Over the past 10 years the number of palletising systems that have been installed in Australian factories has exploded.
Driven by the economics of increasing labour costs, increased focus on OHS and reductions in the cost of robotic automation, more and more manufacturers have made the move to robotic technology.
One market segment that has not yet been able to realise the benefits of robotic palletising, are those businesses that need to create mixed carton pallets, namely Distribution Centres.
These applications have a number of unique challenges that have until recently acted as a deterrent to implementing such automation.
Distribution centres rely on experienced staff to create pallet stacks that are both stable, and efficient in the use of pallet space.
Care also needs to be taken such that heavy items are not stacked on top of fragile boxes that could be crushed before reaching their destination.
The complete process, from picking to stacking, can be automated using off the shelf technology.
To achieve automated mixed case palletising, three things are required.
Firstly, you need some smart software that can determine the best possible stacking configuration to ensure a safe, stable, well utilised pallet.
Secondly you need a way of getting the boxes to the palletising station in the correct order, since distribution centers typically determine pick order based on maximising picking efficiencies not the order they are required to arrive at the pallet.
And last of all you need a flexible gripper capable of picking up an unlimited number of product shapes and sizes. Ideally this gripper would be able to pick multiple different products at the same time to improve efficiencies.
Robotize is now offering a solution so that the complete process, from picking to stacking can now be automated using off the shelf technology. They have partnered with Dutch Company RSW, to introduce this technology to the Australian market.
RSW specialises in logistics automation and has developed a range of products focussed on solving the problems faced by distribution centres and warehousing. They deliver their products through a network of resellers and partners around the world.
As part of this network, Robotize is responsible for providing technical and sales support to end customers and system integrators in Australia.