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Standards-based solutions bring flexibility to robotic palletizer

Because case-infeed software and case-palletizing software both comply with IEC 61131-3 standards, this robotic end effector is uniquely flexible and responsive.
Highly compatible software programming plays a key role in synchronizing pallet formation (below) with case placement on the actStandards-based solutions bring flexibility to robotic palletizer

Designed for medium operating speeds and maximum flexibility the PZ 1-K palletizing robot in the Android series from Emkon Systemtechnik Projectmanagement relies on the IndraMotion for Packaging automation solution from Bosch Rexroth. A key feature of this automation solution is the combination of highly developed motion control technology with a standardized PLC in a single integrated control system.

The core hardware component of this controls package is Bosch Rexroth’s IndraControl L40. A high-speed compact DIN rail-mounted unit it processes up to 1 statements in 60 microseconds and combines logic and motion control in a single hardware unit.

Running on this controller is IndraLogic software. Embedded in the software are case-handling function modules that comply with IEC 61131-3 standards. Also designed in compliance with the same IEC standards is the offline programming software that drives Emkon’s case-infeed system. The case-handling function modules interpret the command syntax from the offline programming software. The net result is that whatever case size is being sent to the robotic palletizer and regardless of what pallet pattern the Emkon software calls for the Bosch Rexroth IndraLogic software converts that information into the specific axes of motion that the robotic end effector must describe without any need for Emkon to spend time writing software that interfaces case infeed and case placement.

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“It means a wide variety of cases can be automatically palletized” says Emkon’s sales and marketing director Andreas Dittrich. “You can even make mixed pallets: X number of cases containing Product A Y number of cases containing Product B and so on. The offline programming tool gives case and pallet parameters to the Bosch Rexroth controller so that the robotic end effector knows exactly where to go.”

The axes of motion in this case total six. All are driven by Bosch Rexroth IndraDrive-controlled servos. Four axes of motion are for getting cases onto pallets. This task is performed by a robotic end effector that combines vacuum and mechanical pick-up. Two axes of motion are for placing slip sheets between layers on the pallets. The PZ 1-K accepts cases from as many as six infeed conveyors.


The PZ 1-K handles primary or secondary packages including cartons bags cases and even rolls weighing up to about 50 lb. It is unique in that it is designed as a completely self-contained turnkey module and comes mounted on rollers to serve as a versatile palletizing unit.

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