Palletising robots flex their muscles

ENQUIRIES for flexible, single robots dedicated to the entire end-of-line palletising station have doubled in the last year as customers move away from traditional application-specific palletising work cells, according to Pacepacker Services.

The firm said the FANUC M410 series, which is designed specifically for palletising tasks, has the payload and multitasking capability of stacking anything from 25kg potato sacks to tubs of animal feed and bales of pet bedding.

Paul Wilkinson, Pacepacker’s commercial and information systems manager said, “We are increasingly designing palletising cells with three to four in-feed conveyor lines, often carrying different product sizes, packaging types and weights. Thanks to the maximum 3.1m reach of the M410, one robot can pick up different pack formats from multiple lines simultaneously and stack up to three pallets up to 2.4 metres high. Because of the choice of end-effectors available, we can select a multifunctional tooling that automatically adjusts to all of the functions it has to perform: picking pallets and slip sheets before palletising commences, as well as bags and boxes.”

Palletising payloads within the M410 range from 140kg to 700kg, and the robots are said to be capable of completing 1,700 cycles per hour.

Pacepacker said that in order to provide stability and strength, they typically recommend integrating a four-axis robot for palletising operations.

“Given that a large volume of packers today serve a wide customer base and have to accommodate peak demands, palletising robots need to be able to react swiftly to varied products and packaging sizes,” Paul added.