Pallet conveying systems. Which systems can be used?
Pallet conveying systems are a mandatory requirement for those businesses that use to stack and store goods in the warehouse.
Managers constantly explore new innovative methods to save time and valuable energy, by focusing on solutions that will automate the process and thus ensure that loads are efficiently and quickly placed on pallets at the chosen location.
The market offers a range of both manual and automatic technologies designed to meet such needs.
How to palletize a product
Palletising is essential to maximize the capacity of the warehouse area by stacking goods neatly on pallets. By stacking the packages one on top of the other, it is possible to optimise space and grant stability.
There are two different methods for placing boxes on pallets:
- The first approach involves arranging the boxes crosswise, which offers greater stability to the products. It is recommended wrapping or coating the load with stretch film, in order to make the package safer during its transportation.
- The second approach, on the other hand, considers packaging arranged side by side according to their sizes.
Stretch film may not be sufficient to prevent a fall. In fact, when the load is subjected to oscillation during its displacement, the package positioned on the highest level may flip itself over.
Other problems arise if the packaging dimensions are not respected. If the dimensions are not submultiples of the pallet on which they are stacked, two problems may arise: in the first case, the pallet cannot be stored correctly, presenting empty spaces that could be dangerous; in the second case, the load is protruding, so it is essential to take this characteristic into account and provide a sufficiently large space.
To carry out palletising, a robot or an employee is required in order to predispose the goods on the pallet, so as to prevent any accidents.
What is involved in wrapping a load on pallets
The pallets are covered with plastic material which allows the storage of the wrapped product outside the warehouses, where, despite atmospheric agents, the internal product is not damaged.
Usually, the wrapping technique does not require the use of an operator, but a machine is needed, in this way, the time and the cost to carry out the operation will be relatively reduced compared to the use of a maintenance worker.
The usage of a machine will be more precise and will prevent the incorrect arrangement of the protective film.
Due to these provisions, it will be possible to reduce the costs for the protective film, since a smaller quantity will be used thanks to its own ability to maximise the extension, that threshold cannot be reached if manually arranged.
Pieri’s machines are ideal to optimize this wrapping process, because they can be customized according to the customer’s needs, to his products and to the space at his disposal.
The machines are divided into 3 main categories:
Once the product is properly palletized and wrapped in the insulation film, it is ready to be transported and stored.
Automatic handling systems for pallet conveyance
A pallet conveying system consists of different synergetic technologies, which work together to convey loads to the intended area.
It consists of different types of products:
- Motorised roller and chain conveyors
Roller conveyors can be installed in order to automate pallet handling. They are available in different heights and sizes. They save time and increase overall efficiency, streamlining the transfer of goods, which takes place along predetermined routes.
- Turntable station
The turntable station is designed to allow the pallet’s change of direction. It is characterised by two types of movement: rotation and load advancement on pallets.
- Roller/chain exchanger
The exchanger allows the palletised load to change advancement side by switching from roller to chain handling, or vice versa.
The shuttle is a pallet-handling unit on rails, ideal for multiple loading/unloading stations lines, which are reached at high speeds, optimising both productivity and efficiency of the line.
- Pallet stacker
It can stack two pallets on top of each other using its reach forks. Based on customer requirements, it can be placed laterally, to the side of the handling line, before and after the wrapper.
- Empty pallet dispenser
On the one hand, the empty pallet storage device meets the need to store empty pallets, on the other hand it serves as a production line feed. An operator drops empty pallets at the warehouse; meanwhile an automatic device, equipped with a conveying system, places them on the line to pick up the product. Load capacity is up to 12 empty pallets.
Pallet conveying systems. List of all available solutions on the market
1. Lift trucks
Warehouse lift trucks play an essential role in handling goods and pallets, as they are responsible for conveying them up to their shelving compartment.
There are three types of lift trucks:
- Hand or electric pallet trucks, with limited or absent lifting action;
- Traditional lift trucks (forklifts);
- Systems for order preparation and pickers.
Traditional forklifts are mainly used for storage and logistics operations, widespread in the construction and agricultural industries.
They are designed to lift and convey pallets within warehouses, harbours and interports, as well as industrial sheds and construction sites.
They are called front lift trucks if they lift only from the front side.
Reach lift trucks are designed to be used for storage in the warehouse. Their main feature is the capability to widen or tighten as required in order to pass through the narrowest aisles.
Finally, order pickers are designed to lift both goods and operators simultaneously.
2. Pallet trucks
Pallet trucks (also called drawbar forklifts) are vehicles used to convey pallets.
They can be either electrically or manually driven.
Hand pallet trucks are designed to convey pallets. They consist of two forks, usually made of steel, which are connected to a central arm.
The vehicle has no engine and it is driven manually, pushed or pulled by the physical strength of the operator handling it.
Pallet trucks is typically used in industrial or commercial small-to-large businesses; it is recommended only for short distances pallets handling and it is not intended for overweight lifting.
3. The AGV
An AGV is a self-driving vehicle. It is an industrial machinery without a driver, used in several sectors to move products. Those vehicles have different dimensions and can be used not only for the transport of light loads, but also for loads of several tons.
The majority of AGV systems have a system management software, which gives transport orders, tracks the moving material and directs the traffic of the different devices.
The functions of an AGV comprehend picking up pallets, delivering them and transporting the loads.
There are different types of AGVs, classified in some subcategories: fork, lifting, roller and towing, depending on their use.
Fork AGVs are automatic forklift trucks, which transport pallets to the inside of a warehouse or of other environment; lifting AGVs do not have a set of forks, but lift the load by positioning the vehicle underneath the mentioned load; roller AGVs allow the towing of the load by positioning it on the rollers; while towing AGVs do not lift the load but drag it, which, for this reason, must be equipped with wheels.
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