Yes, a palletiser can stack products on different sized pallets. Palletisers are designed to handle various pallet sizes and configurations to accommodate different packaging requirements and industry standards. The specific capabilities of a palletiser depend on its design and features.
In the UK, the most commonly used pallet is the standard wooden pallet known as the ‘UK Standard Pallet’ or ‘Chep pallet’. The dimensions of the UK standard pallet are 1200 mm x 1000 mm (47.24 inches x 39.37 inches). The Euro pallet is also prevalent in the UK, especially in European trade. This has dimensions of 1200 mm x 800 mm (47.24 inches x 31.50 inches).
Most palletisers are equipped with auto adjusting mechanisms that allow them to adapt to different pallet sizes. These adjustments ensure that the palletiser can properly stack and arrange the products on the pallet, regardless of its size. Some of the key factors that need to be considered to enable the palletiser to stack onto different sizes of pallet are:
- Software: Palletisers are typically equipped with an HMI, which allows for programming and customisation. The operator can input the dimensions of the pallet being used into the HMI system. The software then adjusts the movements and stacking patterns of the palletiser accordingly to ensure proper alignment and stacking on the specific pallet size. On some palletiser systems, the pallets sizes are already saved and stored in the program; enabling you to simply select the correct pallet size and the palletiser software will then auto generate the most efficient stack pattern.
- Where the palletiser is stacking on to pallet stack positions on the floor, the positioning of these pallet stack positions needs to be carefully considered. This is due to the fact that for each of the different pallet sizes that the palletiser is going to be stacking, there needs to be enough space for each pallet type to be placed, and there also needs to be space around the stack position to allow for any overhang of the robot gripper as it stacks the pallet.
- If the pallets are fed into the palletising system by auto feed conveyors, the width of the conveyor will define the largest pallet size that can be used. It is important to ensure that the conveyor system will work for the largest pallet size you wish to palletise onto.
- Automated pallet feeder systems typically only take one size of pallet. Some automated pallet feeders are adjustable, but you would normally need a separate pallet feeder for each size of pallet.
- If the system is a robotic palletiser, then the reach of the robot needs to be considered. Some smaller robots and cobot palletiser systems may not have enough reach on the robot for UK standard or Chep pallets. This is something that especially needs to be considered if the palletiser is manufactured in Europe as it is likely to have been designed for palletising onto Euro pallets that are smaller in size than the UK standard pallets.
- Another factor that needs to be considered when purchasing a palletiser to stack onto different sizes of pallets is how does the product sit on the pallet. For example; do the boxes/bags/product overhang the side of the pallet? What height is the finished pallet stack? All of these factors affect the reach of the palletiser and positioning of the pallet that the product is going to be palletised on to.
- There are many different types of pallet construction. The pallet construction type and quality of construction is very important in an automated palletising system. For example; if the pallet has full perimeter boards around the base, a standard conveyor system will work for transferring the pallet through the palletising system. However, if the pallet just has legs, then a different type of conveyor system may be needed to the traditional roller conveyors that are typically used in a palletising system as the legs of the pallet would just jam between rollers.
It’s worth noting that some palletisers may have limitations on the range of pallet sizes they can handle. For example, a particular palletiser may have a minimum and maximum pallet dimension specified by the manufacturer. It’s essential to consult the equipment specifications or contact the manufacturer to ensure that a palletiser can accommodate the specific pallet sizes you intend to use.