What is a Palletizer?
Just a few decades ago, pallets were loaded by hand or by forklift. There was no fast method available for loading pallets quickly. Loading a pallet was a long drawn-out process that took time away from other factory processes. In 1948, Lamson Corp invented the first automatic palletizer, which automatically loaded pallets with goods. This system was extremely successful, and it was not long before many other manufacturing companies also used palletizers in their businesses.
So what exactly is a palletizer? A palletizer is a machine that facilitates the loading process of goods onto a pallet. There are two main kinds of palletizers, conventional and robotic. Conventional palletizers consist of in-line and row-forming palletizers. There is also a form of hybrid palletizer that use robots to form the rows or change the orientation of the cases as they enter a conventional row forming or in-line palletizer.
In-line: The in-line palletizer was invented in the 1970s. This system is similar to the row-forming system, but operates at much higher speeds. In this system, the goods are divided into rows by machine, which prepares each layer of the pallet automatically.
Robotic: The robotic palletizer is the newest addition to the palletizer family. The robotic system is completely automated and controlled by robotic arms. The robot design was invented in the 1980s. This system grabs goods off of a conveyor or other storage unit and stacks them onto pallets much like a person would do, only faster.
Row-forming: The row-forming palletizer is the original design of palletizer. The machine arranges the goods in rows and then moves them to another area where the goods are arranged into layers. The layers are then stacked onto pallets by the machine and are wrapped for shipment.
Each of these three systems have their own advantages and disadvantages and are still used today in factories. Usually, high-production factories are more likely to use the robotic system, while smaller factories use in-line systems. It is rare to see a row-forming palletizer still in use today, but some factories still use this stacking system.