Small business automation – why palletizing should be a priority
- Why is palletizing a good area to begin introducing SME automation? Palletizing is a task that demands heavy, repetitive lifting for hours on end. Automating the process not only allows you to better utilize your human workforce but increase productivity too.
- What are the main benefits of implementing an automatic palletizing system? The impact of introducing a cobot palletizing solution can range from higher quality, increased output, cost savings and even higher levels of sustainability.
All over the world and in every sector, business automation solutions are freeing people from the mundane and repetitive tasks that previously ate up large amounts of their working day. For finance teams, digital solutions now ensure month-end activities take hours not days, while customer services teams are finding automating chunks of claims processing is saving them vast amounts of time and stress. In the world of manufacturing and logistics, automatic palletizing systems are creating a lot of value for SMEs.
WHY PALLETIZING SHOULD BE A PRIORITY
Palletizing is the epitome of the kind of physically demanding and repetitive work that increases the chance of workplace injury when done for hours on end. Utilizing a collaborative robot (cobot) to take care of moving heavy loads is an example of how a well-implemented SME automation solution can have a huge range of positive impacts for businesses.
In our experience of supporting small and medium sized businesses introduce automation into their processes, it is often better to go for some quick wins and low-hanging fruit first. Automatic palletizing systems are a relatively simple way to get the small business automation ball rolling and start benefiting quickly. Here are some of the differences robotic palletization can make for your business.
There is no escaping the fact that there is a major labor crisis impacting the ability of manufacturing and industrial companies to operate. Small and medium sized businesses generally have less room to maneuver than larger ones when it comes to attracting and retaining workers of all skill levels. Millennials and Gen Zs are simply not entering the manufacturing workforce at the same rate as older workers are retiring. Clearly, businesses need to seek a longer-term solution to their workforce issues.
This is where a cobot-driven automatic palletizing system comes in. With minimal training, your existing workforce can design, implement and monitor your automated palletizing solution. As a company, this is a much better use of limited resources. You go from having a small number of people trying to cover all the bases to a group of digitally skilled workers driving your business automation strategy forward.
Unilever fully automated two production lines in their Polish factory, and with entirely automated palletizing by cobots, the process speeded up and Unilever employees were moved to more value-added processes
Six UR10 cobots now handle tasks related to packing of the tea
When most people think about SME automation, they think about productivity gains and increased output. It is certainly true that a cobot palletizer with the right stacking patterns, end effectors and axes can cut production overheads. Our cobots typically achieve ROI in around 12 months. One of our clients, a US-based engine component producer, saw annual savings of $150,000. With no need for breaks and a high degree of repeatability, your cobot is designed to keep working until you tell it to stop.
It is the ability to customize your cobot that can really add value and productivity. For example, using the Robotiq Palletizing Solution material handling copilot allows you to automically generate and optimize your palletizing movements. Other specialized palletizing software, like Rocketfarm’s advanced palletizing application kit, provides optimized path planning for faster speed and increased robot longevity.
The world of manufacturing and industrial operations is changing. For small and medium sized enterprises looking to increase their competitive advantage and make the best use of limited resources, exploring business automation is a necessity. Without it, you risk getting left behind as your peers utilize automation solutions to work smart, faster and more cost-efficiently.
Our cobots are designed to help your business remain competitive both locally and globally. They’re highly adaptable, and a relatively simple way to introduce business automation and innovation into your processes. And unlike heavy and more costly industrial robots, you probably won’t need to install protective cages or dedicate as much time to specialized training. Automatic palletizing systems have a small footprint but provide a huge range of options for your business as you grow. For example, you won’t need to take on additional workers to meet seasonal peaks and your stacking patterns can be redesigned in a matter of minutes to accommodate new products.
We are all thinking more about the impact we are having on the planet, and businesses are increasingly being required by law to demonstrate how they are cutting their emissions and reducing harmful waste. Business automation offers one way to enhance your sustainability through waste reduction, more efficient energy usage and reshoring.
Human workers are great, but they simply cannot match the consistency and precision of a cobot palletizer. This means fewer errors and less waste. When it comes to palletizing, this equates to fewer damaged products. Again, the ability to customize your cobot with specialized tools or application kits from UR+ also makes it easier to ensure your robotic palletizing system is operating as efficiently as possible.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but your cobot can also help you reduce your energy consumption. UR+ has a wide range of remote monitoring and access solutions that allow users to track cobot performance from anywhere with an internet connection. From here, the operator can access data relating to every aspect of the cobot’s activities and make adjustments, which helps drive efficiency and reduce unnecessary energy usage.
The right automation solution for small and medium sized businesses
Palletizing is an area where introducing a targeted business automation solution can quickly begin to have long-lasting positive impacts on your business. One of the most common misconceptions we encounter on a regular basis when talking to companies is the idea that their business is too small to justify a cobot. We don’t think that any company is too small to benefit from introducing business automation, and actually the impacts for smaller companies can be really significant. For example, one of our customers achieved ROI on its UR5e investment in just 15 weeks. And our experts are always on hand to help you make the most of robotic palletizing systems.