Palletizing and Depalletizing with Motoman Robots

Palletizing is the act of stacking products onto a wooden (or plastic) shipping pallet for transport. Depalletizing is the unloading of these products at the destination. Palletizing is a relatively simple application for a robot to accomplish, as it involves minimal variation. Depalletizing is more complex and typically involves machine vision and sophisticated end effectors.

Yaskawa Motoman offers manufacturers a wide range of robotic solutions for palletizing and depalletizing. When using flexible robotics with 2D and 3D vision systems, specialized software and tooling enable you to customize your shipping and receiving without sacrificing speed and accuracy.

Standard Palletizing Workcells and Packages

Our network of system integrators, Motoman Strategic Partners, are offering a broad variety of standard palletizing cells, which have been designed by accumulating typical customers' requirements and the System Integrator's expertise.

Turnkey Palletizing Workcells

Our network of system integrators, Motoman Strategic Partners, offers application expertise to deliver turn-key robotic solutions for palletizing cartons, trays, bags and other product types. Capabilities also extend to case packing, order picking and warehouse distribution systems to meet your market demands.

Turnkey Palletizing Solutions

In a robotic palletizing system, products often enter the palletizing station from an infeed conveyor. The robot is programmed to stack products onto the pallet in a defined pattern. Palletizing cells are sometimes configured with pallet dispensers, slipsheet insertion tools and shrink wrapping stations to completely automate the palletization process. Robots are able to fetch the pallet from somewhere, stack the boxes and add layer separation cartons if required.


Motoman Palletizing Robots and Products

The Motoman Palletizing Product portfolio includes::

  • 4-, 5- Axis Palletizing robots (MPL-Series, PL Series) with payload capacities from 50 kg to 800 kg.

  • 6-Axis Handling Robots (GP Series)

  • Collaborative Robot Palletizers HC10, HC10DT, HC10DT-IP67 and HC20DT

  • Pallet Solver Palletizing Software for pattern generation and offline robot programming.

  • MotoSight 2D robot vision systems to enable palletizing and depalletizing in structured or unstructured environments

  • MotoSim, a comprehensive software package that provides accurate 3D simulation of robot cells, reach modelling, cycle calculations and off-line programming of complex systems


Motoman Cobot Palletizing Applications

Palletizing Carton Boxes or Crates in Logistic Stores, Warehouses, Distribution Centers, Intralogistics, Wineyards and many more is a tough and unhealthy routine job for manual workers, especially when it comes to larger box sizes and/or weights of more than 8kg. With human palletizing, the cycle speed, method, alignment and stability of the stack may be unstable. Under the pressure of health regulations, many potential customers with this kind of jobs investigated in robotic automation, however a classical palletizing installation would require fences or changes in workflow and layout, leading to unreasonable ROI of such automation projects.

Human Robot Collaboration has resolved this dilemma, combining the precision of a robotic solution with fenceless installation and easy programming. 

Building simple, fenceless Collaborative Palletizing Stations is an easy job, because the robot and gripper technology is available, risk assessment is not very tricky, installation and programming efforts are small.

Motoman PalletSolver Software

PalletSolver is a Software Application generating palletizing patterns (2D/3D Stacking) and corresponding robot motion automatically, including path planning and I/O-Mapping (Gripper control). It supports many different Gripper types and multiple pallets.

MotoSim Offline Simulation Engineering Tool

For layouting palletizing stations, we recommend to use the MotoSim Software to create a virtual twin of your workcell. Here you can arrange components into their optimum position, find out the optimum position of the robot in the middle of conveyor and belt, find the correct height of the robot stand, do reach and accessibility tests, check out stacking patterns and stacking heights, and optimize a complete workcell in terms of cycle speed and floor space requirements before you go into hardware.

For collaborative (fenceless) installation, the resulting layout and video sequence is perfect for preliminary safety/risk assessment discussions. You can play with the ratio of safe human interaction and high speed operation without human intervention, giving you valuable cycle time and ROI information.

