Palletizing Equipment 101

Palletizing is the process of placing containers or units on a pallet and securing them to make them easy to move. Palletizing solutions abound. The palletizing solutions range from basic equipment to high-tech robotic tools.

Efficient palletizing solutions help to transport units through long distances in a saleable and appealing form. The solutions can be broadly categorized into manual, semi-automatic, and robotic pelletizers.

Let’s consider the palletizers in the different categories

Manual Palletizers

Manual palletizing is simply palletizing that humans do and can be done without any form of tools or machines. This form of palletizer can be aided by solutions such as a backboard and assist devices.

Backboards: Backboards are used to guide the loading of products onto pallets. This tool reduces the time it takes workers to line products on pallets. They can be of steel with dimensions of 4 by 6 feet welded at 90 degrees.

Assist devices: Work positioners and lift tables can be specifically designed for palletizing. Pallet positioners use pneumatic devices or calibrated springs to adjust the height of loads. These devices could also have turntables for the easy adjustment of loads.

Semi-automatic Palletizers

Semi-automatic palletizers are popular in industries that handle heavy products. Although the equipment is not particularly fast, they help protect workers from injury.

The types of semi-automatic palletizers include plates onto which a conveyor deposits layers of products. The plate retracts the products on the pallet at the push of a button. These plates can be made of metals, rollers, and slippery polyethylene.

Another type of semi-automatic palletizer is the mixed-case pallet that is built on a lift. The operator lowers the lift onto a comfortable position. The operator uses an ergonomic workstation to receive products on a conveyor.

Automatic Palletizers

Automatic palletizers are highly efficient palletizing equipment that are known for their speed and ergonomic design. They are also particularly expensive. The cost of the equipment is dependent on the cost of components such as pallet dispensers, accumulators, and other ancillary machinery.

This category of palletizers can either be conventional or robotic.

Conventional automatic palletizers: These palletizers can handle between 20 and 100 cases per minute. They can be low-level or high-level palletizers.

The low-level palletizers receive products from the floor level and are usually found in packaging areas and used for products that move downstream and need palletizing.

High-level palletizers are used for products at the ceiling level. The machine puts products in layers onto a plate and retracts the plate onto the pallet.

Robotic automatic palletizers: This type of automatic palletizer is the most expensive of the subcategories and can be used in low and medium-speed operations.

The robotic machines have multiple advantages such as a smaller footprint and the ability to build multiple pallets from multiple product lines.

These types of palletizers can be gantry, articulated arm, and end effectors.

Gantry robotic palletizers: They are particularly effective for building mixed SKU pallets. The overhead bridge crane picks up products and places them in their designated position. The products remain still while the machine component moves.

Articulated arm: This type of robotic palletizer remains still while the products move in building palletizers. The arm places products on a pallet after picking them up from a conveyor.

End effectors: The end effector robotic palletizers are particularly effective for manipulating products. They have components such as clamp grippers, heavy-duty claws, and vacuum palletizers used for light and medium-weight cases, high-speed bag palletizing, and heavy cases, respectively.

This type of palletizer can be designed to include fingers for supporting the product and a clamp mechanism for holding products as they move. They could also have a head that covers the product and rollers that engage and lift the product.

We have highlighted a range of palletizing solutions you can choose from and apply according to peculiar needs. Factors to consider when choosing palletizing solutions include scope of operations and cost.

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