Palletizing is a trending application for cobots that could give your business a competitive edge. Since packaging is one of the top applications for cobots, it is not surprising that pallets are a massive part of it. A plethora of small businesses receive and send packages or goods on pallets and because the task of unloading and loading is boring, repetitive and ergonomically risky, robotic machines are an obvious solution.
Since the 1920s, pallets have played a crucial role in the world economy thus revolutionizing global logistics. Pallets have a huge impact on product design in a variety of industries, especially because it is not uncommon for products to be redesigned to fit more units onto the pallet. However, where did pallets come from, when did they intersect with robotic technology and why are they so vital for logistics. For very many centuries, crates, barrels and boxes were the only main ways to ship products. Even though this still have their place in logistics, they have been overtaken by pallets.
Pallets were still manually loaded up until the 1950s when mechanical palletizers finally came to the scene. When this happened, human hands were freed from physical, repetitive task of unloading and loading.
When industrial robots first appeared on the scene, it was not long until they were used for palletizing with the first palletizing robot being introduced in 1963 by Fuji Yusoki Kogyo. This was about two years after the first industrial robot known as Unimate was launched. All of a sudden, palletization could be almost as flexible as humans. Palletizing robots have many advantages over mechanical palletizers including the following:
· They often take up less space
· They can do mixed-case palletizing
· They are inherently reprogrammable
· They can easily handle a plethora of product types
The more small businesses are thriving, the more mixed orders they receive thus making mixed palletizing a very important aspect in modern industries.
The transition to robotic systems from human hands, especially in palletizing has been completed all thanks to the rise of collaborative robots. Cobots used in palletizing are accessible to even the smallest businesses unlike their predecessors which were large industrial robot palletizers.
While pallets continue to become famous, it is now especially important how they are handled. You can differentiate your business by improving the palletization and depalletization of your products by using palletizing cobots.
Thanks to the popularity of distributed supply chains and ecommerce, packaging and distribution using robotics is becoming increasingly important. If you are running a small business, you need to be able to scale their order fulfilment fast without having to incur any extra expenses or experiencing any delays in the orders.
According to a Dutch supply firm, about 20% of logistics warehouses are currently using automation. The chances of this increasing are high with a recent DHL trend report showing that the use of robotics in logistics is rising. The trend suggested that collaborative robots are more effective than their counterparts when it comes to the needs of logistics.
Using collaborative robots for palletizing and depalletizing purposes is pretty straight forward. By using a palletizing wizard, you can easily program the operation by entering between two to eight points. However, this depends on whether you want 2D or 3D palletization.
Keep in mind that the distribution of products can be a deciding factor in the scalability of a business. Therefore, warehousing has the potential of providing a competitive advantage to your business if you use it effectively thus making robotics a key tool for doing that. With collaborative palletizing robots, you can bring these benefits within the reach of your small business. Remember, you don’t need to have a fully automated warehouse like that of Amazon to benefit from automated packaging.