5 Reasons Robotic Mixed Case Palletizing Increases Traceability

9/6/2023

Introduction

In today’s fast-paced industrial landscape, automation has revolutionized various aspects of manufacturing and logistics. One area that has greatly benefited from automation is palletizing, the process of arranging and stacking products onto pallets for storage, transportation, and distribution. Among the cutting-edge technologies in this domain, robotic mixed case palletizing, utilizing advanced pick and place robots, has emerged as a game-changer. In this blog post, we will explore how robotic mixed case palletizing not only streamlines operations but also significantly enhances traceability, making it a valuable asset for businesses.

Traceability is a critical aspect of modern supply chain management. It involves tracking and documenting the movement of products from their origin to the end consumer. If this is done well, many incidents can be prevented including lost or damaged shipments, delayed or incorrect deliveries and theft. At Viroteq, we have developed an innovative solution called the RobotStackr, designed specifically to automate the stacking and packing processes in logistics. By adopting this cutting-edge technology, logistic handlers can enjoy the benefits of full parcel traceability.

robotic mixed case palletizing

1. No Lost Shipments

By equipping automated warehouses with robotic mixed case palletizers, packages are meticulously tracked throughout the entire supply chain, and the chances of them getting lost significantly decrease. The location of each package can be precisely determined as the picking robot stacks them, virtually eliminating the possibility of misplacement. 

In major US cities, around fifteen percent of online shopping deliveries fail to reach their intended recipients due to logistic challenges, resulting in the loss of millions of valuable goods. In traditional warehouses, where palletizing is done manually, the whereabouts of individual packages remain unknown, and the benefits of an automated palletizer become apparent. The incorporation of an automatic palletizing system not only ensures seamless operations but also provides visibility and control over the placement of packages within the warehouse, enhancing overall efficiency and reducing the risk of lost items to virtually zero. An additional benefit is that unloading can also be optimized, since the positions of all packages are known. 

 

2. Prevent Damaged Shipments

The implementation of robotic mixed case palletizing can significantly reduce the occurrence of damaged shipments, resulting in cost savings associated with such incidents. Safeguarding parcels from damage is crucial for various reasons. Firstly, beyond the expenses incurred in replacing the damaged items, shipping damages can lead to additional financial burdens, including logistical and administrative expenses, storage and disposal fees, as well as parts and repair costs. Secondly, negative word-of-mouth resulting from shipping damage can tarnish a company’s reputation and impact future sales, resulting in a loss of loyal clientele.

By incorporating advanced technologies such as 3D vision and color cameras, packages can be scanned upon arrival and damaged shipments can be detected early on in the supply chain, making it possible to identify packages with pre-existing damages. Consequently, the option to return the parcel to the sender before reaching the customer becomes feasible. This not only avoids unnecessary shipping of a damaged item to the customer, but also provides evidence that the package was already damaged upon arrival, absolving the responsibility of replacement costs.

Another notable advantage is the consistent and careful handling of parcels by the picking robot, reducing the risk of product damage. Accurate package dimensions can be determined upon arrival, enabling the detection of labels such as “fragile” or “this side up.” Through the utilization of an optimized AI stacking algorithm in conjunction with pick and place robots, packages with orientation restrictions can be placed upright. Additionally, fragile items can be positioned on top, or the algorithm can ensure that the pressure exerted on them does not exceed a specific threshold. The pick and place robot’s capability to handle palletizing across multiple pallets also facilitates the even distribution of heavy parcels and their placement at the bottom of the stack.

By leveraging these advanced technologies and automated processes, businesses can substantially minimize shipping damages, resulting in cost savings, improved customer satisfaction, and enhanced operational efficiency throughout the supply chain.

3. No Delayed Deliveries

An automatic palletizer offers another significant advantage: it operates continuously, maintaining a consistent productivity rate around the clock. The entire robotic palletizing process becomes highly predictable, enabling better planning and minimizing the risk of delayed deliveries. In contrast, non-automated warehouses face challenges in finding and retaining employees due to the physically demanding nature of the work. 

This reliance on manual labour makes it particularly challenging to find suitable replacements when employees call in sick, resulting in unpredictable productivity levels. Ensuring a constant level of productivity becomes increasingly difficult in such situations, ultimately impacting operational efficiency and potentially leading to delayed shipments.

4. No Incorrect Deliveries

Moreover, with the absence of human involvement in logistic processes, the margin for errors is significantly minimized. The AI stacking algorithm possesses precise knowledge of the ideal placement for each package, which is then executed by the pick and place robot. By strategically positioning a 3D camera above the carrier, the system can further verify the accurate positioning of the package, generating concrete evidence that the package is at its determined spot. As a result, the implementation of an automated warehouse environment ensures an almost error-free operation, leading to a substantial reduction in incorrect deliveries.

5. No Theft or Pilferage

Finally, the automation of your warehouse significantly diminishes the opportunity for theft or pilferage. With no human interaction involved, parcels remain securely sealed and inaccessible to unauthorized individuals. Through comprehensive tracking during the entire process, the likelihood of parcels being stolen is virtually eliminated. In the rare instance that a package does go missing, the automated system facilitates easy determination of its last whereabouts, enabling prompt action to locate and recover it. Consequently, this implementation ensures a higher rate of accurately delivered packages and enhances overall operational efficiency.

pick and place robot

To summarize, robotic mixed case palletizing solutions, such as the RobotStackr, are powerful automation solutions that bring numerous benefits to businesses in terms of efficiency and productivity. However, its impact extends beyond the physical handling of products. The incorporation of advanced traceability features in these systems allows businesses to achieve heightened visibility and control over their supply chains. 

By leveraging robotic mixed case palletizing’s capabilities for accurate product tracking, real-time data collection, businesses can enhance traceability, comply with regulations, ensure quality control, and drive operational efficiency. The compatibility with existing systems, such as Transportation Management System (TMS), Warehouse Management System (WMS) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), provide easy integration. As supply chains become increasingly complex, investing in robotic mixed case palletizing technology becomes a strategic choice for businesses aiming to optimize their operations and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

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