Due to the strenuous nature and undesirability of depalletizing, high turnover rates are common. The labor intensive nature and high risk of chronic injuries causes many employees to become burnt out and leave depalletizing positions. High turnover leaves factories short staffed, putting more strain on the employees left. Automating depalletizing reduces turnover rates as articulated robots replace employees in a job that is undesirable to workers. Labor becomes reliable and consistent with robotic depalletizing.

  • • Increases Productivity - Productivity rates increase with robotic depalletizing with the fast operation speeds, the long runtimes, and the consistency of industrial robots. Handling robots can effortlessly unload items without breaks or distractions. They can operate around the clock as well. Cycle times become faster allowing for greater throughput and higher productivity rates.

  • • Prevents Damaged Parts - Manual depalletizing can be prone to damaged parts. Workers may mishandle boxes or drop items that may be too heavy for them to lift. Industrial robot arms operate with controlled, programmed movements. This ensures boxes are carefully handled to prevent items from becoming damaged during depalletizing. Using robotic manipulators with a proper payload capacity will ensure boxes are never dropped.

  • • Reduces Errors - Automating depalletizing with manufacturing robot arms will also reduce errors. Four axis robots will prevent errors such as missing boxes or placing boxes in incorrect locations once they have been removed from the pallet.

  • • Lowers Costs - Production costs can be significantly lowered with depalletizing industrial robots. Using robots remove workers from depalletizing reducing labor costs, worker training costs, and injury claim expenses for companies. The prevention of errors and damaged parts reduces scrap and material waste. Utilities can also be reduced with the energy efficiency of industrial robots.

  • • Efficiently Utilize Warehouse Space - Automating depalletizing allows for warehouse space to be efficiently utilized due to the longer reaches and wider work envelopes of robots. Not only can robots access floorspace, but their longer reaches allow them to maximize the vertical space of a factory. The FANUC M-410ic/185 can stack boxes vertically to greater heights than humans are capable of, utilizing factory space that is often neglected.

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