Small Footprint Robotic Palletizing Solved with Pearson’s Configurable RPC

Published on December 1, 2021

Automatic Row Palletizing of Heavy RSC Cases

  • Application: Palletizing RSC cases weighing up to 36lbs, including automatic pallet and slip sheet dispensing, 3 different case and pallet configurations
  • Speed: 20 cases per minute steady state with surges up to 30 cpm
  • ROI Justification: Automation of a new line using robotics as much as possible to increased performance and reliability, smaller footprint and minimal maintenance and wear parts. Replacement of 3 operators also reduced strain in a tight labor market.
  • Unique Challenges: Low grade pallet quality
  • Important to Customer: Use of a FANUC robot, reliable handling of the challenging pallets and fit into a tight space

Solved with Pearson’s RPC

Optimized for Demanding 24/7 Operations


Pearson Robotic Palletizing Cell with Pallet and Slip Sheet Dispenser
Pearson Robotic Palletizing Cell with Pallet and Slip Sheet Dispenser

Having seen the performance increases a robotic palletizer delivered in their sister facility compared to the mechanical palletizer they had, this customer decided to fully embrace robotics for their new line. With the ability to rotate nearly 280 degrees, the robot allowed the cell to be engineered to fit into their small space and still hit the required surge speeds. To ensure that the low grade pallets do not cause any issues, drag chains were used for conveyance providing less disturbance and smoother transfer than roller conveyors. Since there aren’t any rollers, the drag chain conveyor is also relatively compact and low maintenance.

A pallet automatically dispenses onto three-strand drag chains and conveys to the loading and staging position. If slip sheets are required, the robot picks and places a sheet. Sealed RSC cases enter the cell traveling narrow end leading and advance to the case sweep, where they are transferred width leading toward the accumulation point. Cases are counted past a case stop and once a full group accumulated, it is side transferred to the pick station. The robot then picks and places the entire group onto the pallet. The end-of-arm tool is configured to pick up to eight cases at once and release them in a single or double placement. The process repeats until the full pallet is complete based on the SKU configuration. Once complete, the pallet indexes out of the cell through the muting light curtain. The next pallet indexes to the loading station and the cycle repeats.

RPC Specs

  • Application: Palletizing and Depalletizing
  • Case Support: Chipboard cartons, corrugated cases, bliss boxes, trays, warehouse totes, bags, bales, pails, drums, bundles, bottles, jugs
  • Supported Pallet Patterns: Column-stacked, interlocked or pin-wheel configurations, mixed loads or variable pattern placement programming
  • Speed: Slow to medium speed single case and row picks, high-speed full layer picks
  • Controls: FANUC PMC | AB CompactLogix PLC | PanelView Color HMI
  • Operation:
    • Robotically using multi-axis articulated robot with MTBF of over 80,000 hours and flexibility to accommodate product changes or variations
    • Accurate sorting of cases from single infeed to multiple outfeeds using barcodes
    • Pallet handling using conveyors, transfer carts and automated or autonomous guided vehicles
    • Application-specific, multi-functioning end-of-arm tools to pick pallets, cases and slip sheets
    • Integration of an automatic pallet dispenser
    • Integration of an automatic slip sheet dispenser
  • Programming Language: PackML
  • Safety Guarding: Fencing, light curtains or area sensors

Minimized Total Cost of Ownership

  • Robotic operation takes advantage of high mean between failure of 80,000 hrs, reduced parts count and wear
  • Standard remote access capability for efficient technical support and extensive service cost savings
  • HMI models web experience for quick familiarity, intuitive operation, reduced training needs and better upkeep of the equipment, pallet selection is recipe driven
  • Easy-to-use pallet configuration tool to quickly create, modify, copy or clear recipes on the HMI or adjust parameters such as case or pallet height or number of layers
  • Robot Preventative Maintenance Program ensures optimal uptime and controlled parts and service expenses year over year

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