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January 8, 2020

Innovative Palletizing: Less Space, more flexibility.

Not just another Palletizer

The customer wanted to do more in less space when it sought to replace outdated palletizing equipment at the end of its packaging line. K2 Kinetics came back with a state-of-the-art robotics system that takes up 30% less space but offers far more flexibility than the system it replaces.

K2’s innovative approach combines a FANUC palletizing robot, custom-integrated controls from Rockwell Automation, and motor-driven roller technology. It also includes robotic trolley cars that are automatically dispatched to carry away full pallets or deliver empty ones. The initial system was designed, tested and installed over a nearly two-year period. But future versions – each one designed and engineered to meet customer goals – could come together in as short as six months. As a centralized solution, the system gathers in-feed from multiple packaging lines. The lines converge at an automated reader that scans incoming cartons for size, bar codes, and loose flaps. The information flows to the robotic palletizer, which uses it to determine which cartons are placed on which pallets. Boxes with loose flaps or no bar codes are shunted off the line, though the criteria could vary depending on the end-user.

“Our ability to fine-tune this solution is one of the factors that sets it apart,” Kevin Keller, Managing Director

Once a pallet is full, the robotic arm calls an automated trolley car to haul it away and deliver a fresh pallet, eliminating the need for forklifts moving in and out of the packaging area. Each robot can fill three pallets at once. The system is controlled by three PLCs that K2’s engineers tied together into a seamless package. “The underlying integration involved complex coordination, said Scott Schoen, the director of engineering for K2 Kinetics, but is topped by a user-friendly interface that allows customers to easily program the system for potentially hundreds of SKUs.”

“It is extremely intuitive, even for the casual user,” Scott Schoen, Director of Engineering

The payoff comes from savings in labor. The system automates work that in many cases is done manually, such as delivering and removing pallets. The system also conserves energy – and reduces wear and tear – thanks to the motor-driven rollers. They are on only when needed.

One of the biggest savings is in the space required to house the system. Plant expansions can be costly and time-consuming, so food and beverage companies are under pressure to use space efficiently. The system designed by K2 Kinetics can handle more work in less space. And thanks to the company’s collaborative approach to design, installation, and technical support, each system is based on a clear understanding of the customer’s unique goals. That is why K2 Kinetics invites you to talk with one of our experts by emailing us at hello@k2kinetics.com or giving us a call at 1-800-995-2832

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