With the rise of the coronavirus crisis, robotic palletizing is more attractive than ever before. People working together in close proximity have proven to be a large vector for increased cases and transmission rates. Robotic palletizers can help provide a gap between the end of the line and the pallet unit load.
Robots have become standard additions to end-of-line automation, greatly reducing the number of workers required to palletize products. This could be as low as a single operator periodically delivering pallets to the robotic palletizing cell either to the machine directly or to a pallet magazine, allowing for continuous operation. As long as product is presented to the robot, it will continue to work.
Given the day to day unknowns if part or all of a workforce will be able to report to work, the reliability of robotic palletizers helps maintain overall efficiency by eliminating the people in a hand palletizing area. The risk of sick workers can have very real impact on yield and disruption in the workflow, creating a lack of efficiency.
"The palletizer market in North America is showing all the indications of having a bright future ahead of it. We expect the market to grow strongly through 2023." from an article by Interact Analysis
These three challenges can be helped specifically at the end of the manufacturing line through robotic palletizing. Robots eliminate the need to have hands-on workers palletizing. With the ever-widening gap for labor at manufacturing plants, robotic palletizing is an easy way to increase line efficiency, allowing workers to be re-tasked in other areas. Robots actually create new jobs for controls engineers that have higher technical demands, and these jobs may be more appealing to the younger generations.