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Robot Palletizing for the Cement Bag industry

Certain tasks lend themselves well to robotic automation. Palletizing cement bags is one of those tasks. Cement bags are dusty, and the bags are heavy, weighing up to 94lb. While humans can and do manually handle cement bag palletizing, humans are prone to making mistakes, especially when tired. Palletizing cement bags meets the 3 D’s often used as a high-level checklist for ideal robotic applications: Dull, Dirty, and Dangerous.

Several reasons often drive a company to decide to implement a robotic palletizer system for cement bags:

  • Labor is scarce and hard to retain.
  • Injury and risk reduction
  • Damages and defects need to be reduced
  • Manual Palletizing is causing a bottleneck in the production process

Solving any one of these issues can be a huge win. Solving all three with a robotic palletizer system is a triple win. As a bonus, the small footprint of a robot is ideal where space is limited. To maximize quality and efficiency when implementing robotic palletizers for cement bags, several considerations need to be taken into account, including the proper handling of the cement bags, gripper design, and safely maximizing throughput.

Special handling considerations for cement bags

In addition to easing the strain on humans, robotic palletizing can also significantly reduce damage to bags and improper loading onto pallets. Quality control is extremely important in the entire cement production process, with palletizing being prone to damage due to splits, cuts, and unbalanced loads. The following requirements must be accommodated when designing a robot palletizing system:

Dryness. Cement can absorb moisture from the air, so it must be protected from moisture and dampness.

Packaging integrity. Cement bags are prone to splitting and punctures. They cannot be dropped; they must be handled carefully, and have to be protected from sharp objects.

Storage and transport. Cement must be stored flat; stacks must conform to a stable layering pattern.

The precision and repeatability of a robotic palletizing system is an effective way to meet special handling requirements.

Gripper design is critical for cement bag palletizing

Robotic automation can be an excellent way to prevent mishandling errors that may occur when human workers make a mistake due to fatigue or other factors. The grippers used to handle cement bags are a key element of the design of a robotic palletization system. The grippers can be set up to repeatedly pick, move, and place each bag with minimal stress on the bag, and allow excellent, repeatable placement precision to maintain stack integrity in each layer on a pallet. The gripper design must also allow for a range of bag sizes from 50 pounds for mortar products up to 94 pound cement products which can be produced on the same or parallel production lines.

Safely maximizing throughput

Robotic palletizers can move at impressive speeds, even while safely handling the heavy loads of cement bags. Increased throughput is a valuable benefit of automating the palletization process with robotics. In order to maximize efficiency and production volume, the palletizing robot should be running at maximum capacity, which means no downtime due to damage or maintenance, and no waiting for an empty pallet to be moved into place.

To protect the robot from the dusty environment, mechanical components must be sealed, and a protective robot suit can be provided.

Safety must be designed into the cell wherever there is access for personnel. If a human-operated forklift will be used to remove full pallets, safety measures can be implemented to protect the human worker from contact with the robot.

To learn more about using robotics for your palletization process, contact us or call 714.881.4988

Keywords for this post: Cement bag palletizer systems, palletizing robots for cement industry, cement bag palletizer robot automation