Robotic load handlers increase packaging and assembly efficiency

Intelligrated, a North American-based material handling solutions provider, showcased new products at Pack Expo International 2014 in Chicago. On display were the Alvey 750 and 950 palletizers and the order-fulfillment service provider, the OLS Shuttle System, as well as a not-yet-available mobile robot with a conveyor on top.


Intelligrated’s Alvey robot, left in blue (a 50 kg unit from Yaskawa Motoman), picks boxes of varied sizes with 2D and 3D machine vision to optimally pick and place boxes for wrapping and palletizing by the white robot, right, also from Yaskawa Motoman, wTwo new robotic material handlers were demonstrated at the Pack Expo, as Intelligrated demonstrated its next generation of robotic mixed-load order fulfillment solutions, the Alvey robotic mixed-load order fulfiller and showed the OLS Shuttle System, which is an automated storage and retrieval system.

Ideal for retail replenishment applications, or manufacturing warehouses, Alvey robotic mixed-load order fulfillment solutions use the latest advancements in robotic integration, software, controls and vision technology to palletize and depalletize partial and mixed-load pallets, enabling operations to replace manual processes with the efficiency and accuracy of automation. The palletizers integrate robotic arms to perform flexible and accurate product handling and layer formation construction.

Key enhancements to the new models include adjustable end-of-arm tooling, which is capable of lifting up to four cases simultaneously for increased palletizing speed and product handling flexibility for applications with unique packaging types. The demonstration also includes an integrated stack-and-wrap system to ensure load stability and features integrated controls for robotics and stretch wrapping on the same platform.

The mobile robot's role in the booth demonstration offers an introduction to Intelligrated's advanced mobility products. Unlike traditional automated guided vehicles, this mobile robot uses onboard lasers and mapping technology to dynamically navigate through a warehouse or manufacturing facility, adjusting its path to move around obstructions without assistance.

Ideal for applications with reduced primary or secondary packaging, the 950F and 750 series (using Yaskawa Motoman robots) gently handle product and materials to create stable single-SKU or mixed-SKU pallet loads and can satisfy retail-ready requirements, including label-out configurations for end-of-aisle displays.

A mobile robot, left, moves a pallet from the palletizing area (back, right) to the picking area (front, right) at Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago. The mobile robot, with a conveyor section on top, is expected to be available from Intelligrated early in 2015. IThe floor-level model of Intelligrated's Alvey 950 series high-speed in-line hybrid palletizer, the 950F, operates similarly to the standard model with the benefit of a floor-level infeed. This enables the 950F to connect with higher-speed production lines, maximizing existing staffing with packaging line personnel supervising palletizing operations and eliminating the need for long overhead conveyor runs.

Said to be the first mid-speed hybrid palletizer on the market, the Alvey 750 series handles small products exceptionally well, ideal for consumer packaged goods, health and beauty, and converted paper applications. The 750 delivers throughput speeds up to 50 cases per minute and features an optional in-hoist stretch bander or wrapper that enhances load stability, improves cost savings, and reduces floor space requirements.

Automated warehouse storage and retrieval management

Intelligrated's OLS shuttle system is ideal for operations with high-turn inventory storage and short order cycle times. The company's highly-efficient automated storage and retrieval system provides quick access to individual cartons, totes and trays in a minimal footprint for high-volume distribution, fulfillment and manufacturing environments.

The Intelligrated OLS shuttle system provides effortless access to a variety of product types for goods-to-operator fulfillment, just-in-time inventory management, as well as product sequencing and buffering to support mixed-unit load, full-case and break-pack order fulfillment, order consolidation, and route-based delivery.

Intelligrated’s OLS shuttle system, shown at Pack Expo 2014 Chicago, is ideal for operations with high-turn inventory storage and short order cycle times. The company’s highly efficient automated storage and retrieval system provides quick access to indivThe Intelligrated OLS offers the widest range of load handler options to process a wide range of product sizes and types, including cases, totes and trays, company representatives said. The scalable system design expands to meet storage and throughput requirements through additional racking height or shuttles.

Intelligrated designs, integrates, controls, installs and commissions each OLS system, providing 24/7 after-sales service and support through a U.S. network of local support centers, customer service Dashboard incident and project tracking database, and OnTimeParts catalog. Based on proven concepts that apply the right mix of automation, software, and labor, Intelligrated OLS shuttle systems are designed to meet each operation's unique requirements.

"Intelligrated's enhanced robotic order fulfillment solutions bring increased speed and product handling flexibility to help satisfy demand for mixed-load and partial pallets," said Matt Wicks, vice president, product development, manufacturing systems. "The suite of robotics solutions combines with the rest of Intelligrated's lineup of automation and software solutions to provide maximum efficiency from a fully-integrated system."

Intelligrated provides intelligent automated material handling solutions that drive distribution and fulfillment productivity for retailers, manufacturers and logistics providers globally.

- Edited by Eric R. Eissler, associate editor, CFE Media, Control Engineering,


Key concepts

  • Robotic load handlers (palletizers)
  • Automated storage and retrieval system
  • Laser-guided warehouse navigation

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