When it comes to robotic palletizers, there are generalists and there are specialists. Generalist machines work through 5 or 6 axes and are able to perform industrial tasks such as welding, bolting, or riveting.
In material handling, we find that our clients need their palletizers to be really great at just one thing – palletizing. And that’s why we’ve found such a strong strategic partner in FUJI Robotics. They are a world leader in the industry, and their palletizers are designed specifically to palletize, with a focus on simplicity, low maintenance, and ease of use.
Putting John Henry to rest
While products have been palletized since as early as the 1920’s – when pallets began their evolution from their nearest ancestor, the skid – the evolution of today’s robotic palletizers started in the early 1980’s when they were first developed by FUJI Robotics.
Their benefits were immediately obvious. Beyond manually palletizing being inefficient, frustrating work that lowers employee morale, it’s also:
- Physically difficult: Palletizing even light loads manually becomes challenging over the course of a work day.
- Relatively costly: A robotic palletizer that costs $250,000 might pay for itself in as little as 18 months.
- Fundamentally risky: The concerns with manual palletizing include repetitive motion, bending and twisting, and lifting potentially heavy loads.
Our culture once lionized John Henry for his willingness to die in a race against a steam-powered jackhammer. That attitude is changing, however. Society has grown to accept robotics and automation to the point that employees often expect the comforts and ease that automation enables. We recently saw the industry more proactively than ever embrace automation at the ProMat Show this past spring.
And as employers, we want better for our employees than the fate of John Henry. It’s both morally right and makes good business sense to enable our employees. People are happiest at work when they feel valued and accomplished. For most employees today, a career as a palletizer is not feasible.
One solution, many environments
At PeakLogix, we consider ourselves vendor agnostic – we look for the best solution for our clients regardless of who manufactures it. That being said, when a manufacturer develops a versatile solution that works in many environments, we will recommend their equipment every time it best helps our clients.
FUJI Robotics is one such example. Headquartered in Onada, Yamaguchi, Japan, they have been improving end-of-line processes in manufacturing and material handling since 1944 and are still a globally recognized leader in the industry.
FUJI’s robotic palletizers can run on as little as 3.5KVA, lift as much as 353 lb., and run at as many as 1600 cycles/hour. They are easily programmed with up to 400 recipes and can be equipped with end effectors capable of handling boxes, cases, and bags, as well as the ability to create a vacuum seal to manipulate products. And, if none of those meet your needs, a custom-designed end effector is also an option.
A strategic partner
PeakLogix has built its business around the ability to provide customized solutions for individual needs. We’ve been able to do this first by having tenured staff with the right experience in the right fields. But another important aspect of bringing customized solutions to our clients is not anchoring ourselves to any one supplier. Building strategic partnerships with our vendors and knowing what specific needs those vendors are best able to fill, has proven to be a winning strategy for our clients.
Again and again, when we’ve been asked to help integrate palletizers into a facility, after doing all of our homework and explorations and discoveries, we find that the best solution is one that has been designed specifically for that need. FUJI Robotics’ pedestal-style palletizers are versatile enough to be put in nearly any environment. At the same time, the focus of their design has allowed them to keep their costs reasonable, and their quality high.