What types of palletizing exist?

Feb 24, 2024

In today’s business environment, the pursuit of efficiency and optimization of production processes has become a priority for companies in all sectors. The automation of mechanical and repetitive tasks is seen as the key to achieving higher levels of productivity and competitiveness in the market. The palletizing process stands out as one of the main candidates for automation in the production chain since it offers immediate profitability, making the correct choice of palletizer type crucial.

This article focuses specifically on analyzing types of palletizing available today, as well as the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of them.

What does the palletizing process consist of?

The palletizing process is a crucial phase in the production and distribution chain, where finished products are organized and prepared for efficient transportation. This process involves the orderly arrangement of products on pallets, following a specific pattern that facilitates their handling and storage.

This stage is essential for optimizing space in warehouses and trucks, reducing loading and unloading times, and protecting products during transportation. The automation of palletizing, through the use of automatic palletizers, has revolutionized this process, improving the speed, precision, and safety of the operation.

What types of palletizing exist?

1. Manual Palletizing

Manual palletizing is the most basic method of organizing products on pallets for transportation and storage. In this process, workers manually place the products on pallets following a predetermined pattern. Although simple and not requiring a significant investment in machinery, manual palletizing can be labor-intensive, slow, and prone to human errors.

In high-production environments today, automation is often preferred to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs.

Manual Palletizing Process.

  •  PROS

– Low initial cost: Manual palletizing requires minimal initial investment in equipment and machinery, making it accessible for companies with limited budgets.

– Less space required: Large machinery systems are not needed, which can be beneficial for companies with limited space in their facilities.

 

  • CONS

– Higher risk of injuries: Manual palletizing can lead to injuries due to repetitive strain or workplace accidents caused by constant handling of heavy loads.

– Lower speed and efficiency: Compared to automated systems, manual palletizing is slower and less efficient, which can limit production capacity and increase labor costs in the long run.

– Greater propensity for errors: The manual nature of the process increases the possibility of human errors, such as incorrect placement of products or inconsistency in load arrangement, resulting in loss of time and resources.

 

2. Palletizer with Industrial Robot

The palletizer with an industrial robot stands out as the most efficient and versatile solution for the palletizing process in industrial environments. These systems employ specialized industrial robots that can manipulate a variety of products and arrangements to create organized and stable pallets. The robot arm is configured depending on the specific needs of each application and the type of load to be handled.

The flexibility of these robots allows them to adapt to different types of products, palletizing patterns, and production speeds, making them a popular choice for a wide range of industrial applications.

Two “Savvy Pal” industrial palletizing cells, handling tomato bricks.

  • PROS

– Improved efficiency: Industrial robot palletizers can work at consistent speeds and perform multiple palletizing tasks simultaneously, increasing efficiency and productivity.

– Versatility: They can handle a wide range of products and palletizing configurations, making them suitable for environments with variable requirements.

– Space optimization: Industrial robots are typically compact and can be integrated into small workspaces, optimizing space usage in the plant.

 

  • CONS

– Higher initial cost: Acquiring and installing an industrial robot palletizer can involve a significant initial investment.

– Specialized maintenance: This type of machinery requires regular or preventive maintenance to ensure optimal operation.

 

3. Cartesian Palletizer

Cartesian palletizers are automated systems that employ linear and Cartesian movements to manipulate products and organize pallets efficiently. Their modular structure allows easy adaptation to various production line configurations and specific loading requirements.

Although they are less flexible than other industrial robots, their specialization enables them to achieve optimal speeds and quality levels for a wide range of products. However, these systems require a larger workspace than other types of palletizing robots and need a closed cage for safe operation.

The Cartesian axis arm is equipped with a gripper adapted to the type of product to be palletized, and programming is carried out by specialized operators who design the optimal process for each format.

Several sheet Cartesian palletizers working with fruit boxes.

  • PROS

– High palletizing speed: Cartesian palletizers are known for their ability to palletize large quantities of products at high speed, improving process efficiency.

– Modularity: Their modular design facilitates integration into different production environments and allows for modifications as needed.

– Heavy load capacity: Cartesian palletizers can handle heavy loads efficiently and accurately, making them ideal for high-volume industrial applications.

 

  • CONS

– Less flexibility: Although efficient in terms of speed, Cartesian palletizers may be less adaptable to different types of products and palletizing patterns compared to other options.

– Initial and operational cost: They require a significant initial investment and may incur higher operating costs due to energy consumption and maintenance.

– Space requirement: Cartesian palletizers may occupy more space than other solutions, which can be a significant consideration in environments with space limitations.

 

4. Palletizing with a collaborative robot

Collaborative robots (cobots) are designed for various tasks, including palletizing. These robots are intended to work collaboratively alongside human operators.

Cobots can be programmed to adapt to a variety of products and palletizing configurations.

While this type of robot may be considered in some cases, at IPLA, we always advocate for offering industrial and specialized solutions, such as the DUOBOT, for the palletizing process due to its guarantee of robustness and efficiency.

Collaborative robot palletizing cardboard boxes.

  • PROS

– Lower initial cost: Generally, cobots have a lower initial cost compared to traditional industrial robots.

 

  • CONS

– Lower payload capacity: Cobots may have limited payload capacity compared to traditional industrial robots, which can restrict their use in applications requiring heavy lifting.

– Slower working speed: Generally, cobots have a slower working speed compared to traditional industrial robots, which can affect productivity in high-demand environments.

– Less versatility: Cobots may be less versatile in terms of applications and capabilities compared to traditional industrial robots, limiting their use in certain production environments.

What type of automatic palletizing do I need?

The selection of the appropriate type of automatic palletizing is determined by several fundamental factors, including the nature of the product, production levels, flexibility requirements, and available investment.

In general terms, specialized robot palletizing, whether with industrial or Cartesian robots, tends to be the choice that offers the best combination of efficiency, safety, and durability. This machinery is specially designed for the palletizing process, ensuring optimal performance.

At IPLA, we have over three decades of experience in manufacturing palletizing systems. We are ready to assist you in selecting and optimizing your end-of-line automation system. If you need more information to determine which system best suits your project, feel free to contact us without obligation.

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