Low level Palletizers
Low level palletizers are the next step up from hand palletizing. This type of palletizer loads the pallets from the ground or a low level. The system collates the pallet rows and pushes them onto the pallet one at a time. The full pallet then exits the system and is replaced by an empty pallet to continue the process. This type of palletizer normally has an infeed level of approximately 36″ and a typical pallet discharge conveyor elevation of 18″. Low level palletizers are generally lower in cost and provide easier access to the entire machine. Low level palletizers work with existing floor-level conveyors, making them perfect for facilities with existing floor-level conveyor systems. This type of palletizer utilizes a modular design and can usually manage one to three layers of product per minute.
High Level Palletizer
High level palletizers use the same principles of loading as a low level palletizer, but on a level that is higher off the ground. High-level palletizers will be elevated in the air to a certain degree. They normally have an infeed elevation of 100 to 144 inches or higher and a discharge elevation height between 18 and 30 inches.
These palletizers bring the products up to a higher loading point. The pallet itself is raised and lowered inside the palletizer to form the product layers. As the pallet is filled, the pallet gradually lowers to the ground and is moved off for shipment or further packaging.
High level palletizers can provide several benefits to manufacturing facilities that include faster loading times. For example a low level palletizer can load about 15 cases a minute. A high level palletizer is quite a bit faster than the low level palletizer depending on the application. The reason the high level palletizer can load faster is because the machine moves the pallet rather than the product. This is easier to do and requires less care than moving the product from place to place. A high level palletizer can provide nearly the same loading precision as a robotic palletizer. Although the high level palletizer can only be used with regularly shaped packages, i.e., bags, boxes and cases.
Another end of line packaging option is an Articulating Arm Robot. These robots are the most common types of industrial robots. The mechanical benefits of this design are the real reason for their ubiquity and longevity. The arm design combines an extensive range of rotational motion and linear reach with the advantages of precision movement. Articulated arm robots are ideal for material handling and pick-and-place operations. Their numerous axes and degrees of freedom mean that there is virtually no point in their work envelope that they cannot reach, and its design allows it to function in low ceilings and with limited workspace, maximizing the working envelope. This makes articulated arm robots one of the most versatile, flexible, and compact designs on the market. End Effector (product gripper) design is based on the specific product to be palletized but also allows this palletizing robot to perform numerous other tasks within the operating envelope such as pallet and slip sheet placement as well as its’ primary palletizing function. Other features include the use of a variety of end effectors, the ability to palletize from multiple production lines, and can be easily integrated into the existing packaging system configuration.
Gantry robots have become a popular alternative to the traditional 6-axis robot for end of line packaging. They can be utilized in applications that do not require complex motions and for some of the same applications as articulated robots including, palletizing and material handling. Payload capacity is far greater than an articulated arm robot and a variety of end effectors (product grippers) are also available.
- Reduced Floorspace – Gantry robots can also be placed closer to the work area than other industrial robots. This makes them an ideal solution in applications with limited space. Since they can either be designed to operate above or below the work envelope, floorspace is freed up to be used more efficiently.
- Larger Work Envelopes – Since gantry robots are mounted onto a linear rail system, they are able to cover larger work envelopes than stationary floor mounted robots. The rail system allows for palletizing of multiple production lines over a larger rectangular area. The expansion of the rail system as well as the addition of additional robots to increase palletizing capability are also an option.
- Enhanced Versatility – Gantry robot systems are extremely versatile. They can be easily upgraded or changed with little reconfiguration needed.
Positioning Accuracy – The ability of a robot to correctly palletize products is its positioning accuracy. Since gantry robots operate either above or below and closer to production lines, they tend to be more accurate when it comes to product placement.