We’ve all woken up with pallet problems. Odd shapes and sizes are the order of the day in this post.
There is a range of options for palletising bulk products that have a standard shape, but these are not always suitable when it comes to dealing with irregularly shaped or unstable packages. Here are some of the options for dealing with these difficult items.
The normal layer palletisers are extremely good when you need to create precise pallet loads which can be secured neatly with stretch pallet wrap. The standard infeed handling system may not be suitable for irregular packages, however, and even if row spacers, split conveyors, line dividers, and bump turners are added, there can still be problems with extremely irregular items such as potato sacks, for example.
These robotic systems have many advantages over conventional machines, providing a versatility that can help to reduce the need for future upgrades. They are programmable to allow layer patterns to be changed easily and are generally durable and do not require much maintenance.
These systems can also be designed to enable the picking and accurate placing of even irregular or unstable items. Gripper design then becomes an essential consideration, however, to ensure that a company’s individual needs can be met. Once this is done, such robotic systems can reduce the time and effort needed to handle oddly shaped packages.
These are often the best choice, as these systems employ the strengths of robotic and conventional palletising equipment. Layer squarers lock products together to reduce the problems normally associated with hard-to-stack goods and help to reduce slippages. The result can be a tightly packed, square pallet which is stable and easy to transport or store.
There are systems available to deal with very unstable spherical products. These stacking frames involve a pallet being slowly lowered within an enclosed frame whilst it is being packed by a robotic arm.
This means that the stack on the pallet cannot topple and items cannot fall off. A door opens to allow the pallet to travel to its next downstream process, such as the application of stretch pallet wrap.
This may sound complicated, but it is actually a very simple procedure in practice. It has been proven to work even in dusty farm environments. It can be operated by farm hands in order to help deal with the packaging and shipment of difficult-to-stack items such as bags of onions and potatoes.
What does it all mean?
The palletising process that is right for one particular business will depend on the products to be stacked and the budget available. If investment is possible, however, there are plenty of cost-effective and efficient modern mechanical solutions available.