In the world of packaging, less is often more, and the simplest solutions appear to be the best. Take a pallet for an example. The pallet is a simple flat structure used as a base for the unitization of the products in a supply chain. The MH1-2016 standard defines the pallet as a “portable, horizontal, rigid, composite platform used as a base for assembling, storing, stacking, handling and transporting goods as a unit load; often equipped with a superstructure.”
Pallets are used for stacking, storing, protecting, and transporting materials, and they are being handled by forklifts, pallet jacks or conveyors. The pallet is the most common base of the unit load. Goods are stacked on top of it, usually secured with stretch wrap, strapping, shrink wrap, adhesive tapes, pallet collar, or other means of stabilization.
Reuse of pallets provides a lower cost per transportation and less impact on the environment, which is why we always recommend investing in a better quality pallet that will last longer, providing a lower cost per use rather than cheaper alternatives.
Pallets can be made from several types of materials. The first solution is wood, providing an excellent value in terms of price and performance. It is stiff, easily shaped into various sizes, and most of all – affordable. Other materials are also appreciated, mostly because they don’t fall under ISPM 15 requirements. Plastic pallets are valued for their durability and ease of cleaning. Paper pallets are used because of their cleanliness, light-weight, and ease of recycling. Wood composite pallets are also excluded from ISPM 15 requirements and they provide a stiff, reasonably priced product which can be easily recycled. Metal pallets are also being used, especially in applications where pallet strength and durability is required.
Pallets can bring substantial improvements to transportation and stacking logistics, but manual placement of merchandise along the pallet is time-consuming and stressful for the workers, which is why various automated palletizing solutions and systems are being used instead.
A Palletizer is a machine which automatically stacks cases of goods or products onto a pallet.
The first mechanized Palletizer was designed, built, and installed in 1948 by a company formerly known as Lamson Corp.
The first type of mechanized Palletizer was the row-forming Palletizer which appeared in the early 1950s. In row-forming palletizing applications, loads are first arranged on a row forming area. Then, they are moved to a different area where layers are formed. This process repeats until a full layer of goods and products are ready to be placed onto a pallet.
In the 1970s, higher speeds were required for palletizing, thus the in-line Palletizer was launched. This Palletizer type uses a continuous motion flow divider that guides the cases of products into the desired area on the layer forming platform.
Robotic palletizers were introduced in the early 1980s. The key part of these Palletizers is a robotic arm, and end of arm tool (end effector) used to pick up the product from a conveyor or layer table and position it onto a pallet. Robotic Palletizers are being used in many industries including food processing, manufacturing, and shipping. Various end-of-arm-tools provide flexibility and different types of robot palletization. For instance, bag grippers grab an item and support it on the bottom, while suction and magnetic grippers handle more ridged items and grip them from the top.
We are sure that you have already embraced the use of pallets for shipping and stacking of your products, but do you have an appropriate palletizing solution? Make certain to check Tetristack Robotic Palletizers by Nortech Packaging, built to fit your needs and your floor space.