End-of-line: Why you should automate packaging and palletizing
The automotive industry and its suppliers are considered to be pioneers when it comes to end-of-line packaging automation because the use of automated processes is far advanced here. But automation also benefits other industries. Highly automated solutions ensure greater effectiveness and profitability in all manufacturing companies. This is why companies from the plastics, food and packaging industries are increasingly relying on innovations to improve their competitive position. Compared to the automotive industry, however, there is still some catching up to do in these three sectors – especially at one point in the process.
Endless improvement: end-of-line use of cobots
Robots not only support the manufacturing industry in the manufacture of goods. They also provide valuable services at the end of the production line: when palletizing or packaging products. Packaging is a manufacturer’s calling card, after all, the recipient of a product comes into contact with the product’s packaging before the first contact with it. In addition to an ROI of less than 12 months, it is worth investing in optimizing this production step for numerous reasons:
- Employees who pack and palletize manually have to perform repetitive, monotonous tasks with the same accuracy and move heavy loads. In the long run, this can not only be boring, it can even be harmful to your health.
- Manual palletizing drives up the cost of product packaging and ties up valuable labor that could be used more profitably elsewhere in the company. The use of robots for packaging and palletizing reduces these costs by up to 40%.
- There is less and less time available for palletizing goods as the market is forcing ever-shorter delivery times.
- Products must be packaged carefully and in accordance with applicable standards so that they can survive transport as undamaged.
The Swedish company Atria uses cobots to prepare 228 products per hour for delivery:
Why you should automate end-of-line processes
More and more companies are trying to optimize packaging and palletizing processes by automating the necessary processes and delegating certain activities to machines. Automation offers some potential for increasing efficiency:
Robots always pack correctly and reliably, around the clock. This guarantees continuous productivity.
Relief for employees
When collaborative packaging robots provide support, employees are relieved of physically demanding and repetitive tasks. In the future, they will be able to take on more complex robot-related tasks: they will go from palletizers to machine operators.
The use of robots can drastically reduce packaging costs: In a study from 2016, the management consultancy Roland Berger calculates that the use of robots in the area of goods handling can reduce costs by up to 40 percent.
Packaging robots make a contribution to environmental protection, as less cardboard waste is generated overall in robot-assisted production.
Our expert Mathias Ratzenböck shows the simple assembly, installation, and commissioning of a cobot in the following unboxing video:
High level of user-friendliness at a reasonable cost
Collaborative robots can be programmed and operated intuitively even without IT knowledge. You only need a small footprint and work with an unrestricted 360 ° working area with high repeat accuracy. The acquisition costs are usually amortized within less than 12 months. Even a CFO has no objection to this: