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Robotic Palletizers: Grunt Labor that IS Available

Robotic Palletizers: Grunt Labor that IS Available

The face of labor in our nation has changed dramatically recently, and quite possibly permanently.

Fulfilling manual labor roles, especially the physically demanding ones, is becoming next to impossible to do.


  • Rising wages for low-level job (McDonalds pays almost $20 per hour).
  • The advent of UBI- Universal Basic Income. (Free money to stay home- why work at all?)
  • Changing attitudes of the workforce- (I’ll just drive for Lyft or Uber, or trade cryptocurrency)
  • Covid-19 and it’s variants. (I’ll get sick if I go to work).
  • The Great Resignation and a shrinking labor pool.

When I started in the robotic automation industry 20+ years ago, this was not the case.

Back then (way back in 1999), potential automation users were seemingly looking only for a financial advantage, a return on investment. It was all about “ROI, ROI, ROI”.

And these were often unreasonable expectations, carelessly considered. 

Back then, a common question I got from potential clients was: “Can I get a 1-year payback?” or a statement along the lines of ”If I can’t realize and ROI in less than 18 months, this purchase just won’t be beneficial to me”.

Why bother investing in expensive robots? There was always cheap labor just waiting for a paycheck, to keep doing the tasks manually.

These days? In 2021 and 2022 ? It has all changed.

Try finding manual laborers to stack 94-pound bags of concrete for 8 hours a shift.

Try filling the night shift.

Try finding laborers to palletize 30 pound cases of cold beverages in a 35 degree refrigerator.

Need someone to stack 50 pound burlap sacks of almonds or walnuts in a dirty factory?

You won’t find them- they are not to be found.

Even if you do find them, the pay you offer will have to complete with the $18 per hour that Starbucks and McDonalds is offering them to serve coffee in a comfy environment.

Today, when I inquire as to a potential clients ROI or economic feasibility objectives, they stop me in mid-sentence:

“No, Phillip, you don’t understand. It’s not a question of HOW much the labor costs, it’s that I cannot GET ANYONE to do the work!”

Suddenly, robots are much more attractive than manual labor.

Robotic palletizers are the “Grunts” of the robotic automation scene.

They can work 24/7/365 lifting up to 400 pounds and can do this up to 15 times per minute.

They do not complain.

They do not miss work.

They do not get tired.

Robotic palletizers are not glamorous, not so futuristic, perhaps not even very cool.

They just get the job done.

Always. And for an economical price.