Robotics Industry News
Breakthrough Mixed Palletizing Cell Making Worldwide Debut at ProMat 2013 in January
KUKA Robotics Corporation Posted 12/10/2012Sterling Heights, MI – Augsburg, Germany – The logistics world will get its first official look at a game-changing technology for retail, food and beverage distribution at ProMat 2013: KUKA Systems and RSW will showcase their Mixed Case Row Palletizing (MXRP) cell that can deliver efficiency gains of 40% or more in building same-store pallets.
MXRP combines RSW’s revolutionary, adjustable-finger gripper and KUKA Systems’ state-of-the-art robotics and control system to streamline the building of pallets with mixed products and/or packaging at distribution centers. True mixed pallets usually are comprised of uneven layers. Conventional mixed case palletizing cells can load no more than one or two cases at a time, whereas an MXRP with four adjustable fingers, or forks, can stack up to four cases at a time with great accuracy. Such an MXRP cell with its single robot can handle up to 1,400 cases per hour, depending on package type and size. Conventional cells employ two robots and yet still can only manage 1,000 cases per hour at most.
The unique MXRP gripper with Flex Strap technology makes it possible to position adjustable fingers at different levels to grip stock and load it on top of uneven layers. Responding to the geometry of each layer, the MXRP cell’s control system can adjust each finger independently, horizontally or vertically, and move forks left or right for optimal spacing. While the gripper can accommodate up to six forks (and load up to six cases at a time if so equipped), four-fork installations will suit most situations.
By switching to MXRP, warehouse operators will realize substantial capital and operating economies as well as significant space savings. A recent beverage plant evaluation determined a six-cell MXRP layout would have the same throughput as a nine-cell layout employing conventional technology, but with a footprint at least 3,000 sq. ft. smaller than the latter. MXRP also produces a denser, more store-friendly mixed pallet. Often, store pallets are wheeled right off the truck into store aisles for overnight re-shelving. Fewer but denser pallets means faster unloading and positioning, and fewer obstacles in the aisles for late-night shoppers.
“This MXRP concept is easily the most innovative breakthrough in mixed case palletizing over the past decade and will truly revolutionize the way warehouses approach sequencing, palletizing and delivery to stores,” says Aaron Corcoran, Director – Logistics for KUKA Systems North America. “MXRP is flexible, fast and accurate, addressing the need to find new solutions to deliver orders in more store-friendly formats for a diverse and expanding range of store configurations. It is a quantum leap forward and sets a new benchmark for improving the efficiency of distribution center operations.”
KUKA Systems and RSW unveil their solution for increased performance in mixed case row palletizing at ProMat 2013, Booth #2012a, Chicago, IL – Jan 21-24, 2013
About KUKA Systems
KUKA Systems is an international supplier of flexible automation systems for the Automotive, Aerospace, Energy, Logistics and Industrial Solutions segments. Some 3,600 employees worldwide work on ideas, concepts and solutions for automated production and the provision of products and services for virtually all tasks in the industrial processing of metallic and non-metallic materials. The range of products and services is marketed internationally via subsidiaries and sales offices in Europe, the Americas and Asia. KUKA Systems recorded orders worth €850.7 million for the 2011 business year. KUKA Systems is one of two global operating companies comprising KUKA AG, which had sales of €1.435 million in fiscal 2011.
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