Any type of automation in logistics and supply chain involves the transition from old packaging materials to new and reliable materials. So, before you start palletizing the robot, start phasing out the wooden jacks and replacing them with pallet jacks Melbourne.
The pallet jacks Sydney made of plastic are incredibly durable, even with great care. They splash and absorb liquids. They change their weight and colour. Plus, they retain odours, grease, and other contaminants, making them nearly impossible to clean properly. When handled by robotic arms and automated systems, they break and damage high-end and expensive automated machines. For this reason alone, you should have a new batch of reliable plastic pallets ready before your company decides to implement automation in palletizing.
Basic prerequisite: Replacing wooden jacks with plastic jacks
E-commerce has grown rapidly in the last decade. In 2020, e-commerce sales in the Australiatotalled$111 billion, and accounted for 27.6% of total retail sales, up from $75 billion (19.2% of retail sales) in 2019.
The global COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and skills shortages have been catalysts for even faster growth over the past two years. To meet this demand, many retailers have increased the level of automation in their operations – both in their warehouses and distribution – to improve delivery speed and efficiency.This trend looks set to increase as Australian factory automation is expected to grow by 10.05% between 2021 and 2026.
The need for more efficient and accurate processing has pushed the design limits of automation systems and the storage platforms used to handle and dispatch orders.
Plastic returnable transit packaging
One such storage solution is plastic returnable transit packaging (RTP) – packaging that can be reused over and over again for many years without compromising performance. Goplasticpallets.com specializes in delivering plastic RTP solutions and stocks the largest range of plastic pallets, pallet boxes and small containers in the UK.
In 2013, one of the Australia’s leading department and grocery store chains approached Goplasticpallets.com to come up with a strong, long-lasting plastic pallet that was compatible with the company’s automated retrieval high bay system and would follow strict deviation parameters.
The company’s 1m+ sq ft semi-automated distribution center in Milton Keynes was integral to setting new standards in customer service. Minimum deflection and maximum durability were two important factors to help them do this.
If the pallet tilts too much while loading, its automatic handling system will stop. Previous pallets that the retailer had tested sometimes deviated by up to 40 mm.
The retailer was testing another company’s medium-duty plastic pallets with three steel bars. However, deflection was a problem with medium-duty pallets. When loaded with boxes it went down on a chain conveyor.
Detailed tests and actual test runs
The logistic and packaging companies had a solution in mind and asked their manufacturing partner CABKA-IPS to carry out detailed tests on their APB 1210 5R pool pallets, filled with the same box, which had been stored for 1000 hours.
After testing, they provided 200 of its APB 1210 5R pool pallets for an actual test run. The pallet was a resounding success, proving exceptionally durable and conforming to an acceptable deflection of less than 8 mm.The retailer ordered 12,000 units in light gray, each with four labels.
Fast forward to 2021, and all 21,000 plastic pallets are still performing well, proving their long working lives – helping to power high end department and grocery stores across the Australia and Republic of Ireland.
More automation in the future
As online shopping is likely to become the norm for consumers due to the long-term effects of the pandemic, more and more retailers will seek to bring efficiencies to their in-store and online supply chains. As shown here, plastic pallets can help retailers achieve this.