maandag 27 januari 2014

Qimarox examines the use of drones for palletising

Qimarox has launched a study into the possibilities around using drones for product palletising. Manufacturers of consumer products can use these flying robots to design a very compact, flexible and scalable palletising process. Qimarox will be continuing along the path embarked upon by and others.

Online store and parcel carriers UPS and DHL have announced they wish to start using drones to distribute parcels to consumers. These drones could make it possible to solve the problem of the expensive last few miles in the delivery of online orders to consumers. There are already videos on YouTube showing the first test flights of drones collecting packages in a distribution centre and flying them out towards residential areas.

Flexibility and Scalability

After using drones for external logistics processes, the next step is to use them for internal logistics processes. Qimarox has launched an investigation into the possibilities. As a manufacturer of components for material handling systems, naturally Quimarox’s initial idea would be to apply this to product palletising. According to Operational Manager Jaco Hooijer of Qimarox: ‘Because of the limitations in terms of capacity and ergonomics, using people to stack goods on pallets is no longer an option for most manufacturers of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods. Using drones, they can fully automate the palletising process, while retaining the much greater level of flexibility and scalability entailed by using real people.’

Drones Can Be Switched On and Off

The great thing about palletising with drones is that the process can be redesigned at any time without having to move or adjust any of your machines. All that is needed is to change the coordinates in the software that controls the drones. Another advantage is that capacity can easily be increased or decreased by simply switching more drones on or off. It is even possible to use a single drone to operate multiple end-of-line packaging lines.

The biggest limitation is currently the weight that a drone can carry. Currently, drones are being tested that can lift products of up to 2.3 kilograms. However, the technology is developing so rapidly that weights of up to 10 kilograms should be possible within the foreseeable future.

Short payback period

Qimarox doesn’t expect palletising systems using drones to be the ideal solution for every manufacturer of consumer products. Quimarox will therefore also continue to focus on the Highrunner mk7, its innovative, ultra-fast, flexible palletiser that was recently introduced. According to Hooijer: ‘For standardised processes with high demands on the capacity and quality of the stack, this machine still remains the best solution. Thanks to its modular design, the cost of purchase, installation, use and maintenance of this machine are extremely low, meaning an investment in the Highrunner will pay for itself in no time at all.’

About Qimarox

Qimarox is a leading manufacturer of components for material handling systems characterised by robustness and reliability. Innovative concepts, patented technologies and continuous development allow Qimarox (which emerged from Nedpack) to manufacture product elevators and palletisers that combine flexibility and productivity with a low total cost of ownership. System integrators and original equipment manufacturers from across the globe use the machinery of Qimarox in end-of-line systems and storage and order picking systems in various industries. Please visit for more information.

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