Palletizing is a manufacturing process involving the loading of materials or products on to a pallet and is often one of the last steps before items are shipped out. Palletizing can be a repetitive and labor-intensive process which is why many manufacturers are automating it with robots. Palletizing robots have been around since the 1980s and are used in a number of industries including food and beverage, healthcare, and shipping to name a few. These industrial robots are integrated with EOAT (end of arm tooling) that gives them the flexibility to load a variety of items such as cases, bags, trays, bundles, and tier sheets among many others.
Fanuc robots like the FANUC M-410ib/300 are ideal for palletizing applications because of their controlled, precise movements. Their precision ensures items are palletized quickly and accurately, eliminating the risk of products being dropped or clashed together causing damage during the loading process. When products are damaged this leads to stops in production to remove the damaged items which in turn increases cycle time. Not only does time become wasted, but materials are also wasted, and costs begin to increase. With palletizing robots production costs are kept under control and manufacturers can be confident their level of accuracy never deviates. Manual palletizing or the use of traditional palletizing equipment cannot match the repeatability produced by palletizing robots such as the ABB IRB 6640-205/2.75.
Palletizing robots are available in a wide range of payloads and reach. This provides manufactures with greater flexibility as robots can load a variety of items regardless of the size or shape. They can be easily programmed to account for part changes and can be fitted with tool changers to adjust their EOAT when necessary without hesitation. Production continues to run seamlessly no matter what objects palletizing robots encounter. They can even be programmed to leave specified layers and gaps between products creating uniform pallets and preventing the risk of damage occurring during shipping. This just adds to the advantages to automating with robots
Palletizing is a very strenuous job that often requires the repetitive loading of heavy objects. The continuous lifting, bending, and twisting motions can cause strain onto workers and even lead to serious injuries. Worker injury claims can cause increased labor costs for manufacturers as well as decreased productivity. When a worker is unable to perform their job, this leaves a production line down in manpower causing slower production rates. Palletizing robots are designed with high payloads to handle repeatedly loading heavy or large items without any issues. Productions will never slow or stop due to worker injury with a palletizing robot like the Motoman HP165. In fact, robots are capable of working twenty-four hours a day without any downtime, further increasing productivity with the elimination of worker stoppage. Workers can be moved from undesirable and mundane palletizing jobs into ones that are safer and more fulfilling.
Palletizing robots offer many advantages to manufacturers from cost savings to increased worker safety to decreased prodcution time. Their precision and accuracy ensure product quality is kept intact with every pallet loaded and that these products reach consumers at faster rates than ever before.