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Basics of Palletizing and Depalletizing Used for Industrial Material Handling

When we think about industrial automation, then mostly we think about the material handling process, which is a broad category of automation. Material handling can be a simple process to move any material from point A to point B.

It can be as simple as using a basic conveyor, or also as complicated as a high-speed robot used that deals with multiple conveyor lanes, segregating many different products and also building those products with one layer after another into certain specific pallet patterns.

The following are the two material handling processes that are quite common in the industry:

  • Palletizing means stacking cases, boxes, or any finished product onto a certain shipping pallet for safe transportation 
  • Depalletizing is related to removing items from a certain shipping pallet where palettenwender (English Meaning pallet turner] can be used.

Therefore, let us try to understand the palletizing and depalletizing basics in this post.

Usually, in a traditional way of material handling, if we need to do this operation then an operator will do all these functions. Therefore, palletizing and depalletizing have been introduced so that automation can make a positive impact on the bottom line of the business.

All these operations can avoid using manpower which is so much expensive these days, so that not only the business can make significant cost savings while also protecting operators from any repetitive motion injuries.

In the manufacturing industry, depalletizing applications are also increasingly becoming common. There are several reasons why materials have to be taken off a pallet rather than the other way around, and all these require different types of arrangements.

There can be as many ways to depalletize as there are products available to depalletize. However, in the end, what is required is that the application should be optimal like locating precisely the product on the pallet, then gently handling it throughout the whole process.

What is palletizing?

As such, palletizing will refer to the operation where a certain object will be loaded such as a corrugated carton for example, on a pallet or something similar in a defined pattern. 

Palletizing systems will be mechanized equipment that is generally used for loading products onto palletizers. As manual pallet loading can always be time-consuming and labour intensive, automatic palletizing is preferred by palletizing systems so that both time and money can be saved.

What is depalletization?

Depalletization is just the reverse operation where the process of unloading pallets which is laden with boxes one by one. This is in contrast to the classic de-layering, in which the robot gripper will pick the whole pallet.

The pallet will contain all the boxes which will be grabbed through robotic depalletization where artificial intelligence may also be used. The system will identify individual boxes and the robot will place them one by one on a certain conveyor belt or any other predefined place.

Depalletization is a higher level of unloading pallets that can offer many advantages over de-layering. It needs a smaller placement area and the size of the biggest box in contrast to the complete pallet. Due to a lighter payload, a much smaller robot arm and gripper are used, which offer considerable cost savings.

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