The short answer to this question is ‘Yes’, automated palletising results in a neater pallet stack than hand palletising. However, let’s look at this in more detail.
When a pallet is stacked by hand, the neatness of the stack is typically determined by how well the operator places the product on the pallet. However, there are several factors that can affect how neatly a pallet is stacked by hand:
How Much Pride The Operator Takes In Creating A Neatly Stacked Pallet
Some operators will take great pride in producing a very neatly stacked pallet. They will pay great attention to detail and ensure that everything is stacked neatly and correctly. An experienced operator will also know exactly what needs to be done to create a neatly finished pallet. However, if your usual operator is absent, and another member of staff or a temporary member of staff has to stack pallets, this can be detrimental to the finished pallet quality as they may not be used to stacking pallets, or may not take the same pride in creating such a neatly stacked pallet. Poorly stacked pallets can then lead to transit damage issues as the product may get damaged during transit.
How Fast The Product Is Coming Off The Production Line
The speed at which product comes off a production line can make a difference to how neatly stacked a pallet is when you are palletising by hand. If product is coming off the line at very high speeds, the operator may not have time to realign a box on the pallet that has accidently been placed incorrectly without causing delays to the upstream production. This can result in pallets not being stacked as neatly as you would like them to be.
How Well The Product Stacks
Some products, such as boxes, trays, crates, etc, fit the pallet well and stack neatly on top of each other with minimal effort, resulting in a very nice and neat pallet stack. However, products such as bags and sacks can be a lot harder to stack neatly. If the product inside the bag is loose and moves around, it can be very difficult to place the product on the pallet neatly. Products like this can result in a very lopsided pallet that is unstable.
Product Requires Wrapping As It Is Stacked
Some products, such as plastic sacks with loose product inside, may need shrink wrapping as they are palletised to stop them from slipping off the pallet. This can be quite time consuming when palletising by hand as bags have to be placed, and then the pallet wrapped, before the next layers are placed. Typically, pallets of this type of product cannot be stacked as high as other products, and the finished pallet will not look as neat.
When product is automatically palletised, there is an element of consistency and reliability that is not possible when palletising by hand. An automated palletising system will palletise product with extreme accuracy and repeatability, which results in a very neatly stacked pallet. So how does automated palletising overcome the issues that can arise from palletising by hand?
Consistency In Stacking Methods
An automated palletising system will repeatably pick and place product with extreme accuracy, which results in very neatly stacked pallets. Most systems will allow you to select how each layer should be formed to enable you to optimise your pallet stack pattern. This precision and repeatability results in consistency across pallets of the same product, and reduces the risk of transit damage to your products.
Palletising Speed Matched To Production Speeds
With an automated palletising system, the palletiser can be specified to match or exceed production speeds. This ensures that your palletising system does not become the bottleneck in your production process. With high speed production lines, products are typically palletised using a row grip method, or layer former, as this enables higher palletising speeds because multiple products are being picked and placed at the same time. Even at high speeds, the palletiser will still pick and place product with the same reliability and accuracy.
Grippers To Suit The Product Being Palletised
A robotic palletising system will be specified with a gripper to suit the product being palletised. There are many different types of gripper, and the type of gripper used will depend on your product. Some products are very straightforward to palletise, and can be simply picked and placed using a vacuum gripper. Other products such as bags/sacks will require a bag gripper to ensure that the bags are placed accurately to create a sable stack. For products such as open top trays, an underneath gripper will often be used to pick and place the product. Using the right gripper for the product will ensure the product is palletised neatly and consistently.
Pallet Wrapped As Product Is Palletised
Where the product being palletised requires wrapping as it is palletised, an automated system will palletise directly onto a pallet placed on the wrapper turntable. This then allows the pallet to be wrapped, as often as is required whilst palletising, to ensure that the product is stacked neatly and securely on the pallet. It removes the need for human input and creates a consistency and reliability that is not possible when stacking by hand.
As you can see, if you have a dedicated operator palletising by hand, they can reliably create very neatly stacked pallets. However, with an automated system you are no longer relying on the operator’s ability, and the system will reliably and consistency create neatly stacked pallets 24/7.
If you would like to discuss your palletising application, feel free to give us a call on 01223 499488 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will also be very happy to arrange a free trial of your product on a palletiser if you require this.
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