Packaging your products and getting them out of the door is obviously your main focus, but depalletizing incoming products is also a complex operation that needs your attention. The process can be quite different, and a robotic palletizer used for depalletizing can require very different configurations compared to your typical machine.
The Advantages of Robotic Depalletizing
Robotic palletizers have revolutionized the manufacturing sector for several reasons, but a few of them were unexpected:
While most robotic palletizing solutions still require conveyor belts to carry products, the machines themselves undeniably have a smaller footprint than conventional palletizers. Additionally, since they’re more efficient, you’re getting more production out every square foot.
These machines can be used for a variety of uses and types of loads. Not only can you change the end of arm tooling, but all robotic palletizers can be used for a completely different type of pallet simply by modifying its software and/or pallet pattern.
The initial push for the invention of these machines has always been to improve worker safety. The repetitive movements now executed by robotic palletizers have proven time and time again to be extremely detrimental to the human body. This means this is an investment that pays itself off in several different ways.
Warehouses can be chaotic environments, lack of space to operate machinery and tired workers can easily lead to a torn bag or dropped case. Robotic palletizers are perfectly calibrated to handle the size of your loads and lead to a dramatic decrease in broken or lost product.
End of Arm Tooling for Depalletizing
End-of-Arm Tooling (usually referred to as EOAT or EOA tooling) refers to the material handling application on a piece of industrial equipment. The EOAT manipulates the product by using different techniques to hold it, depending on the product’s characteristics.
This is where robotic palletizers really start to shine, especially for depalletizing. Regular palletizing is a very organized process, you set a pattern and your machine simply follows it. If you’ve done everything right in the planning phase, there shouldn’t be any issues. Depalletizing, however, is a completely different story. In most scenarios, depalletizing is about unloading the various ingredients in a recipe for a finished product. It’s likely another company with different standards and work processes loaded up the pallet, and in some cases, your employees might have limited parameters about the contents of each bag.
That’s why the EOAT choice for a depalletizing machine has to be on the safe side. A finger gripper is the most common because it allows for the most versatility. For increased peace of mind, it’s also recommended to opt for an EOAT that has a covering such as polyurethane over the metal to prevent any rips as the bags are carried.
The best way to prevent any incident is to opt for a depalletizing machine that has a camera integrated into its EOAT. These are still a bit new to the market but can drastically improve the speed and efficiency of your operation. These types of machines can scan the bags before carrying them, and use a different preset to ensure the utmost care is given to each bag, no matter how the pallet was set up or the amount of information you have about the load.
At the end of the day, it’s just important to realize that depalletizing is a very different process from palletizing, even if it uses similar machines. Your EOAT choice has a much bigger impact than on a normal palletizing machine, and you want to opt for your most versatile option since it’s likely to be used on a variety of products. It’s not a step you should overlook, unloading product is just as crucial as getting them out of the door. Both should be done in the most efficient and timely fashion possible.