Transforming palletizing efficiency with cobots:

A success story from Bob’s Red Mill

Bob’s Red Mill, a globally recognized producer of nutritious grains and food items, has modernized its palletizing process using advanced cobot technology, meeting its production line’s speed, safety, and efficiency requirements.

“Instead of stacking pallets all day, the operators can now focus on more value-added tasks, such as quality inspection, instead of something boring,” says Nick Chow, engineering and fabrication manager for Bob’s Red Mill, to Materialhandling247.

Watch the business case made by our partner Universal Robots:

Video from Universal Robot

From tradition to innovation

Bob Red Mill was founded in 1978 and has grown massively since. The company now operates an 800,000-square-foot facility with over 700 workers and produces more than 200 different products.

During the pandemic, they initially began using industrial robots to address labor shortages. However, they soon discovered these robots were too large for their production lines and needed a more flexible solution. They needed a robot that could operate closer to operators and fit within a smaller footprint.

Chow discovered the soon-to-be-released UR20 cobot at Columbia/Okura’s booth at Pack Expo in fall 2022. It quickly became apparent that Columbia/Okura’s turnkey palletizer miniPAL+ proved to be the ideal solution for their needs. Their solution features a UR20 cobot arm, safety area scanners, radar, guarding, built-in pallet jack pockets, a PIAB vacuum gripper, as well as Rocketfarms Pally software.

Bob's Red Mill palletizing robot in action
Image by: Columbia Okura

Implementation of the miniPAL+

The miniPAL+ system was quickly integrated into Bob’s Red Mill’s production floor. The UR20’s 20 kg payload was a great match for them, as the payload capacity enables double-picking of boxes, significantly increasing efficiency.

“We appreciate the simplicity, their track record, and the out-of-the-box features,” Chow says.

All programming on the miniPAL+ is done through Rocketfarm’s Pally software directly on the cobot’s touchscreen. Chow mentions that it took them roughly 60 minutes to get trained through a multitude of scenarios and that he anticipates hundreds of product change-overs with the system.

Learn more about Palletizing solutions powered by Pally here.

Bob's Red Mill palletizing robot in action
Image by: Columbia Okura

More efficient and safer for workers

The future of Bob’s Red Mill looks bright – both for the employees and for the company. Automation equals happy and safe workers and is key to helping the company grow.

Their new palletizing system has freed operators from repetitive manual tasks, allowing them to focus on more value-added activities like quality inspection. The implementation of the cobot system has freed up four operators across four shifts in the company’s 24-hour operation.

By integrating cobot technology, Bob’s Red Mill has enhanced its palletizing efficiency and created a safer and more fulfilling work environment for its employees, positioning the company for continued growth and success.

Learn more about the installation, and read MaterialHanding247’s original article.

Automate your palletizing, too

Are you intrigued by Bob’s Red Mill’s story? If you are also considering automating your palletizing process, you should check out the online cobot search engine fast track.

When you enter basic information about your product into the cobot palletizing search engine, you will receive a digital video that showcases a cobot palletizing solution tailored to your needs. Additionally, you will receive a detailed performance report and assistance in connecting with available solution providers. This service is free and includes everything you need to advance your project!

Getting started has never been easier or faster.

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