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Robotics Case Studies

6-axis robot maximizes pallet volume

by Nino LaDuca, General Manager
Shape Process Automation (formerly Tech-Con Automation)

Tech-Con Automation combines the ABB IRB 4400L 6-axis robot with in-pallet stretch wrapping to maximize pallet volume.
A Tech-Con Automation client is a packager of coffee and tea. The client needed a way to palletize very light-weight packages that tend to become unstable stacks after a number of rows.

  • Stack cartons high on a pallet so that they do not fall over.
    The cartons of tea and coffee were very light weight. As a result, it was very easy to knock cartons out of place. As stacks get taller, an accumulation of out-of-place cartons can make the stack unstable and risk collapsing the entire pallet.
  • Stretch-Wrap the pallet unstable carton stacks without falling over.
    The inertial motion of rotating the wrapper pedestal, along with the un-equal side compressive loading of the plastic wrap can conspire to collapse an already unstable stack of cartons.
  • Automatically feed pallet and cartons to pallet loading locations.
    There were only forklift operators available for supplying and taking away pallets. No dedicated operators where available to manually feed pallets into the system.


  • Integrate wrapping into the palletizing cycle.
    After careful analysis, our team decided that it would be best to integrate the wrapping and the palletizing stations and operations. As the robot finished each row, the pallet would be wrapped. In this manner, each stack was reinforced as the pallet was processed.
  • Adding an automatic pallet de-stacker with pallet feed conveyor.
    By using a pallet de-stacker, this allowed the client to use a forklift operator to place a stack of pallets into the de-stacker magazine and then go off to do other duties.


  • Automating a process that was previously a manual operation.
    Previously amanual operation, the palletizing process enormously increased output for the plant.
  • Elimination of Ergonomic Issues.
    By automating the cell, repetitive strain injuries were eliminated.
  • Twenty-four (24) month payback period.
    Automating the process added to the bottom line by increasing through-put, reducing the packaging cost and thereby increasing price competitiveness.

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