Motologix - IEC 61131 Robot Programming via PLC

Motologix is a software interface for programming robots directly via PLC function blocks, available for all major PLC brands and fiedbuses. It works with all Motoman Robots (including cobots!) with YRC1000, YRC1000micro and DX200 controllers and supports master/slave control over up to 4 robots, external axes and conveyors. No robot teach pendant or Yaskawa robotics knowledge is required for robot programming, testing or operation. The Data is stored in the PLC. Path and Speed performance and speed are equal to conventional robot programming methods.

This technology is perfect for OEM customers

  • who want to integrate end-of-line palletizing robots into their packaging line, controlling all motion exclusively via PLC
  • who have rich experience in PLC programming and do not want to dig into robotics programming

Palletizing Grippers for Pallets, Boxes, Bags and other Workpieces

One big piece of the success story of a palletizing application is about Gripper Design and Reliability. Our Palletizing System Integrator Partners have core competence in their markets and applications.


Palletizing Boxes and blistered Packs with Motoman Robots

Boxes are stable and have a nice cuboid geometry with flat surfaces. Picking them is easy for robots using pneumatic or simple mechanical grippers.

Box Palletizing - Single Boxes

Multiple Box Palletizing - Multiple Parts and Layers

Handling more than one box per pick will increase the throughput in the robotic station. But it requires more efforts on the conveyor side to sort and place the boxes in a grid or pattern well arranged for the palletizing robot to pick. The gripper kinematics may be more advanced, and the stacking pattern generation software requiers some more attendance. Good Gripper design for high speed and throughput is the core know-how of the System Integrator. Motoman Robots provide excellent axis speeds to support fast motion patterns.

Box Palletizing - Multiple Layers

Handling more than one box in one sequence is helpful for achieving better throughput in the robotic station. But it requires more efforts on the conveyor side to sort and place the boxes in a grid or pattern. The gripper kinematics may be more advanced than a simple pneumatic gripper, at least the stacking software creating the placing positions is more sophisticated. Gripper design for high speed and throughput is the core know-how of the System Integrator. Motoman Robots provide excellent axis speeds to support fast motion patterns.

Palletizing Bags with Motoman Robots

Robotic Bag Grippers (pneumatic and mechanical) are more complex than Box Grippers. Stacks of Bags on Pallets are less stable and require more intelligence in evaluation of the stack pattern. 

Typical products to be palletized with robots are granulates and powders, like salt, chemicals, fertilizers, animal food, sand, seeds, bark mulch, and pellets or washed stones.


Bag Palletizing - Single Parts

Palletizing Goods packed in plastic foils with Motoman Robots (Tissues)


Palletizing Stones

For Palletizing of Stone layers, high payload robots like PL500, MPL800 or GP600 are required.


Palletizing Beverages with Motoman Robots (Bottles and Crates)

Many of our Motoman Palletizing Robots are installed in the Beverage Industry. As an accessory, YASKAWA are offering the "Airgrip" Bottle gripper system, which is extremely reliable, flexible and safe.


Palletizing Blow Moulded Plastic Cans and Containers with Motoman Robots (Water, Chemicals, Oil)

Palletizing Books with Motoman Robots

Palletizing of Sand Casting Forms with Motoman Robots

Depalletizing with Motoman Robots

Depalletizing of products which are presented in defined position of 2D layers is an easy automation job, basically a simple Pick & Place operation.

Random Box De-Palletizing with Intelligent Machine Vision Systems

In more challenging Random De-Palletizing Robot applications, workpieces may vary in position or geometry. In this cases, 2D/3D Machine Vision is involved, calculating the pick point, pick pose and approach trajectory for the robot. With the power of today's Vision Software, based on feature recognition or Artificial Intelligence (Neural Networks), robots can achieve impressively good pick rates.