Get a Grip on Your Pallet Handling

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Pallet Handling

 

Besides their uses as wall decorations, custom furniture, or any other crafts, wooden pallets are most commonly used for easy mobility of goods and materials throughout manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, and logistics environments.  In addition to typical wood pallets, however, the logistics field is witnessing the rise of plastic and composite reusable pallets.  The automotive field is also seeing reusable metal pallets or racks rapidly gain traction.  With all these pallets, it is important to have a well functioning pallet handling system, and to do that, you need to be knowledgeable about the pallet material and the products they hold.

Pallet handling conveyors, lifts, stackers, dispensers, inverters, and turntables have all been on the market for years, so many companies have great, quality offerings at cost-effective prices.  When approaching a vendor for a proposal on your project, or even just browsing an online catalog, knowing the key questions to be answered in advance will help you get the best quote.  In similar fashion, you’ll want to keep all information regarding your product and how it’s being handled at the forefront of your mind and in your vendor’s focus.

Know Your Pallet Load

Let’s start by talking about what information you should provide or be considering when browsing online for a pallet handling vendor or product.

  • Load configuration – what is being handled?
    • Material – wood, plastic, composite, metal, sheet, etc.
    • Type of pallet – block, stringer, skid, reversible, racking, heavy-duty, top-overhang, palletless, slave, footed, crate/container, fixture, etc.
    • Size – uniform or mixed sizes, consistent within a production run, mixed within a production run, varying or consistent heights, etc.
    • Load & Stability – handling empty, partial, or max capacity loads, weight of an ‘empty’ load, weight of the maximum load, maximum height, center of gravity, etc.
    • Quality – new or used pallets, indoor or outdoor storage, current rejection rate and inspection frequency, etc.
  • Environment – any special equipment requirements?
    • Temperature (minimum and maximum)
    • Humidity
    • Cleanliness/Sanitation
  • Rate – how many loads per hour?
  • Trackability / Traceability
    • Is the load serialized, coded, etc., and can it be scanned in some fashion at critical locations, or does the load location have to be known through the whole process?
  • Specification package
    • What requirements are already established by your company and must be met and adhered to for this equipment or solution?

Pallet Handling Questionnaire

Now that you’re thinking about what’s critical to your application, it is imperative to determine whether standard equipment or a customized solution is the best fit for your needs.  Here are some questions to consider for yourself and to ask when working with a vendor who may be preparing a proposal for your project.

  • Will loads be handled length or width leading?
  • Is the load, in the orientation it is handled, easily sensed, or may it pose some challenges?
  • Can the load always be handled in only two directions, or is the ability for four-way handling required?
  • With the weight of the load, is heavy duty handling equipment required? Does the load need to be better distributed on the handling equipment?
  • Is the load currently automated in any fashion, and if so, how, when, and where in the process?
  • Is the load larger than a standard 48” x 40” pallet? Is the load larger than a 48” x 48” pallet? If so, can the standard handling equipment already handle the size?
  • Will a pallet or load inspection be required?
  • Can the equipment support returnable pallets, dunnage, racks, bins, etc. that may not be of consistent appearance, quality, or configuration?
  • Is noise a concern?
  • Has the vendor worked with a load configuration in an environment like yours, with this fast a rate, keeping track of the load the whole time?
  • How does the specification package affect standard equipment and/or custom equipment?

Through years of implementing industrial palletizing, conveyance, and handling systems, our team can confidently answer all of the above questions regarding your application.  We have a standard offering of pallet handling equipment featuring consolidated improvements through years of varied applications existing in our portfolio. Combined with your expertise on your product, we can create the perfect solution. Allow our expertise in pallet handling equipment to guide you through the process of selecting the best product for your operation.

There are many types of pallet handling solutions on the market, including: chain driven live roller (CDLR), drag chain, and plastic belt conveyors; chain and roller level full-load lifts and transfers; pushers; pullers; fixed and actuating stops; justifiers; guides; and transfer cars. If none of these options fit your application, Bastian Robotics can and will customize a flexible and modular design to fit nearly any product, system, or space requirement.

Designed for minimal maintenance and maximum throughput, the pallet handling equipment and systems provided by Bastian Robotics offer continuous operation within the manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain industries.

After receiving his B.S. in Computer Science from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 2005, Geoff Schreiber worked as a software and controls engineer for an integrator in a variety of manufacturing industries. Initially joining Bastian Solutions in 2012 as a Controls Engineer for the robotics division, Geoff became the Lead Robotics Engineer in 2014. He is focused on helping customers be more successful and competitive in their markets through utilization of emerging technology and optimized implementations.

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