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Robot Palletizer Industry Definitions

We get a lot of questions and we use a lot of jargon in the palletizing and robot industry, and have created this page to explain some of the words and terms that we use in automated custom robot based palletizing systems for our customers.

Bill Of Materials – Also BOM; a comprehensive list of raw materials, items, parts, assemblies, sub-assemblies, designs, drawings, and plans, including the amounts needed of each, to create a manufactured product, such as a palletizer. Each designed and delivered system will have a detailed BOM.

Case packers– Describes an automated system or machine that creates a matrix tray, loads products to the tray, closes, tapes and labels boxes. Depending on the speed and mix required, in the application, case packers can be high speed or robot based.

Conveyor – A piece of material handling equipment used to move goods from one location to another, most often using a belt or rollers.

Controls – Devices that are used to operate equipment in a manufacturing setting but also a term to describe software that runs machines.

CNC – an acronym for Computer Numatic Controlled, usually referred to precision metal cutting application.

Cycle time – Also called tact time, the number of products completed, picked, placed, in an automated packaging system, usually in terms of seconds, ie 2 second cycle.

Cycles Per Hour – Also CPH, the number of cycles of an automated system that can be completed in one hour.

Delta Robots –  A style of robot where the mass is low at the EOAT. This style of robot enables reach through its inverted design, and usually features a multi-pick head and runs at relatively high speed. This robot is also called a spider bot and used in material handling just prior to packaging.

Depal – The act of breaking down (removing goods from) a pallet with automation.

Depalletizing – The process of automatically removing goods from a populated pallet, usually with a robot and placing the boxes to an automated conveyor or material handling system, for example.

EOAT – End of Arm Tool. The tooling past the robot wrist that touches the end part or component. Formerly EOATs were custom-made, but many companies now offer turnkey, catalog end of arm tools. A typical EOAT may be vacuum powered. Also called an end-effector or gripper.

Fanuc – A major Japanese robot manufacturer which also produces CNC equipment, software and services.

irVision – Fanuc Robotics advanced vision system application software. 

Labor reduction – Labor savings and labor reduction can be realized with the addition of robotic automation and robot based palletizers. Not only can you save money, but you can reduce employee absenteeism due to repeated stress and stain. 

Light curtain – A safety device that uses beams of light to keep workers safe from equipment or entering a dangerous environment. When the beams of light are broken, the equipment stops.

Lockout –  A safety feature on robots, barriers, electrical panels and other manufacturing equipment that ensures safety by keeping people away (locked out) from danger and risk in an automation environment. Lockouts can be in many forms including a padlock, key and visual reminders.

Physical barrier – Gates, Lexan (clear plastic) or expanded steel that is designed to keep people away from moving parts, robots, palletizers in an automated production system.

Risk Assessment – Usually performed by a qualified 3rd party professional assessor, this written document addresses any risks in an automated system, a process and makes recommendations to adhere to local, state and National safety guidelines.

Robotic Systems Integrator: A mechanical and electrical engineering company specializing in the design, build and service of complete, turnkey robotic automation systems.

Robot cell – A robot cell is a custom machine or part of an automated system, with the robot as a central piece of the automated process.

Human Machine Interface – Also called a HMI, a panel which a human uses to interact with a machine, give instructions, correct errors, collect information such as uptime, downtime.

Payload – For the automation and packaging industry the payload is the mass that a robot is going to pick up and often will include the weight of the end of arm tool. 

Pallet Configuration – A term to describe the stack and direction of boxes on a wooden pallet. The pallet configuration may include tower or brick stacking, height, and cases per row, etc.

Pallet – Typically a wooden base measures 48 x 40, 42 x 42 and 48 x 48 used to transport goods on trucks and in automated robot palletizing operations.

Pallet wrapper – An automated piece of equipment that wraps individual pallets with plastic for protection against elements and gives stability to the wrapped pallet.

Palletizer – A machine which provides automatic stacking of cases or goods onto a wooden pallet. Examples of palletizers are for bulk bags such as walnuts, almond, food or cement bags.

Pick and place – The process of picking up a good or an item and placing it in another location. The major task of the heavily utilized pick and place robot.

Pick Pack Pal – A term to describe a complete automated robotics-based packaging offering. This is also sometimes called Pick-pack-pal and Pick/Pack/Pal and Pick-Pack-Place. The system will feature Case Packing and Palletizing for an End-of-Line Packing Solution

Rainbow pallet – A pallet made up of layers of packages that are uniformly shaped but made up of different types of boxed goods.

ROI – Return on Investment – The ratio between the cost outlay of an investment and net income, the term is used to measure the profitability of an investment.

Slip sheet – Created to augment wood pallets in shipping, they are thin sheets made of plastic, heavy laminated paperboard, or corrugated fiberboard.

Tie sheet – Is a sheet of material that is placed on a pallet to stabilize the load, add cohesion, keep a layer between goods and the base pallet and separate layers of different boxed goods.

Turnkey automation – A complete automation system, such as a packaging automation solution. The customer just has to “turn the key” to operate the system after delivery and acceptance.

Are you looking for a robotic systems integrator to build a custom palletizing or material handling system for your manufacturing facility? We have built hundreds of systems and have the experience to design, engineer and commission automation to make your manufacturing grow. 

At TransAutomation Technologies, we build robot palletizing systems for the following applications and industries:

  • Cement bag palletizing systems
  • Almond case and bag robotic palletizers
  • Walnut bag robotic palletizers
  • Motor oil bottle case packing
  • Roofing material robotic palletizers
  • Tuna can robotic case packers
  • Citrus bottle automated filling line system
  • Tea Carton conveyor system and robot palletizer
  • Concrete bag robotic palletizer systems
  • Building materials robotic palletizers
  • Pallet handling conveyors
  • Automated cartoning system for Pharmaceutical vials
  • Agricultural robotic case palletizers

Contact us today for your automated palletizing needs at or 714-881-4988