A customer contacted us about a pallet sheet problem that they had. This was a tricky project but luckily, we found a correct solution using our existing raw materials and production machinery. Please read the whole story below to see if this could help you as well.
To get you right away in to the heart of the problem here is a short list of the requirements we were challenged to solve:
– optimized carton structure to be able to move the carton sheet smoothly
– reduction of problems happen due inaccurate sheet placing on pallets
– improve the stability of the fully packed pallet
This customer of ours uses carton sheets between a wooden pallet and the goods packed on pallet. The idea for the sheet is to protect products from possible dirt, moisture or sticks coming from the pallet.
Within their packaging process, a sheet is transferred onto a pallet with a robot arm. After placing the sheet, the goods are packed on pallet sheets.
Finally, before going to warehouse, the fully packed pallets are either wrapped with plastic or hooded with a plastic hood.
Challenges with the existing packaging process:
1) The vacuum suction force of the robot arm suction cups is strong. There is a risk that more than one carton sheet is simultaneously grabbed by the vacuum cups. This is since suction force can penetrate through a sheet and grab two sheets simultaneously.
2) The speed of the robot arm is fast while moving the sheet. This may bend the corners / sides of the sheet and cause in-accuracy for sheet placement on pallets.
3) The accuracy for placing the sheet varies and there is a risk that sheet corners exceed pallet edge. This can break the plastic wrapping or plastic hood placed on the pallet. In addition the appearance of the pallet suffers if sheet corners are seen on the edges of fully packed pallet.
4) Before setting the plastic wrapping or plastic hood around the pallet, there is a risk that products move on slippery carton sheet. Also customer was interested in using less plastic in wrapping or with the hood.
1+2) We applied a thin polymer surface on top of the carton. Together with the selected carton quality, it made the structure of the sheet tight. This prevented the vacuum force from penetrating through a carton sheet. The polymer coating also improved the stiffness of carton which prevented sheet corners from bending.
An additional advantage was also gained, as the polymer surface improved the barrier for any water, or moisture, or dirt transferring from pallet to products.
3) To minimize the risk for broken plastic wrapping / hood, we cut round shapes to carton corners.
We also took couple of millimeters away from the edges of the sheet to make sure that even in the case of poor sheet placing accuracy no sheet edges were exceeding pallet sides.
4) To improve the stability, we added some friction improvement chemicals into polymer coating. This prevented the product gliding on the pallet sheet.
I’m here to tell you more and answer any questions you might have.