Palletizing Machines: A Palletizer in Action
An automatic palletizer is a highly useful machine that automatically loads products onto a pallet for shipping to retailers and distributors for a product. There are two main kinds of palletizers, the conventional palletizer and the robotic palletizer. The robotic palletizer uses a robot arm to load the pallet with the products. The conventional palletizer can be row-forming or in-line, and uses a series of bars and rollers to load and entire layer of product onto a pallet at once. A few days ago, I was able to experience the use of an in-line automatic palletizer first hand, and the process was quite entertaining and educational.
After the factory packaged the product into boxes (in this case it was cereal boxes), it sent them down a conveyor toward the palletizing machine. The boxes collected in a large, flat conveyor area that sorted the boxes into flat layers of about 18 boxes. A large bar pushed the entire layer of boxes onto a rising elevator. The elevator was able to reach the desired height on the pallet. If the pallet was a new one, the elevator rose just a couple of inches to reach the top of the pallet. The elevator then slid the row of boxes off the elevator and onto the pallet gently. The elevator then returned to the original position where the next layer of boxes were waiting. As more layers were added to the pallet, it rose higher each time, until the pallet was full. This factory loaded about 8 to 12 layers of boxes onto each pallet. After the pallet was full, another machine wrapped the entire pallet in plastic to keep the boxes from sliding off.
This process is not used by every factory. Some factories employ the use of robot loading arms, which load products onto a pallet row by row. Other machines wrap each layer on the pallet in individual plastic sheets, which helps keep them stable during transit.