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Palletizing is the process of transferring goods onto or off pallets. It is necessary for many industries to create large quantities of pallets quickly and efficiently. The packaging equipment can be programmed to handle each product differently, even if it is a variety of products with different dimensions. There are several types of palletizers that exist today, but knowing about them will help you make the right decision when choosing a palletizer. This article will cover the different types of palletizers and their uses. It will also illustrate what each one is, how it works and when to use them.

What Are Palletizers?

Palletizers are automated devices that place goods onto pallets in a sequential and orderly fashion. They can be programmed to group items together or separate them depending on the customer’s needs. Like a pick-to-light system, this is an automatic process that does not require manual labor once it has begun. The palletizing equipment consists of palletising machines, load cells, and vision systems.  These machines vary, but all palletizers share the same general components: package mover, depalletizer station, identification zone, slide gate/track, augmented pallet stop, and end effector.

There are many reasons individuals choose automated equipment for their packaging process. Some common reasons are ease of use, speed, cost-effectiveness, safety, product protection, load optimization, and accurate production quantities. Automated equipment can also increase output by making it easier to package larger quantities of items quickly. It is especially useful when packaging multiple products with different sizes and dimensions. 

Different Types of Palletizers

Palletizing equipment can be divided into several categories based on their function in the packaging process or their method of pallet transfer. You will find that automated, semi-automated, and even manual methods are available. Here is a list of the main types of palletizing equipment and their functions:

Band Forks

Band fork models consist of a rotating arm that grabs hold of a product and pushes it onto a pallet. They vary in size depending on the width of the products they handle, but they are typically used for items that measure around two feet long and can be as wide as 26 inches. There are different types of band forking equipment, including vertical band fork which is used for thin products like metal sheets or profiles, horizontal band fork which can handle wide products like steel beams, and semi-vertical band fork which is halfway between the two. The advantage of this type of equipment is that it works very quickly with no manual input required by workers.

Slide Gate Palletizers

This particular piece of palletizing equipment typically handles medium to heavy-weight products. These are typically referred to as ‘feeder’ palletizers because they use slide gates or tracks to push the goods onto a pallet. As the slides approach, gravity pulls down on them, allowing workers easy access to their product lines. This type of equipment is often used in industries that are not high-tech but require speed and ease of use for their palletizing process.

Augmented Pallets (Specially Designed Pallets)

This type of equipment uses specially designed pallets to transfer goods onto a stack. When the slide gate pushes up on an augmented pallet, it automatically levels itself with the top of the pallet stack. This is especially useful when the height of products varies because it allows each product to be palletized with equal space between them. Augmented pallets are also used, so the same equipment can handle different-sized products because they have storage tracks embedded in them to accommodate size changes.

Load Cells

These are an essential option for any automated equipment that operates on a high-volume basis. When using load cells, the machine only operates when it senses a product has been placed properly onto a pallet. This ensures that items are not damaged during storage or transportation, and also reduces worker fatigue from constantly having to place products manually. An automated system may use load cells in conjunction with an auger, slide gate, or lift-gate according to their needs. These types of gates can help the product be pushed on a stack, but they cannot ensure the product is placed correctly. This additional equipment ensures there is no overcapacity on a pallet and that products are stacked evenly as well as upright.

Low-Infeed Palletizer

Low-infeed palletizers are used to handle low-quantity products that require high accuracy. There is no need to stack items, which saves time and money. This equipment also helps keep the work environment safe by removing heavy lifting from human workers. These types of equipment do not use track or auger systems because they only handle one product at a time.

High-Infeed Palletizer

This type of equipment is used for higher-quantity products that require speed and accuracy. It can stack items according to preset specifications such as ‘high’, ‘flat’, or ‘half high’ levels. This particular workflow requires worker input during the stacking process, so it is not considered automated, but it does reduce accidents by removing heavy lifting from the workers.

Palletizing By Hand

This method is the oldest one since it uses manual labor to stack items. Although this method is still used in some industrial settings, it is becoming rarer. This type of equipment requires workers to place the products onto a pallet using their own strength and can result in injuries if not done properly. One worker typically places the bottom layer of products, while another worker follows behind, placing items from top to bottom. This process is often used in conjunction with load cells because it allows workers to place items and then wait for them to be properly stacked before removing their hands from the pallet.

Palletizers are used in many different industries such as food, produce, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and more. Palletizers are a very useful tool for the packaging industry because it negates the use of manual labor and can still provide accurate results. They can also make production more efficient by reducing waste and save companies money. It also reduces the risk of injury for workers by eliminating high lifting and repetitive motion. Hopefully, this article was informative and can provide greater insight into this product and how it is used.


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