Blog : By Phil Biggs
Whether your manufacturing operation is small and low-speed, or a highly-automated high-speed concern, the question of how to efficiently and safely
Foodmach Director, Phillip Biggs, outlines the factors to consider.
No matter the size or scale of your manufacturing plant, safety and efficiency in end-of-line function would be a priority. Not surprisingly, there’s no ‘silver-bullet’ solution that solves all current and future application problems.
There are numerous factors to consider, starting with the shipper.
What’s your shipper production rate? What form does your shipper take? (Case, tray/shrink, tray only, shrink only, shelf ready?). How rigid is stand how heavy is it? And how many different shippers would you like to
And then, how many pallet sizes do you have? Do you want interleaving sheets? How much space do you have available? How much extra capacity or flexibility do you need for the future?
And, of course, what’s your budget?
And what are the implications of choosing a high-level palletiser rather than a low-level solution?
HIGH LEVEL OR LOW-LEVEL CASE ENTRY HEIGHT
Both high and
In a low-level palletiser, the layer is hoisted to be placed on top of the partially built pallet, known as
For a high-level palletiser, the pallet is lowered layer by layer as the formed layers are stripped onto the preceding layer (down-stacking), resulting in faster throughput than low-level machines.
High-level palletisers have the advantage of having higher throughputs, even greater than 10 layers per minute. That equates to 100 cases per minute with 24 pack cartons of beer, and much faster on small packs.
They also have a smaller footprint, as the layer-forming section is immediately above the pallet. High-level case delivery can also provide greater flexibility in plant layouts, allowing movements of fork trucks below the conveyor, for example.
Owing to the platforms required, high-level solutions can be seen to be more expensive.
Low-level solutions typically have easier access
Generally, low-level machines take up more floor space because all pallet infrastructure, case conveying and
MECHANICAL OR ROBOTIC AUTOMATION
Robots are increasingly being deployed in
This solution has the advantage of occupying a small footprint and also has the flexibility to easily change layer patterns from one product to the next, particularly if a simple layer pattern program is used.
A further advantage of robotic
An alternative use for robots in
Mechanical palletisers have the advantage of typically being lower cost than robotic palletisers, though they have less flexibility and generally require increased maintenance. However, owing to their mechanical nature, they are simpler to maintain than a robotic solution. For specific high-speed applications with rigid, cube-based shapes, they can perform at very high speeds, up to 100 cases per minute or more.
In recent times, collaborative robots (
With capital costs ranging from $100k for a cobot
An experienced provider of robotic solutions should be able to guide you through the process of selecting the correct
Phillip Biggs is a director at Packaging Partners, a firm investing in Australian packaging machinery
This article first appeared in PKN Packaging News May-June 2017