Central and Localized Palletizing Strategies

Light Directed Picking modules
Light Directed Picking Systems
May 23, 2023
Light Directed Picking modules
Light Directed Picking Systems
May 23, 2023

Choosing the Ideal Palletizing System

Palletizing is a critical step in the manufacturing process of many industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods. It involves arranging products or materials onto a pallet in a specific pattern or configuration, and it can be done in a localized or centralized manner. Choosing between localized and centralized palletizing can have a significant impact on factory efficiency, which is why it is essential to consider key factors and metrics when making this decision.
In this blog, we will provide an overview of localized and centralized palletizing, discuss their advantages and disadvantages, and present recently published performance metrics for each. We will also identify the key considerations and metrics that should be taken into account when choosing between the two strategies.

Localized Palletizing

Localized palletizing involves palletizing products or materials at the location where they are produced or processed. In this approach, each production line or work cell has its own palletizing system, which may consist of a robotic or manual palletizer.

Advantages of Localized Palletizing

  • Flexibility: Each production line or work cell can palletize products according to its unique requirements, enabling customization and reducing changeover time.
  • Reduced transportation costs: Products do not need to be transported to a centralized palletizing area, which can result in savings in transportation costs and time.
  • Reduced risk of product damage: Products are handled less, which can reduce the risk of damage during transportation.

Disadvantages of Localized Palletizing

  • Increased capital costs: Each production line or work cell needs its own palletizing system, which can result in higher capital costs
  • Reduced efficiency: Multiple palletizing systems may result in a lower level of automation and a reduction in overall efficiency
  • Increased labor costs: Additional labor may be required to operate and maintain multiple palletizing systems

Recently Published Performance Metrics for Localized Palletizing

Recent studies have reported the following performance metrics for localized palletizing:

  • Cycle time: 10-15 seconds per layer
  • Efficiency: 90-98%.
  • Product damage rate: 0.5-1%

Centralized Palletizing

Centralized palletizing involves palletizing products or materials at a central location within the factory or warehouse. This approach involves transporting products or materials from various production lines or work cells to a central palletizing area, which may consist of a robotic or manual palletizer.

Advantages of Centralized Palletizing

  • Reduced capital costs: One palletizing system can be used for multiple production lines or work cells, resulting in lower capital costs.
  • Increased efficiency: A centralized palletizing system can be highly automated, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity.
  • Reduced labor costs: A single palletizing system requires less labor to operate and maintain than multiple systems.

Disadvantages of Centralized Palletizing

  • Reduced flexibility: The same palletizing configuration is used for all products, which may result in less customization and increased changeover time.
  • Increased transportation costs: Products or materials must be transported to a central palletizing area, which can result in increased transportation costs and time.
  • Increased risk of product damage: Products may be handled more, which can increase the risk of damage during transportation.

Recently Published Performance Metrics for Centralized Palletizing

  • Cycle time: 8-12 seconds

Choosing the Right Palletizing Strategy

There are several key considerations that should be taken into account when deciding whether to implement a localized or centralized palletizing strategy in a manufacturing facility. Some of these considerations include:

Product Characteristics: The characteristics of the product being palletized can have a significant impact on the palletizing process. For example, products that are heavy, bulky, or irregularly shaped may be more difficult to palletize using a centralized system.

Production Volume: The volume of production can also be an important consideration. For high-volume operations, a centralized palletizing system may be more efficient, whereas low-volume operations may benefit from a localized approach.

Plant Layout and Space Availability: The layout of the plant and the available space can also influence the decision between localized and centralized palletizing. A facility with limited space may find that a localized approach is more practical, whereas a larger facility with more open space may be better suited for centralized palletizing.

Labor Availability and Cost: The availability and cost of labor can also be a significant factor. A facility with a limited labor force may find that a localized approach is more feasible, whereas a facility with access to a larger workforce may be better suited for centralized palletizing.

Material Handling and Transportation: The method of material handling and transportation can also impact the decision between localized and centralized palletizing. For example, if the products need to be transported long distances, a centralized approach may be more efficient.
It is important to carefully evaluate each of these factors to make an informed decision.

What’s Important to You

Beyond what was discussed previously, the performance metrics that are important to you can also help decide which strategy is best.

Throughput and Production Capacity: The throughput rate measures how much product can be processed in a given time period. Production capacity refers to the maximum amount of product that can be produced in a specific period. Both metrics are important when deciding between localized and centralized palletizing. If a facility requires high throughput rates and maximum production capacity, centralized palletizing may be the best option.

Labor Productivity and Efficiency: Labor productivity refers to the amount of output per worker. Efficiency measures how effectively resources are being used to produce output. If a facility has limited labor resources or requires high labor productivity, localized palletizing may be more effective.

Equipment Utilization and Downtime: Equipment utilization measures the percentage of time that equipment is being used. Downtime measures the amount of time that equipment is not in operation. Both metrics are important when choosing between localized and centralized palletizing. If a facility requires high equipment utilization and minimal downtime, centralized palletizing may be the best option.

Product Quality and Consistency: Product quality and consistency are critical factors in many industries. If a facility requires high levels of product quality and consistency, centralized palletizing may be the best option.

Return on Investment (ROI): ROI measures the financial return on an investment. It takes into account the cost of the investment and the financial benefits that are generated. ROI is an important metric when deciding between localized and centralized palletizing. If a facility requires a high ROI, it is important to consider the cost of the investment and the potential financial benefits that can be achieved with each palletizing strategy.

Conclusion:

Overall, the best palletizing strategy will depend on a variety of factors, including product characteristics, production volume, plant layout and space availability, labor availability and cost, material handling and transportation, and the metrics discussed above. By carefully considering these factors and analyzing the relevant metrics, companies can choose the palletizing strategy that will best improve factory efficiency.

To learn which palletization strategy is best for your operation, contact LD Systems today to speak with an Integration Solutions Specialist.