Keep your palletizing equipment and operation running smoothly in your plant by following these six tips.
1. Inspect the pallets.
The quality of the pallets loaded into the magazine of your palletizing equipment can be the difference between a long-sustained production run and a run filled with short stops, operator intervention, and maintenance calls. Even in an increasingly competitive industry, poor quality pallets are often introduced into the manufacturing process. Purchasing may deem this strategy as a means to reduce costs, but the only thing it does is pass the costs along to manufacturing, where they can increase exponentially.
2. Keep upstream equipment operating cleanly.
Most especially, hot melt equipment must be kept clean and running smoothly, so look into hot melt stabilization. Also, if your case packers are not making good square or rectangular boxes, you cannot expect your palletizing equipment or robot to stack a square pallet using something that resembles a rhombus.
3. Look at your stack pattern.
If you are having trouble with cases falling off the stack, you may be able to change your stack pattern in order to correct this. If you put some thought into the stack pattern your palletizing equipment is making, you can also gain cycle speed.
4. Test your corrugated board.
When running vacuum assisted palletizing equipment for corrugated shippers, you can have your corrugated supplier perform Gurley testing on their board. Gurley testing measures porosity in seconds; for instance, how many seconds it takes 100 cubic centimeters of air to pass through one square inch of material. You can use the weight of your product to determine your required porosity. If your paper is too porous, your vacuum may not be able to pick up your product.
5. Follow your palletizing equipment manufacturers’ lubrication recommendations.
On all ball screws, linear bearings, and modules, be sure to follow recommendations. If you don’t, expect grinding downtime.
6. Consider plastic pallets.
Though initially more expensive, plastic pallets give you more control over the condition of your pallets. They are lighter weight, you can fork them from all four sides, and you can sterilize them. Also consider investing in internal wash down machines. But with plastic pallets, the biggest challenge is setting up a return loop with your trading partners.
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