Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


Palletizing: Robotic drum palletizer beats manual process

Moving away from a manual palletizing process and installing a robotic solution was good for Greif.
By Lorie King Rogers, Associate Editor
November 01, 2011

Greif, in Alsip, Ill., manufactures steel drums and covers in all sizes to transport materials for the chemical, paint, food, pharmaceutical and hazardous waste industries.

When the company began looking for an automated system to replace the manual process of palletizing empty drums, its goal was to improve production efficiency and equipment reliability, while also improving safety and ergonomics for Grief’s workers.

To satisfy its multiple requirements, Greif chose a robotic palletizing system (Lambert Material Handling, http://www.lambertpalletizers.com). In addition to the robot, the customized palletizing system includes end-of-arm tooling, a pallet dispensing system, drum conveyors and pallet conveyors, which were designed and manufactured by the system integrator that also programmed the system to perform Greif’s specific function.

Here’s how it works:
Chain-driven live roller conveyor delivers pallet stacks to a dispensing system that sizes the stack and separates individual pallets to be fed into the palletizing area. Coming from the upstream operation, 20 drums per minute are conveyed to a drum orientation station where they are rotated and properly positioned for automatic filling in end user operation.  At the robot in-feed system, drums are spaced before picking and placement.  When two drums are oriented and accumulated, the robot’s vacuum-style, end-of-arm tool picks and places four drums to form one layer. The full pallet moves out of the zone then an empty one enters. The transfer takes about 4 seconds.

A safety system, which includes light curtains, safety-painted steel wire mesh fencing and Class 3 safety switches at its door openings, prevents access to the robot and ancillary equipment while in operation.

The end result is a system that includes state-of-the-art equipment with the ability to handle a variety of pallet and drum configurations exceeding required throughput at 75% capacity.

About the Author

image
Lorie King Rogers
Associate Editor

Lorie King Rogers, associate editor, joined Modern in 2009 after working as a freelance writer for the Casebook issue and show daily at tradeshows. A graduate of Emerson College, she has also worked as an editor on Stock Car Racing Magazine.


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!

Recent Entries

Company's multi-tenant SaaS solution enables quick onboarding of new trading partners and omni-channel capabilities.

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) August edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business saw its PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, fall 1.6 percent to 51.1, following a 0.8 percent decline to 52.7 in July. Even with the relatively slow growth over the last two months, the PI has been at 50 or higher for 31 consecutive months.

Global demand remains stable as packaging equipment providers of all sizes shift focus.

Pack Expo 2014 grew five times faster than the average trade show.

Modern’s annual reader survey shows how trends in pallet use point to priorities around cost control, customer compliance and operational efficiencies. More customers are asking for pallet type changes and having minor availability issues with used wood pallets, while pallet cost and durability continue to be dominant decision factors.



© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA