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ABB Launches Robotic Depalletizer Solution for Logistics

ABB Depalletizer400x275

May 17, 2022

ABB has announced the launch of its ABB Robotic Depalletizer Solution, designed to handle complex depalletizing tasks in the logistics, e-commerce, healthcare, and consumer packaged goods industries. Through the use of machine vision software, the application can quickly assess several box types, enabling customers to process assorted loads with little engineering effort and short setup time, ABB said.

“Changes in consumer behavior are leading to a rise in new sales channels such as omni-channel, direct-to-consumer (D2C), and e-commerce,” said Marc Segura, president of ABB’s Robotics Division. “These, in turn, are driving the need for more flexible and efficient order fulfillment and distribution infrastructures. With the ability to depalletize boxes stacked in a variety of configurations from single and mixed pallets, ABB’s Robotic Depalletizer helps to meet this need, allowing faster and more accurate handling of a wide range of goods ready for the next stage in the distribution process.”

Depalletizing tasks continue to grow more complex as the composition and configuration of pallets becomes more varied, and at the same time these are manual sorting jobs that are typically characterized by high staff turnover and increased recruitment costs. The depalletizer uses advanced machine vision and machine learning algorithms to process pallets of up to 2.8-meters high, which ABB said is the only solution that can operate at these heights.

Software for the system uses the information gathered by the vision sensor to provide the robot with a suitable grasping point for each box. The robot then picks up the box, which can weigh up to 30 kg, and places it on either another pallet or an outfeed conveyor. ABB said the system can work at a peak rate of up to 650 cycles per hour, 24 hours a day.

ABB Depallet Camera800px

A camera and sensor lets the robot detect specific boxes that tell the robot which box to grasp and where to grasp it.

In addition, the vision sensor lets the robot detect specific carton boxes on pallets, allowing reliable depalletizing of several different load types. These include pallets consisting of a single type of box in defined layers; ‘rainbow’ pallets that contain a number of different box types; and mixed pallets, which have a wide range of boxes with varying weights, shapes, and materials.

The solution can be supplied with a range of four- and six-axis robots for additional flexibility, and ABB said its RobotStudio digital twin software is also available, which lets customers build bespoke application simulations with their own box dimensions, weights, and pallet patterns.

In addition, modular collaborative layouts can be tailored to suit customer needs and incorporate advanced laser and radar scanner and light curtain systems to scan the robot’s surroundings, ensuring the safety of workers, ABB said. It can also be integrated with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) to create a flexible goods handling system for warehouses and dispatch centers, with setup times as short as three weeks, the company added.

For more details on the ABB Robotic Depalletizer, visit its website here.

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