The best robot Palletizing systems in 2024

February 20, 2024
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In this article, we cover what Cobot machine tending is, the difference between Cobots and traditional Industrial robots and our roundup of the best 3 Cobots for machine tending.

What are robot Palletizing systems?

Robot Palletizing systems use robotic arms to automatically stack and organize products onto pallets for shipping and storage. 

These robo-systems pick up individual items, cases, or bundles and place them onto pallets in a pre-programmed pattern. 

Robot Palletizers can handle payloads from a few pounds up to thousands of pounds. They’re high speed, high accuracy, and high consistency for stacking all types of items.

How do robot Palletizing systems work?

So, how do robot Palletizing systems work their magic? 

Let’s find out: 

  • Robot Palletizing systems in action: These systems use robotic arms to precisely pick up items from conveyors or shelves and stack them onto pallets. Think of it as a high-tech game of Tetris where every piece fits perfectly.
  • Custom grip for every shape: The robot arm sports end-of-arm tooling, such as grippers or vacuum suckers, tailored to the product's size and shape, guaranteeing a secure lift every time.
  • Smart and seeing everything: With vision systems and sensors, the robot gets the lowdown on each item's size and position, allowing it to plot the perfect path for precision stacking.
  • Safety isn't an afterthought: Integrated safety measures like light curtains and emergency stops keep the workspace accident-free, ensuring the robot's high-speed productivity doesn't come with risks.
  • Maximizing productivity: These robots don't just stack; they do it at lightning speed, with a huge showcase of efficiency and safety, thanks to their advanced programming and safeguards.

Which components make up a robot Palletizing system?

Even though we may think of a robot Palletizing system as just the part that picks up and drops things, many small parts work their magic together. 

They are: 

  • Robot arm: This is the main player, doing the heavy lifting and precise stacking, acting as the muscle of the operation.
  • Controller: Acts as the system's brain, orchestrating the robot arm's every move for smooth operation.
  • Sensors: These are the eyes of the operation, scanning incoming products to inform the robot how and where to grab.
  • End-of-arm tooling: Equipped with grippers or suction cups, these tools enable the robot to grab and lift products securely.
  • Pallet dispenser: Automatically feeds empty pallets into the system, making sure the robot always has something to load.
  • Conveyor belt: Moves completed pallets out of the way, making room for the next batch of goods to be palletized.
  • Safety equipment: Including light curtains, emergency stop buttons, and fencing, these features protect human workers from the ouch-inducing automated parts.
  • System layout: Often organized in a cell with the robot at the center, surrounded by components that assist in loading, unloading, and material movement.
  • Customization and scalability: Modular systems allow for tailored solutions based on specific needs, with options to add pallet conveyors, stretch wrappers, and automated vehicles for enhanced automation.

How much does a robot Palletizing system cost?

The cost of a robot Palletizing system can vary a huge deal depending on the components and complexity. 

You’ll need to budget for the Palletizing robot arm, end-of-arm tooling like grippers, safety equipment, integration services, and any additional conveyors or pallet dispensers.

Here’s a detailed breakdown: 

  • Palletizing robots pricing: Small-payload arms tend to range from $30,000 to $100,000. For medium payloads (50-200 kg), expect $75,000 to $250,000, and high-payload arms (200 kg+) start at $200,000. Of course, prices vary based on brand, model, and specs like reach and speed.
  • End-of-arm tooling and accessories: Adding end-effectors like grippers or vacuum pumps can cost an extra $5,000 to $50,000. Additional components like conveyors and safety gear might tack on $25,000 to $100,000.
  • Integration and support services: Setting up and programming the robot, especially for complex systems, can run $25,000 to $100,000. Some annual support and maintenance contracts can cost 10-15% of the total system price.
  • Overall investment: A straightforward single-robot setup could start at $100,000. A more advanced setup with multiple robots and various accessories might go over $500,000. 

Note: Robot Palletizing systems often recoup their cost within 1-3 years due to increased efficiency and productivity.

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Are robot Palletizing systems worth it?

