Can a Palletiser Stack Mixed Products Like Boxes and Open Top Trays with the Same Gripper?

Typically, an underneath gripper would be used to palletise products that cannot be easily picked with vacuum from the top of the products, for example open-top trays, boxes with perforated lids, bottles etc.  However an underneath gripper can be used for almost any application including standard tape top and bottom boxes. As nearly any product can be stacked with an underneath gripper, it works well for applications where there are mixed products needing to be palletised with the same palletiser. The video below shows an underneath griper palletising boxes and open top trays.

How an Underneath Gripper Handles Mixed Products

Integration with Production Line

  1. Sensor-Based Detection:
    • As items come off the production line, sensors detect their type, size, and shape. This information is crucial for the gripper to adjust its configuration accordingly.
  2. Dynamic Adjustment:
    • The gripper dynamically adjusts its forks or support platform based on the detected item. For boxes, it ensures a stable lift from underneath, and for open-top trays, it carefully supports the base to prevent any disturbance to the contents.
  3. Smooth Transition:
    • The transition from lifting a box to lifting a tray is seamless. The system’s control software coordinates the movements of the gripper to switch modes efficiently without interrupting the flow of the production line.

Benefits of Using an Underneath Gripper in Mixed Production Lines

  1. Versatility and Flexibility:
    • One of the primary advantages is the ability to handle different types of items without needing multiple grippers. This versatility reduces equipment costs and minimises the complexity of the automation setup.
  2. Space Efficiency:
    • Using a single gripper system for both boxes and trays saves space on the production floor. There is no need for separate handling areas or additional machinery, allowing for a more compact and efficient production environment.
  3. Reduced Downtime:
    • The adaptability of the gripper reduces the need for manual adjustments or changeovers between different types of items, leading to less downtime and higher overall productivity.
  4. Improved Safety and Handling:
    • The underneath support provides a stable lifting method that minimises the risk of dropping or damaging items. This is particularly important for open-top trays that may contain delicate or loose contents.
  5. Consistent Palletising:
    • The gripper ensures consistent placement of items on the pallet, maintaining uniformity and stability in the pallet stacks. This consistency is crucial for efficient storage and transportation.

Practical Considerations

System Design and Implementation

  • Customisable Configuration:
    • The gripper can be customised to handle specific dimensions and weights of boxes and trays commonly found on the production line. This customisation ensures optimal performance and reliability.
  • Integration with Existing Systems:
    • The underneath gripper can be integrated with existing conveyor and packaging systems, providing a streamlined addition to the current production setup.
  • Maintenance and Support:
    • Regular maintenance and calibration of the gripper and its sensors ensure continued precision and efficiency. Support from the manufacturer can provide ongoing improvements and troubleshooting as needed.


An underneath gripper provides an effective solution for palletising mixed items such as boxes and open-top trays coming off the same production line. By ensuring stable and gentle handling of diverse items, the underneath gripper helps maintain the integrity of products while optimising the palletising process. This integration leads to increased productivity, reduced operational costs, and a smoother workflow on the production floor.

If you would like to know more about mixed product palletising, please contact us on 01223 499488 .


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