When you are looking to automate your end of line process with a palletizing solution, there are various options available in the market. Depending on your performance needs and budget, one solution may be a better option than the other.
How do you compare different solutions to determine which one is right?
The right solution can help you optimize your production, make better use of your manual labor, and reduce costs. But the wrong solution can be a costly mistake.
By evaluating a selection of key considerations — such as cost, throughput, ease of integration, and more — you can make a better decision that will ensure you find a palletizing solution that works for you.
Here’s a comparison guide of the different palletizing solutions on the market.
A step-by-step guide to comparing palletizing solutions
Before you think about buying a palletizing solution, you should first clarify what you need from one.
Here are 5 steps for comparing different solutions:
Understand your needs and goals – It is important to have a clear idea of what you want from a palletizing solution. This may include performance metrics, such as throughput or payload. But it can also include service requirements, such as customer support or training availability.
Explore different solutions – Once you have a clear understanding of your needs, it’s time to research the various solutions available on the market. Use your chosen metrics as a guide and don’t be afraid to ask suppliers for ideas on how they can solve your specific challenges — they are the experts in their own solutions, after all.
Check potential vendors – Check out the vendors that can provide the right solution for your palletizing needs. Also, be aware of partner networks — providers in Robotiq’s partner network, for example, may deploy The Palletizing Solution with additional support from Robotiq as needed.
Compare the solutions to your metrics — Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential vendors, compare the proposed solutions to your chosen performance metrics. At this stage, it’s more of a “sanity check” to make sure you haven’t forgotten a basic requirement during your search.
Make an informed decision – Finally, decide which robotic palletizing solution you will use. Since you likely interacted with vendors during your search, you should start with a warm relationship.
You can sometimes speed up this process if you’ve found a palletizing solution that works that you like the look of. Many people who have used the Robotiq Palletizing Solution before have seen it work in other facilities or at one of our trade fair booths.
11 key considerations when choosing a palletizing solution
When comparing different solutions, there are some key considerations that can be helpful to take into account.
Here are 11 considerations:
1. Types of palletizing solutions
First, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the different types of palletizing solutions available.
Types of palletization include fully manual, semi-automatic, robotic, and fully conventional automation. Each has its own benefits and is suitable for different purposes.
2. Cost of the complete solution
The cost of a palletizing solution top of many people’s minds when they compare options.
While cost is certainly important, it is more important to balance the return on investment with the value of the solution. Note that some solutions, particularly conventional automation, may have additional costs that are not immediately apparent.
3. Throughput capabilities
For many companies, increasing throughput in their palletizing task is a top priority. By increasing the throughput of your end-of-line process, you can often increase the output of your entire operation.
There are also features of some solutions that help to further increase throughput. For example, using the robotiq multipick feature can increase throughput by 75%.
4. Scalability for growth
Look for palletizing solutions that are easily scalable, as they will directly impact your palletizing process your ability to distribute products efficiently.
Manual palletizing and inflexible automation solutions can often hinder a company’s growth. It is more difficult to scale than more flexible palletizing solutions, especially when there are labor shortages.
5. Quality of palletizing
While people tend to focus more on the throughput gains of palletizing automation, robots can also significantly improve the quality and consistency of palletizing. This leads to fewer breakages and happier customers.
Find solutions that can consistently meet the quality requirements of your palletizing work.
6. Ease of integration
For many companies, the addition of Robotiq Palletizing Solution is their first step into robotic automation. This is why it is so important that the solution is easy to integrate.
Consider how easy it would be for you or one of your team members to edit the robot program. When you choose an easy-to-integrate solution, it puts you in control of your own palletizing process.
7. Configuration options
Different palletizing solutions can offer different configuration options, including adding sensors and additional equipment.
Better configuration options make it easier to fit the solution to your specific needs. The PowerPick Gripperfor example, provides 46 configuration options.
8. Safety features
Safety should always be a priority when looking at palletizing. This applies both to automated solutions — which must have appropriate safety features — and manual palletizing, which can cause safety issues due to ergonomics.
Collaborative robots are generally inherently safer than other types of automation. However, even they require safety fencing for palletizing due to the nature of the work.
9. Information and training
One factor that people often forget to consider is the amount of information and training available to support your palletizing solution. With the right training, even members of your team with no previous robotics experience can handle the operation of the robot.
For example, the Robotiq eLearning platform is full of useful courses to help you get up and running in robotics quickly.
10. Customer support
One thing that Robotiq Palletizing Solution users often comment on is the high level of support that comes when using our products.
Good customer support is essential for troubleshooting any problems that may arise and ensuring that your palletizing deployment runs smoothly.
11. Time from order to deployment
Finally, a key consideration is how quickly you will be able to deploy your palletizing solution when you decide to use robotics.
For many customers, the Robotiq Palletizing Solution can be up and running within a few weeks from the time of order. For more customized versions, it may take several months.
Get started with robotic palletizing today
Switching to robotic palletizing doesn’t have to be a scary process. When you know what you’re looking for in a palletizing solution, you can get started quickly, easily, and with confidence that your chosen solution will work for you.
If you want to get started quickly, contact us about Robotiq Palletizing Solution and let us help you make your automation project a success.
What additional considerations do you have when looking for solutions? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion at LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebookor the DoF professional robotics community.