Casebook 2011: For Georgia-Pacific, a small footprint was a big step forward

A fresh approach to palletizing for a high-SKU, low-rate manufacturer improves safety and workflow.

By ·

For Georgia-Pacific, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tissue, packaging and building products, it was time to find a new automation solution for its Brampton,  Ontario, facility. By partnering with a robotics provider (RMT Robotics, 905-643-9700, http://www.rmtrobotics.com), plant engineer Rafael Indacochea applied an innovative robotic palletizer that was safe, affordable and suited to his company’s ever-expanding product mix.

The palletizer reduces labor, increases safety, and lowers the likelihood of workplace injuries. In addition, the new system has the versatility to build multi-SKU pallet loads, one case, row or partial layer at a time, as well as require a temporary buffer to store product that arrived in cases of all shapes and sizes.

The hybrid system is a robotic palletizer in gantry form. The robotic palletizing matrix allows the gantry’s tight work envelope to become a temporary storage and retrieval system for products to be eventually palletized for warehousing. A single-load build position is all that is necessary for a multi-SKU array.

“We expected some challenges since we were first in the market using this approach,” says Indacochea. “Now we have other plants that are looking at our system. We know it will mean savings in labor, and it’s definitely paying off from a safety standpoint.”

The matrix offered Georgia-Pacific an economical alternative to conventional palletizers by eliminating the need for load handling equipment and personnel. Its compact design was also a big space saver, offering a small footprint.

The robotic picking automation is capable and resilient, able to build multiple mixed pallets simultaneously without the high leakage rate of earlier vacuum tooling.


About the Author

Josh Bond, Senior Editor
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the January 2017 Issue
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using labor more productively. The bottom line: A two-year ROI.
Double Up on Labor Efficiencies
7 Warehouse E-commerce Best Practices for 2017
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...
System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...

System Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...