Palletiser

What Is A Palletiser?

A palletiser is an automated machine or system that stacks products onto pallets. Palletisers can be robotic or mechanical and goods will usually be palletised either as a complete layer or as individual products.

  

What Are The Advantages Of Automated Palletising?

Automated palletising brings many different advantages. Some of these are explained in detail below.

Reduces the risk of repetitive strain injury

Manual palletising processes carry a high risk of repetitive strain injury. This is due to the fact that when a pallet is being stacked by hand, there is a large amount of manual handling involved that is very repetitive in nature. An automated palletising system will remove the manual handling element of the palletising process and will completely eliminate the risk of RSI.

Eliminates potential bottlenecks

If product coming off the production line is not able to be manually palletised as quickly as the optimum running speed of the machine, the palletising process becomes the bottleneck in your production process. An automated palletising system will remove this bottleneck as it can be designed to run at the speeds that are suited to the optimum production rate of your line. If your production line is otherwise fully automated, having an automated palletiser at the end of the production line also enables you to run your production unmanned 24/7, thus increasing the amount of product you can produce.

Improves production speed and eliminates downtime

With an automated palletiser, production speeds can also be increased. This is due to the fact that your palletiser can be programmed to pick and place goods onto pallets at the speed that is best suited to your production process. In a manual palletising process, production often stops whilst your staff stop for coffee breaks, chats and lunch. This immediately reduces your production output by the quantity of product that could have been produced during this time. With an automated palletiser at the end of the line, production can continue to run throughout break times, thereby enabling you to improve your production speeds. On average there is a 40% improvement in production speeds when automated palletising is introduced as the palletising of products is not stopping or slowing down when your staff stop for a break or a chat. An OEE calculator is a very helpful tool to use to find out if your process is running at the optimum speed.

 

What Are The Disadvantages Of Automated Palletising?

As automation advances, there are becoming fewer and fewer disadvantages of automated palletising. There are however still a few areas that may be considered as disadvantages, but virtually all of these can be overcome.

Products are irregular in size and shape

For some palletising systems this may still present an issue to automating the palletising process. However, with the various developments in technology, mixed case palletising is now a possibility. Also, with the many developments in gripper technologies, there are now very few products that cannot be automatically picked and placed onto a pallet. Quick and easy programming software that can be set by your factory staff also overcomes this issue as it is very quick and easy to change the stack configuration without having to call in a specialist programmer.

Capital expenditure

As with any machinery or system, there is always the need for an initial capital outlay. However, there are some companies that will now offer a try before you buy, or buyback scheme. The try before you buy service gives you the opportunity to see how your product would work on an automated palletising system before you commit to the capital expenditure. The buyback scheme has been designed to give you peace of mind, as if after having the palletising system installed you decide that it doesn’t work for you, the company you bought it from will buy it back from you less a hire fee. This means that if for some reason you find that automated palletising doesn’t work for you, you don’t lose the capital you have spent on it and don’t end up with a redundant system clogging up your factory floor space. Finance schemes are also available and these typically cost less per month than the savings you are making on a monthly basis by having automated your process.

Downtime during installation

Downtime during installation can cost a lot to your company, particularly if you’re running a process where you are producing high volumes of product per hour. If you are currently manually palletising the product, downtime during install may not be as much of a problem for you as those that are replacing an existing automated palletising system. The Granta GA15 palletising system is the answer to this, as the system is modular and can be install in a day which vastly reduces the downtime required.

  

What Do I Need To Consider When Installing A Palletiser?

What will the payback be?

When considering installing a palletiser it is always useful to calculate the payback that this will give you. We have developed an automation payback calculator that is available for download as part of our Robotics and Automation Resources Pack https://www.granta-automation.co.uk/freepack .

Whilst this automation payback calculator enables you to calculate the value of the tangible benefits of installing a palletiser, it can often be useful to also calculate the value of the intangible benefits. An intangible benefits calculator is also included in our Robotics and Automation Resource Pack and can be downloaded here https://www.granta-automation.co.uk/freepack.

What if my production process changes and I no longer need a palletiser?

In some industries, certain products have a very short life cycle, and with the short life cycle of the product, investing in a palletising system can seem very costly and inefficient. However, if you choose your palletising system carefully, it will be possible to easily re-deploy the palletising system to another line once the life cycle of your product is ended. Key things to look out for are programming software that doesn’t require a specialist to program the palletiser, and modular systems that don’t leave your factory floor in a mess when you uninstall and reinstall the system.

 

If you would like any further help on palletisers, please contact us on 01223 499488 or helpline@granta-automation.co.uk.

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