AI-powered Depalletization & Delayerization for logistics automation

AI-powered Depalletization & Delayering for logistics automation

By Andrea Ferkova || June 22, 2023

Monotonous and repetitive tasks involving the manipulation with heavy objects have been the major target for automation. Especially in logistics, there is a huge need for automation given the large volumes that need to be processed, manipulated, and moved from one place to another. As a response to this need, Photoneo introduces new AI-driven solutions for the automation of two major processes in the logistics sector – Depalletization and Delayering.

Depalletization and delayering refer to the process of unpacking or breaking down larger units, such as pallets or layers, into smaller units for further distribution or handling.

Both depalletization and delayering play crucial roles in optimizing the flow of goods in logistics, particularly in warehouses, distribution centers, and factory floors. The automation of these processes helps streamline operations, improve order fulfillment accuracy, and enhance the overall efficiency, reliability, and safety of logistics operations.

As a response to the growing demand for efficient automation of these processes, Photoneo introduces two new, AI-driven solutions – Depalletization and Delayering. 

Both solutions are powered by a neural network that has been implemented as an extension module to Photoneo’s 3D picking software tools Locator Studio and Bin Picking Studio. Each solution has been designed for a different process of pallet unloading:

1.) Depalletization for robotic unloading of individual boxes

2.) Delayering for robotic unloading of the entire layers of goods

Let’s have a closer look at each of them.


Depalletization is the process of removing individual boxes from a pallet. Compared to manual depalletization, an automation solution is much faster, safer, and more reliable.

The Depalletization solution from Photoneo enables you to automate the process of unloading pallets laden with randomly placed boxes with high precision and accuracy, 24/7. This is ensured by combining state-of-the-art 3D vision with advanced machine learning algorithms that provide very fast image acquisition and processing.

The robust AI-based neural network is pretrained on thousands of boxes to recognize any type of boxes, including different sizes, irregular shapes caused by damage, or problematic surfaces such as varying textures, shiny and reflecting materials, black color, protruding tapes, patterns, or pictures that tend to mislead 2D vision. 

The algorithms can also easily recognize boxes that are very tightly packed. This is often a big challenge for automation systems as it is difficult for them to differentiate the line separating two boxes from a line contouring the opening of one particular box.

The modular nature of Depalletization allows you to use the tool as a stand-alone vision solution or to upgrade it with path planning to be used in vision-guided robotics. 

Now, let’s have a look at the Delayering solution.


The ultimate goal in logistics applications is speed and efficiency. These two values can be tremendously increased with delayering. 

In some cases, goods are stacked on a pallet in multiple layers, with each layer consisting of a specific quantity of products. Delayering is the unloading of pallets by picking the entire layers of goods while keeping the products within each layer intact.

Similar to depalletization, delayering can be performed manually or using an automated system. While manual delayering involves workers carefully lifting and separating each layer from the pallet, automated delayering uses vision-guided, intelligent robotics to increase safety, maximize efficiency, and minimize the turnaround time.

The Delayering solution from Photoneo enables you to grab the whole top layers of loads from pallets, regardless their shape and size. Because it is so flexible, the solution works with any type of goods, including bottles, paper rolls – stand-alone or packed in plastic bags, and even mixed types of goods or exceptionally challenging materials such as plastic bags.

Deployement of Depalletization & Delayering

As already mentioned, Depalletization and Delayering are two new functionalities that come as AI extensions to Photoneo’s popular solutions Locator Studio and Bin Picking Studio. This makes them easy to deploy for anyone who is familiar with Photoneo’s existing ecosystems.

Depalletization & Delayering are very flexible and easily customizable so you can adjust their performance to your specific application needs. They are compatible with many robotic brands, robot grippers, and environments.

When you purchase a new Locator Studio or Bin Picking Studio, you will get a vision controller with pre-installed software. 

For more details related to the new Depalletization and Delayering modules, contact us.

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About the Author

Andrea Ferkova
Andrea Ferkova
Sr. PR Specialist || Website

Andrea Ferkova is senior public relations specialist at Photoneo and writer of technological articles on smart automation powered by robotic vision and intelligence. She has a master’s from the University of Vienna.

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