Squaring pallets manually or using walls or structural supports is an unreliable and unsafe method. It can lead to uneven stacks, obstruct machines, and result in damaged or wasted products. To address these issues, load squaring automation can be implemented to improve employee safety and operational efficiency. This was the solution implemented for two frozen food industry clients.
In one case, JR Simplot, a frozen food manufacturer, needed pallets to be perfectly squared before entering a palletizing robotic work cell. Misaligned pallets caused problems when the robot lifted them, as it couldn’t properly center the product on the pallet. Another client in the same industry required their product to be perfectly centered on a pallet to pass through a blast tunnel. Even slight misalignments could cause obstructions and jams in the system.
To solve these challenges, a system was developed for both clients. The process involved conveying the pallet into the system and stopping it on a turntable. A series of plates worked together to square the load on one side, then the turntable rotated the load by 90 degrees. The plates closed again to square the load on the other side before reopening. After another 90-degree rotation, the system discharged the load with the desired side leading. The entire process, including conveyors, turntable, and squeezing mechanism, was automated to ensure consistency in pallet alignment.
To address safety concerns, light curtains with blanking capabilities were installed at the entrance and exit of the machine. These curtains allowed products to pass through but would automatically stop the system if a human employee attempted to enter.
If you’re looking to align pallets to tight tolerances, automatic pallet straighteners can provide an effective solution. These straighteners can safely square a stack of pallets in seconds, regardless of the pallet type. They are designed and manufactured in the United States, ensuring reliability and durability.
In conclusion, load squaring automation improves safety and operational efficiency for pallet alignment. It eliminates the risks associated with manual methods and ensures consistent results. Automatic pallet straighteners are available to achieve tight tolerances and enhance pallet alignment.