Palletizing-Depalletizing Robotics: The Changing Face of Modern Distribution Centers

Palletizing and depalletizing functions in a distribution center (DC) have evolved along a continuum from manual to fully robotic operation. Two major trends are directly impacting the palletizing and depalletizing functions in modern DCs: the proliferation of SKUs and the shortage of qualified, reliable labor.

Consumers demand more choices in their brick and mortar stores. Therefore, DCs have to handle significantly more SKUs with a much wider variety of sizes, colors, shapes and weights. Grocers, convenience stores, restaurants, pharmacies, and even big-box stores contend with limited back-room storage space and highly specific planograms. So, they order smaller loads more frequently and items need to be delivered in aisle-ready condition.

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