Because individual packaged products can be heavy, awkward and physically strenuous to handle manually, many manufacturing and distribution plants use automated palletizing systems because they can withstand repetitive motion and heavy loads far better than manual laborers.
Automated palletizing machines may be designed to handle a single type of product, such as bag palletizers, case palletizers, drum palletizers and bottle palletizers, or they may handle several different types of products. Additionally, automatic palletizing equipment accessories such as pallet dispensers and load transfer stations are used to assist in managing both pallets and loads.
Typical uses for automated palletizers include: shipping, packaging, distribution and other materials handling applications in a wide range of industries such as electronics, food processing, agricultural, warehousing, commercial and pharmaceutical.
Automatic palletizers can be powered by hydraulics, pneumatics or electro-mechanical equipment. There are two main types of automated palletizers: robotic palletizers and conveyorized automatic palletizers. Robotic palletizers are typically stationed between a conveyor line of incoming product units and a pallet dispenser.
A hydraulic robotic arm lifts cases, bottles, bags or drums using flat pincer arms or suction cup arms in organized rows onto a pallet, stacking units with near-perfect precision. Robotic palletizers may be altered to work with different types of product units and are excellent for handling fragile or heavy product units, although they may be slower, as they can only place one unit or row at a time.
Conveyorized palletizers have a feed area that receives the goods that are to be palletized. The packaged units are received by roller conveyors and are continuously transferred and sorted to the pallets by automated conveyor rollers, allowing greater packaging speed than robotic palletizers.
There are two types of conveyorized palletizers: low-level palletizers and high level palletizers. In low level palletizers, or floor-entry palletizers, products are loaded from the ground level, while high level palletizers are loaded from above or from the story above.