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Robotic Pallet Cell Configurations


Robotic palletizing/depalletizing applications are on the rise as manufacturers look to increase productivity and reduce labor by automating portions or even entire packaging lines. In the simplest configuration, a robotic pallet cell consists of one line in/one line out, one robot, loading or unloading one pallet at a time. But depending on the application, pallet cells can be configured a number of ways, incorporating multiple lines and loading or unloading multiple pallets using one robot. This application note describes the various ways one can configure ESS Technologies, Inc. robotic pallet cell equipment to meet any packaging configuration.

System Description

ESS Technologies, Inc. Mini Cell Palletizer series incorporates a FANUC robot to create single pallet, dual pallet, and multiple pallet configurations. The robot lifts the packed and sealed case from the infeed conveyor(s) which may be inline or at 90. Case grips, either suction cups or mechanical grips, are specially designed for each application. The case is then placed on the pallet in the specified arrangement. Full pallets may be removed automatically using pallet discharge conveyors, manually or by using self-guided vehicles. Empty pallets can be set in place manually or the system can be automated by incorporating a pallet magazine and pallet dispenser.

The diagrams below illustrate several configurations of robotic palletizing systems. Any configuration can be custom-engineered by ESS’s design team to meet any palletizing applications. Depending on the payload and reach requirements of the system, a number of FANUC robots may be specified with the robotic pallet cell. The most common pallet cell configurations include:
  • 1 In / 1 Out: The most basic robotic pallet cell configuration uses one robot to move cases of product from one conveyor infeed to one pallet. The empty pallet may be placed using an optional pallet dispenser. Full pallets are moved out using either a forklift or a self guided vehicle.
  • 1 In / 2 Out: One in x 2 out robotic pallet cells provide room for an additional pallet. The robot loads the first pallet completely and then begins loading the second pallet while the full pallet is removed and replaced with an empty pallet. This configuration eliminates the need for expensive accumulating equipment without stopping the production line.
  • Multiple Lines In / Multiple Pallets Out: Robotic pallet cells configured with two or more infeeds are ideal for packaging lines that handle multiple products. The system can load pallets containing one product per pallet, or multiple products can be palletized together. Optional deck sheet and tier sheet dispensers and pallet stretch wrappers can be integrated into the line to create a fully automated palletizing system.
Speed 25-30 Cases Per Minute (varies by robot)
EOAT Vacuum or Mechanical Gripper
Changeover Time 15-20 Minutes Typical
Pallet Size Accepts all standard pallet sizes.
  • Controller and PanelView Operator Interface
  • PalletTool Turbo Software
  • 4' to 6' Long Infeed Conveyors
  • Guarding
  • Custom End-of-arm-tooling (EOAT)
  • Options
  • Pallet Discharge Conveyor
  • Pallet Infeed Conveyor
  • Pallet Magazine
  • Pallet Dispenser
  • Tier/Deck Sheet Placement
  • Case Printing/Case Labeling
  • Bar Code Readers
  • Reject Conveyor
  • Pallet Stretch Wrapper
  • PalletTool Software for Mixed Loads or Depalletizing
  • Vision-guidance System

  • 1 In / 1 Out Pallet Cell 1 In / 1 Out Pallet Cell 1 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell
    1 In / 1 Out Pallet Cell with In-line Infeed Conveyor 1 In / 1 Out Pallet Cell with 90-degree Infeed Conveyor   1 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell with In-line Infeed Conveyor
    1 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell 2 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell with In-line Infeed Conveyors 2 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell
    1 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell with 90-degree Infeed Conveyor 2 In / 2 Out Pallet Cell with In-line Infeed Conveyors 2 In 2 Out Pallet Cell with 90-degree Infeed Conveyors
    3 In / 3 Out Pallet Cell Multi In / Multi Out Pallet Cell  
    3 In / 3 Out Pallet Cell Multiple Lines In /  Multiple Pallets Out
    Robot Model Robot Description Robot Features
    • Six (6) axes
    • Payload up to 77lbs. (35kg)
    • Reach up to 71" (1813mm)
    The CR-35iA Collaborative robot is designed to  operate in close proximity to humans in a shared workspace without the need for safety fences.
  • Stops safely when it comes in contact with a human operator
  • Padded robot cover reduces impact damage and pinch points
  • M-20iA
    • Six (6) Axes
    • Payload up to 44 lbs. (20kg)
    • Reach up to 79" (2009mm)
    The Model M-20iA is designed with a hollow arm and wrist to permit utilities to be neatly contained within the robot arm. To complement the built-in vision, the M-20iA has an integrated vision cable from the J1 base to the J3 interface panel, greatly simplifying the addition of vision to the application.
  • Up to 40 Axes (robot+auxiliary) on One Controller
  • Extended Communications Capabilities: FTP, DeviceNet, A/B RIO, Profibus, Genius, CC-link, etc.
  • Linear or Circular Conveyor Tracking
  • 14m or 21m Connection Cables
  • iRVision System Delivers High Performance 2-D and 3-D Machine Vision Capabilities
  • M-420iA
    • Four (4) Axes
    • Payload 88 lbs. (40kg)
    • Reach 73" (1855mm)
    The Model M-420iA is optimized for high speed and high performance. The electric servo-driven robot offers the highest speed and payload performance for any robot in its class.
  • Flexible Cable Placement
  • Line Tracking and Visual Line Tracking
  • iPendant is available with touchscreen support
  • M-710iC
    • Six (6) Axes
    • Payload Up to 154 lbs. (70kg)
    • Reach 80" (2050mm)
    The Model M-710iC offers high performance for medium to high payloads. The robot offers one of the largest work envelopes in its class with one of the smallest footprints.
  • Flexible Cable Placement
  • Auxilliary axes packages for integration of peripheral servo-controlled devices
  • Monochrome Pendant available
  • R-2000iA
    • Six (6) Axes
    • Payload 275 lbs. (125kg)
    • Reach 118" (3001mm)
    The Model R-2000iA six-axis robot offers unrestricted wrist rotations, providing complete utilization of the work space. The robot offers a high payload capacity, and fail-safe brakes on all axes increase safety, functionality and control.
  • iPendant with Touch Screen
  • Electrically Insulated Faceplate
  • Precision Baseplate for Quick Robot Exchanges
  • Extra Length Connection Cables
  • Remote Operator Panel
  • Vision-guidance System
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