Intelligent robotic palletization and depalletization

June 2, 2022

Partners:

ASTOR

Kawasaki Robotics Central & Eastern Europe HUB

Polpack

 

Challenge:

ASTOR, Polpack, Kawasaki Robotics, and Photoneo developed a ready-made solution for automated palletization and depalletization of boxes with absolute precision and reliability. The solution was showcased at the Warsaw Pack trade fair, which took place in Warsaw, Poland, on 26-28 April 2022.

 

Solution:

Universal Depalletizer + PhoXi 3D Scanner

The solution comprises a station for intelligent palletizing and depalletizing enabled by 3D vision and robotic intelligence. 

The application consists of a Kawasaki Robotics robot with a PIAB vacuum gripper, a 3D vision system and machine learning algorithms from Photoneo that enable the localization of boxes on a pallet, and a wrapping machine together with other devices that are part of the production line.

The process looks as follows: As soon as the robot receives a signal from the line that the pallet is in place, it sends a query to the 3D vision system for the coordinates and dimensions of the boxes placed on the pallet. The 3D vision system calculates a collision-free trajectory and provides it to the robot, which then takes the boxes from the pallet and places them in the target location. 

In the case of palletization, the robot loads the boxes onto the pallet, arranging them stack by stack. When the pallet is full, the robot communicates with the PLC driver of the line, which releases the pallet to be wrapped at the end of the line. From there, it can be picked up from the conveyor by a forklift or an autonomous robot.

 

Discussion:

The solution is able to localize and recognize more than 5,000 types of boxes. It offers a 99,7% production rate, while the remaining 0,3% can be diminished over time thanks to the machine learning algorithm, which can detect new types of boxes. 

The intelligent system can significantly increase efficiency and ensure the continuity of work regardless of the availability of employees and the working conditions. It offers a lot of flexibility and modularity, featuring its own software and machine learning algorithms.

The robotic depalletization system offers three main benefits, according to Kamil Woliński, Sales Manager at Polpack: 

  • It ensures the continuity of work in case of staff shortage
  • It solves the challenge of a repeating nature of the work
  • It helps optimize costs

Similar solutions can be used in applications such as assembly, disassembly, and the handling of workpieces during machine operation processes.

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