Robot Palletizing systems are a big upfront cost, but they can save you money and boost efficiency in the long run. 

Once installed, these systems require minimal maintenance and no wages or benefits. Meaning, they can work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without breaks.

Robot Palletizers also improve safety by eliminating risks like back strains (ow!), crushed fingers, and accidents from forklifts. Their precise and repetitive movements practically guarantee stable, neatly stacked pallets every time. 

This reduces product damage and the risk of pallets toppling over.

Also, production speeds and throughput will increase significantly with a robot on the job. A single robot can typically palletize up to 6,000 cases per hour, far outpacing human workers. 

Plus, their consistently high speeds and ability to work continuously allow manufacturers to boost output without adding extra shifts.

The best robot Palletizing systems in 2024

Already, robot Palletizing systems are showing how they’re faster, smarter, and more affordable than ever before. 

And these systems are the creme de la creme, the best-of-the-best robot Palletizing systems on the market right now: 

  • RO1 by Standard Bots: Easy setup, no coding needed; ditches complex programming for a user-friendly, no-code interface. Quick to deploy and reconfigure, RO1 has an 18 kg payload, lightning-fast joints, and pinpoint accuracy. 

It’s versatile, integrates seamlessly with various tools, and is priced more attractively than rivals (50% less!). Plus, its cutting-edge AI and safety features make it a team-friendly option for any Palletizing task.

  • FANUC M-410iC/185: A heavyweight in Palletizing, with a robust 185 kg payload and wide 3-meter reach, this FANUC model is a top choice for handling large case sizes. It's backed by intuitive programming software and FANUC's reliable vision systems, although its higher cost reflects its advanced capabilities.
  • Yamaha YK400XG SCARA: This budget-friendly SCARA model is a boon for SMEs, offering precise handling of lighter loads with its 4 kg payload and 600mm reach. Easy to program and ideal for rapid, small-scale palletizing operations, it delivers high performance without the hefty investment, making it a smart pick for businesses taking their first step into automation.

Want to learn more? Head to our top 3 case Palletizing robots article to go in-depth! 


How difficult are robot Palletizing systems to program?

Programming a robot Palletizing system has become much easier in recent years with intuitive software interfaces and simulation tools. Most manufacturers offer drag-and-drop programming that allows you to simply demonstrate the desired Palletizing motion. Their software will then automatically generate the proper code to execute that motion. ]

Some even offer pre-programmed Palletizing routines that you can easily customize for your needs. These Offline programming tools let you program and test the system without interrupting your production line. 

Can robot Palletizing systems handle mixed product Palletizing?

Absolutely. Robot Palletizing systems can handle mixed product Palletizing with ease. Their flexible programming allows them to pick and place products of various shapes, sizes, and weights. Vision guidance or conveyor tracking is often used to identify and orient the products properly. 

The robot can then build stable, intermixed pallets. Some systems can even apply custom Palletizing patterns for the most efficient, stable pallet build possible for your unique product mix. Mixed Palletizing is a perfect application for robot Palletizers.

How much floor space do I need for a robot Palletizing system?

Robot Palletizing systems are designed to minimize floor space requirements. A typical system needs only about 10 to 30 square feet of floor space for the robot, controller, conveyors, and safety guarding. 

The exact space depends on the payload and reach required for your Palletizing needs. Compared to traditional Palletizing methods, robot Palletizing systems offer a very compact, space-efficient solution. They can easily fit into existing production lines and facilities. 

Summing up

By now, you should have a strong understanding of robot Palletizing systems - how they work, what they're made of, and whether investing in one is worth it for your business. 

But, as we hope to have made abundantly clear, not all robot Palletizing systems are made equal. We’ve helped shorten your search to the best three, but you’ll have to determine your purchase by assessing: 

  • Your budget
  • Your current production needs
  • Your future production needs (or, where you’d like to scale) 
  • And, finally, whether the models on this list can get you there

That’s why we’ve taken the liberty of choosing a robot in each price bracket: low-budget, cost-effective, and high-price.

The rest, as they say, is up to you.

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