Cobot palletizer: 3 best robot arms to palletize any product

January 16, 2024
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What is a Cobot palletizer, exactly? 

Robot arm palletizing isn't just about replacing human hands with metal ones, but it’s a good starting off point. 

Before automation, palletizing was 100% manual, often requiring human operators to bend, lift, and repeat for hours on end. 

Yes, that was as slow and tiring as you can imagine, and it also carried a high risk of injury from repetitive strain and heavy lifting. Only the most able-bodied employees were able to avoid overstressing their bodies. 

Of course, that changed with the advent of forklifts and other tools. But, it was still day-in-day-out drudgery, mostly.

That’s where the Cobot palletizer comes in, to take away the back-breaking work out of palletizing. 

These nimble, Collaborative robots work alongside humans, picking up boxes precisely and with agility, stacking them in picture-perfect configurations, and ensuring everything lands where it needs to be.

Here are the main reasons why a Cobot palletizer is such a great idea: 

  • They work FAST and never stop. No coffee breaks or bathroom trips. That means faster palletizing and more time for mission-critical tasks.
  • They don’t drop the ball. Their movements are programmed down to the millimeter, which reduces mistakes and virtually ensures stable, space-efficient stacks. Yup, no more wobbly towers of boxes!
  • They’re safe and reliable. They take the heavy lifting off human shoulders, reducing the risk of injury, and creating an all-around safer environment for all involved. 
  • They play well with others. “Collaborative” is not just a marketing term. A Cobot palletizer will share the workload and make palletizing a breeze.

One caveat, though: Cobot palletizers aren’t 100% foolproof. In other words, they’ll collaborate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s totally safe to interact with them — especially while they’re in motion.

Always take the appropriate safety measures around Collaborative robots. They make things run smoother, but toys they are not.

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Choosing the right Cobot palletizer: Key considerations

Picking the perfect Cobot palletizer for your setup isn’t like going to the store and saying “I want that one!”.

To make the most out of your Cobot palletizer, here are the main factors to weigh:

  • Different price points: Not all Cobots are made equal. High-end Cobots have sleek moves and all-around performance, but budget-friendly options can be amazing, especially in smaller spaces. There’s a huge variability, starting at $2,000, with industrial models easily exceeding $100,000. Some have by-the-hour services from $5 to $30+/hr.
  • The gripper. The end-effector is the Cobot's handshake. Suction cups for slick surfaces, magnetic marvels for metals, or advanced grippers for diverse tasks. Some common end-effectors are vacuum grippers, fork Grippers, pallet clamp attachments, gripper Pads, and even customized end-effectors.
  • Weight limits: Choose a Cobot with a payload capacity that comfortably handles your heaviest boxes. Remember, the gripper adds its own weight to the total, so take that into account!
  • Reach, and flexibility. As a rule of thumb, choose a multi-axis Cobot that can access every corner of the palletizing stage, reaching high shelves and maneuvering around tight spaces. Flexibility is what keeps things flowing.

Our top 3 Cobot palletizer picks: 

The Cobot palletizer market can be daunting to understand. 

But, after careful consideration -and some heated debates - here are our top 3 contenders to bring your shop floor into the 21st century:

RO1 by Standard Bots

Budget-conscious and efficient, the RO1 packs a punch despite its lightweight price tag. Starting at just $5/hour, it's the most affordable option, but don't count it out just because it won’t break the bank.

RO1 boasts the highest payload in its category, effortlessly stacking up to 18 kg with lightning speed and laser-sharp accuracy. 

And if you think that it’s going to be a mess programming it, say hi to its no-code framework! Your operators can easily teach RO1 new tricks, making it perfect for dynamic palletizing workflows

Plus, its seamless integration makes it a breeze to set up and start stacking.

UR10e by Universal Robots

Universal Robots need no introduction. And UR10e isn't just about muscle, it's about maximizing your palletizing potential. 

The UR10e brings a sweet spot of reach and payload to the table, making it a versatile cobot palletizer for mid-duty palletizing tasks. 

But its true value-add lies in the patented technology that safeguards delicate products. No need for fancy force sensors here - the UR10e instinctively adjusts its grip, guaranteeing even the most precious packages arrive safe and sound. 

FANUC PalletizCRX 

The FANUC PalletizCRX is absolutely worthy of the palletizing limelight. 

Lightweight and surprisingly easy to program, this sturdy Cobot helps foster a safe environment with its ultra-sensitive sensors that trigger instant safety stops if a human extremity gets too close. 

Plus, connecting it is a breeze thanks to its relay-friendly setup. And the best part? This Cobot learns from you. Its built-in teaching function lets you create custom palletizing patterns in a flash, making it ready to rock and roll right out of the box.

Safety and collaboration: the “Co” in “Cobot palletizer”

There’s no two ways about it: efficiency and safety must go hand-in-hand. While Cobots open up exciting new possibilities, it’s important to understand just what they can and cannot do before you implement them.

Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Cobots work alongside human operators, eliminating the need for bulky barriers. This doesn’t make them infallible, though.
  • Built-in sensors constantly scan for nearby workers. If someone gets too close, the Cobot slows down or stops entirely. 
  • Lower force and speed minimize injury risk even in accidental contact. Think "cautious movements" instead of brute force.
  • Cobots handle heavy lifting so that humans don’t.
  • Following proper training for operators to understand Cobot functions, limitations, and safety protocols is still essential.

Summing up

While Cobot palletizers offer promising automation potential, choosing the right one is crucial for optimal performance

It’s not just about buying the cheapest or most expensive option and calling it a day, but about having a keen understanding of your operational needs and the best fit for the job. While the initial investment may be steep, the ROI is worth it (typically 1-3 years).

In the end, a Cobot palletize offers flexibility, accessibility, repeatability, and now affordability - a true game-changer allowing businesses to compete toe-to-toe with the big boys. 


Next steps

Interested in investing in a Palletizing robot to skyrocket productivity? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for small-scale startups and established industrial giants

  • Cost-effective: RO1 is the leading robotic arm in its class, delivering even more value at half the price of the competition. 
  • Fast & strong: RO1 beats out the competition in speed and accuracy despite having the highest payload capacity in its class at 18 kg.
  • Safe: RO1 has built-in safety sensors and collision detection for safe, reliable operation on your shop floor.

Talk to our solutions team now to set up a free, 30-day onsite trial and receive specialized advice on everything you need to deploy RO1.

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