Depalletizers are materials handling machines used to unload materials from pallets upon their arrival at a manufacturing facility. A pallet is a flat, square-shaped surface that can hold multiple products safely at a time. They feature hollows that allow access by a forlklift so a pallet can be efficiently moved to a truck or other transportation vehicle and safely shipped to its new destination. Pallets can be found frequently in storage and shipping applications and are the most widely used materials handling platform. Materials that depalletizers commonly handle are cases, cans, pails, bags, sacks, and drums.
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How Depalletizers Work
A depalletizer carries out its function in three steps. First, the pallet’s plastic coating is removed, either by a human worker or by a machine. Next, the pallet is placed on top of a conveyor, and the palletizer removes the products from the pallet one at a time. Depending on the type of machine, the items may be removed via suction, magnets, or a mechanical arm. Once the pallet is emptied, it is moved out of the way by a conveyor belt to make way for the next pallet. The removed items are sent to the next production stage.
Depalletizer Design and Customization
The variety of configurations in which depalletizers can be found can be overwhelming. Numerous factors, such as space use, lifting capacity, and speed, are taken into account so that the depalletizer fits the desired application perfectly. Regardless of the intended application, depalletizers have several features in common. They feature a feed area that receives the products that are intended to be moved. The feed area can be at varying levels. Low-level depalletizers feature ground-level feeders and can also have features such as a floor-level control center and item discharge area. These features enable a high level of visibility and makes it much easier for the machine’s operator to control operating data and the machine as a whole. Low level depalletizers are highly recommended for the food and beverage industry. The feed area of high-level depalletizers are found overhead. High-level depalletizers typically take up less space, cost less, and can unload products at a rapid rate.
Most types of bag palletizers can be classified as depalletizers because they can also be used for removing large quantities of bags from a pallet at a time. Bag palletizers are recommended for applications like these due to their ability to handle heavy bags and evenly distribute their weight during transportation. Depalletizers can be distinguished depending on the method that they use to pick up and move items.
Depalletizers generally fall into three categories:
- Bulk Depalletizers
- Used to remove bulk products.
- Magnetic Depalletizers
- Removes items from pallets using a magnet.
- Case Depalletizers
- Utilized to remove cases from pallets and is the most widely used type of depalletizer.
Benefits of Using Robotic Depalletizers
There are some varieties of depalletizers that are robotic and do not feature a feed area at all. Instead, they feature a robotic arm that picks up and moves the product. These depalletizers can also be known as automatic depalletizers. The use of robotic depalletizers can drastically reduce both product damage and worker injuries. These machines do not have to be heavily supervised and they require, at most, a small supervisory or maintenance team. Because these machines can work independently, they can lower a company’s labor costs. They are much more consistent, have much more endurance, and are less prone to mishandling and other errors than human workers, which can reduce the risk of product loss. Finally, they can move products much more quickly, thus drastically increasing the rate of output.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Depalletizers
Palletizing equipment maximizes productivity and streamlines the overall materials handling process. Furthermore, palletizing equipment is capable of bending, lifting, wrenching, and twisting heavy objects for extended periods of time, and subsequently eliminates the risk of potential worker injuries that could happen while the process is being carried out. In addition to their inability to become injured or fatigued, palletizing machinery needs little supervision to carry out their functions efficiently.
In selecting the right palletizer for your desired application, there are certain things to consider. Since different types of depalletizers are designed to handle specific types of products, it is important to be familiar with the types of products that the depalletizer must handle. It is also important to be aware that the initial cost of a depalletizer can be expensive. However, depalletizers are built to last, increase productivity dramatically, and make the work environment much safer for employees. Although the initial investment is high, depalletizers have proven to be highly beneficial in the long run.