Reducing errors and increasing throughput are top priorities for your production lines. But an often overlooked aspect of this is the palletizing process.
Heavy packages, tall stacking heights, and repetitive motions combine to make manual palletization a dangerous job. Even harder is finding qualified candidates who are up for the task.
Filling production roles remains difficult as labor shortages continue. Even if your production line is low-volume or variable, your business may benefit from automating the palletizing process.
Keep reading to learn when you should switch to an automated solution.
What Are Robotic Palletizers?
Robotic palletizers use an arm with a tool on its end to pick and place cases onto a pallet. Though slower than conveyor sorters, robotic systems outpace humans and increase accuracy. They can work alone or with other robots or even humans to bolster the production chain.
Benefits of Automation
There are several key benefits to automated palletization. From improved speed to reduced errors, automation bolsters your bottom line.
Automated systems are far faster than even the most skilled employees and operate around the clock. They don’t slow down or need breaks and don’t run the risk of repetitive motion injuries.
Reduce Labor Costs
The labor market remains tight, and finding qualified candidates is difficult. Automated solutions, while expensive upfront, offer massive realized savings in the long run. The only continuing expense is electricity and regular maintenance.
Automation can help if your shipping department has a bottleneck. Robots reduce bottlenecks, resulting in fewer errors and boosting your bottom line.
When Should You Automate?
Though automated palletizing solutions are an expensive investment, it doesn’t take long for them to pay off. Though automation can play a big part in boosting your bottom line, how do you know when to automate certain aspects of your workload?
Automation can help anytime you’re facing difficulty hiring competent palletizers. Or when you’re looking to offset labor costs. Robotic systems cost a fraction of a salary to maintain and require no breaks or meals.
Robotic systems can also run around the clock with little to no oversight depending on the setup. Not only can you save on labor, but you also increase your throughput.
Replacing Old Equipment
If your current equipment is run down or in need of replacement, consider automation. Consider investing in automated palletizing equipment instead of upgrading to an electric pallet jack operator or other improved tools.
Though you’ll likely still need some equipment like a pallet truck for your warehouse, you can reduce the need for additional tools or staffing. Robotic systems can handle extensive workloads with ease.
Your palletizing process is typically at the tail end of your workflow, making it the last task that needs to occur before shipping. If you don’t keep this process moving quickly, you can expect bottlenecks.
Whether you’re already experiencing bottlenecks, want to prevent them, or increase throughput, consider robotic palletizing systems. Don’t skimp on investing when it comes to this critical link in your production chain.
When it comes to the safe and effective delivery of your products, the quality of your palletizing matters. Factors like load distribution and case layout affect the overall quality. Human workers can typically prioritize one of two things: speed or quality.
Robots don’t suffer from this issue. They can safely and accurately load pallets and prepare them for shipping at a higher rate of speed.
If your business often produces a range of products requiring different case sizes, this introduces variety. The introduction of variety, especially when it occurs infrequently, can negatively affect your palletizing crew. If they’re used to one size of cases going on a pallet, a change in that can interfere with their efficiency and accuracy.
Robotic solutions, on the other hand, can handle variety with ease. Infrequent products or a wide variety of case sizes are of limited concern to automated solutions. Their flexibility allows them to adapt immediately and prepare your product for shipment.
Lack of Space
Complex conveyor systems are the king of sorting produced goods. But they require a significant amount of space to operate. Not every business has the available space to dedicate to these systems.
If you’re looking to improve speed while maintaining a small footprint, robotic palletizing is the way to go. You still get a boost to speed while using a fraction of the floor space.
Avoid Work Injuries
Due to repetitive motions and heavy packages, palletizers often suffer from injuries on the job. Though minor strains and aches may not cause a comp claim, affected workers will move slower, reducing throughput.
If serious injuries occur, your throughput suffers, and your bottom line takes a hit. Robotic palletizing systems operate daily and can’t be injured. Though they may need routine maintenance, the benefits outweigh the costs.
It’s Time to Automate Palletizing
If your palletizing department suffers from any of the above issues, it’s time to consider automation. The benefits are clear from higher speed, lack of injury, and better quality palletizing. Though robotic systems carry a significant up-front investment, they pay for themselves quickly.
Whether you’re looking to offset labor costs or improve throughput, we have solutions for your business. Our palletizing robots are holistically designed to support a wide array of packages and workloads to serve every industry.
If you’re still on the fence about automated systems or are looking for more information, contact us today. We’re always happy to discuss our products and explain how they can support your business.