Leveraging Industrial Robots to Enhance Palletizing and Depalletizing Applications

Upgrading your packaging line can improve your operation in various ways, like reducing insurance and labor costs, and enhancing production. Further, it can help you solve an application problem that you have struggled with for a long time.

Remember, any decision you make will have a long term impact on your productivity. Knowing your options and the factors to consider during the selection process can help you make an informed decision.

Factors to Consider when Choosing an Industrial Robot Palletizing Machine

Entrepreneurs have various options to choose from, which include conventional, robotic, hybrid, semi-automatic, and automatic. You can also choose between low or high-level industrial robots. The ideal machine for your production line depends on various factors. In the recent past, there were extensive differences in capabilities and cost between industrial robots and conventional palletizers.

Conventional palletizers were ideal for high speed and dedicated lines. Industrial robots, on the other hand, were perfect for multiple stock-keeping unit applications that operate at low speeds. Today, industrial robot palletizers can acquire high speeds, while advanced technology has enhanced flexibility and reduced downtime in conventional units.

There is a new brand of hybrid palletizers that combine conventional squaring gadgets with robotic product placement. Semi-automatic palletizers provide a cost-effective manual palletizing upgrade for low-speed production lines. Which among these options is ideal for your application? To establish this, you need to assess your requirements, as we shall see below. 

The Product Type

Here are questions you should seek answers for when it comes to the product type.

  • How is the product packaged? Does it come in a tray, case, tote, display tray, or is it a bulk shrink-wrapped packaging? 
  • Is it highly valuable or fragile?
  • How many stock-keeping units (SKU) do you palletize?
  • Is there headspace that can alter stacking strength, or is the product solidly packed?
  • Is it lightweight or heavy?
  • Assuming bags are involved, are they polythene or paper? Will there be a need for palletizing or flattening the bags?

Line Layout

Here are factors to consider when it comes to the production line layout. 

  • How are products transferred to the palletizer?
  • Will operators deliver multiple lines to the palletizer?
  • How much floor space does your working area have?

Pallet Requirements

Here is what to consider in terms of pallet requirements.

  • What are your present pallet patterns, and how regularly will they change?
  • Do you create an end of aisle display pallets or label loads out?
  • Do you need tier sheets, full pallet shrink-wrap, or glue dots?
  • Do you make a mixed load or dedicated pallets or both?

Speed Requirement 

The efficiency of your production line will be linked to the speed and production of your palletizer. Incompatible speed capability or downtime can fail the entire production line. Ensure your supplier understands your needs when it comes to speed. High-level conventional palletizers are usually ranked at cases/minute while their low-level counterparts are ranked at layers per minute. Industrial robot palletizers are rated at cycles per hour. 


Your budget helps you define your choice. If you are working on a tight budget, consider industrial robots with a flexible design that allows you to accommodate upgrades in the future when your budget allows.  

Factors to Consider when Choosing Your Preferred Solution

With your production and specification goals in place, you can start approaching suppliers. Let us look at some of the primary factors to consider when selecting a palletizer today. 

ยท         Speed

High-level conventional palletizers reign in high-speed lines. Low-level conventional and robotic palletizers are ideal for mid-range production lines. Semi-auto palletizers, on the other hand, are a solid option, as advancement from manual labor.

When establishing the speed, you should avoid increasing your speed requirement. Doing so may increase your machinery cost for a speed capability you do not require. Ensure the machine you choose has a proven record of performance. 

Other Factors to Consider Include:

  • Maintenance
  • Budget
  • Floor space, and 
  • Flexibility

Take Away 

Understanding your options and selection considerations helps you make an informed decision to facilitate long term gains on productivity.