Mixed-Load Robotic Palletizing Application Video
In this video, a Fanuc robot is executing mixed-load palletizing of beer cases at a distribution center.
In this operation, differently-sized beer cases are conveyed to the robot to fulfill a specific order. Since the cases vary by width, length, and height, their dimensional information is sent to the robot by the WMS (warehouse management system). The robot utilizes mixed-load palletizing software to determine the best pattern to build a pallet with the available products, achieving high density and stack stability with rapid speed.
The robot chooses the best available product to build up the pallet. That’s why the robot often picks a seemingly random product out of the entire queue of products available on the conveyor, as shown in the video. For this application, the robot also uses a unique side-clamping tool (end effector) without any protrusion outside the product. This type of tool not only accommodates cases of various sizes but also achieves to release them in 3-D corners without interference with surrounding cases.
This is a value-add application where human interaction is expensive, the work is back-breaking, and the payoff for both employees and the operation is low when manually implemented. The robot is able to work multiple shifts, doesn’t get back strains, and is highly accurate.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.