Creating stable loads on your pallets is vital for safety and product quality. Picking the right pallet pattern, utilizing sheets, and wrapping the load with stretch wrap can provide the support and stabilization needed to maintain a quality pallet.
With a robotic palletizer, choosing a pallet pattern is made simple with easy-to-use pattern programming software. The software allows the product size to be entered and the stacking pattern to be selected from the predetermined patterns. More sophisticated pattern programming packages give the ability to create multiple “unique” layer configurations within the load as well as giving the ability of alternating layers to interlock the load for increased stability.
Incorporating the use of sheets into a finished load will improve load stability. There are three ways a sheet can be used to protect and stabilize a load:
1. a slip sheet, typically made of heavier fiberboard placed directly onto the pallet;
2. tie sheet, placed between layers and made of thinner kraft paper or fiberboard;
3. cap sheet, set on the top layer, made of the same material as a tie sheet.
To integrate sheets into robotic palletizing systems there are two methods: a sheet dispenser and a sheet pickup tool. The sheet dispenser incorporates an independent machine that picks and places the sheets without reducing the overall speed of the system. The other method incorporates a sheet pickup tool that uses the robot end effector to pick up and put the sheets onto the load. Beware though: using the robot to place sheets reduces the speed of the system. Picking the right sheet tool depends on the layout and the needs of each system.
Stretch wrapping pallets of product secures the load to the pallet, increasing the stability of the load for transportation and protecting the product from the environment.
Stretch wrappers are available in various levels of automation—from semi-automated wrappers that require an operator to move the pallets or initiate the wrapping process, to automated wrappers that are incorporated into a delivery conveyor system eliminating any human intervention.
Creating stable pallets is key to delivering high-quality products safely and efficiently. At Columbia/Okura we work with our customers to create the most stable loads for their products and provide quality solutions for all their palletizing needs.