Here's What You Can Expect From Your Average Robot Palletiser
Ideally, a single compact machine would be able to perform all your production tasks. While a machine like this could be created in the future, current models will perform certain tasks better than others. When combined in a production line, they’ll achieve a higher overall throughput rate than an ‘all in one’ packing machine. If you’re in the market for a robot palletiser, knowing its disadvantages will allow you to customise it to your needs or find a better performing model.
Disadvantage #1 — A Higher Initial Investment Cost
A well installed and maintained robot palletiser will have a long working lifespan but a high initial investment cost. Its cost will go beyond what you pay for the machine upfront or every month.
You’ll need to consider the time you’ll spend installing the machine and any other delays or costs it might involve. If your usage won’t recoup your costs in a certain period, you might be better off renting one.
Disadvantage #2 — More Skilled Staff Members Required
Operating a robot palletiser requires a specialised skill set. Usually the palletiser’s supplier will organise training for your staff when it’s installed and tested. However, human resource problems that impact your operations could include dealing with ill or absent trained operators or product size or production process changes. A costly programmer may have to be employed to reconfigure the palletiser. Fortunately, recent technological advances mean that most modern modular palletising systems can be re-programmed by factory floor staff when production processes change.
A palletiser might put a few staff members out of work if it takes over their work. If these people have a versatile skill set and are knowledgeable about your company, you could retrain and restructure their day so they can take on more pragmatic management duties instead of making them redundant.
Disadvantage #3 — Not Suitable For All Situations
Robot palletisers can adjust to most warehouse and factory settings, but you might need additional equipment or tools for unusual sized pallets or products.
For example, pallets over two metres high will require a pallet scissor lift table. You could also face extra costs if you often work with different product sizes or change your production processes. Some palletisers require external assistance should you need to move or reconfigure them.
How Can You Determine Your ROI With Robot Palletisers?
To determine if your palletiser will provide you with a ROI you’re happy with you’ll need to calculate if it can facilitate a long term cash flow. It will also need to be integrated into your business in a way that meets your strategic goals for growing your company’s position and equipping it with a competitive advantage — while also meeting the short term goals that guarantee your financial survival.
The general payback time for a robot palletiser is between one and two years, based on several factors. The fact that it offers 24/7 production will help you keep up with demand and you’ll also save money because there will be less damaged products you have to write off due to human error. One the other hand you’ll also need to include what you’ll pay your operators, your insurance costs, as well as the cost of any sick leave they might take into your ROI calculations.
The disadvantages considered above don’t necessarily have to disadvantage your business. Knowing what each one involves will help you integrate your palletiser into your production processes with as little disruption as possible. The key to getting this right is working with a supplier that understands your unique needs and is willing to help you integrate, service and maintain your robot palletiser. Webster Griffin can help you do this, so contact us today for assistance.
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