The robot-based ACPaQ solution is the next milestone in the cooperation between Swisslog and KUKA. This intralogistics innovation is the latest development to emerge from the bundled robotics and intralogistics know-how of the two leading providers. Swisslog showcased this system for fully automated mixed-carton picking and palletizing for the first time at the recent LogiMAT exhibition in Germany.
Swisslog’s robot-based ACPaQ solution will automate one of the most important areas of the intralogistics operations of successful retailers: creating customized mixed pallets for individual stores from single-SKU pallets. This innovative palletizing system has a highly modular design. It combines robotics solutions for depalletizing and palletizing with CycloneCarrier shuttle technology and enables a fully automated process controlled by the SynQ warehouse management software which, compared to traditional methods, doubles or even triples the speed of picking cartons in distribution centers based on store layout, item groups or item classes.
At the core of the ACPaQ solution is the RowPaQ cell featuring a state-of-the-art 5-axis jointed-arm KUKA robot. It is equipped with a flexible gripper with adjustable forks which allows it to pick up as many as four cartons at a time even if they don’t have the same size or weight. A RowPaQ cell is capable of setting down up to 1,000 cartons per hour in the exact location predefined by the palletizing software. The solution is completely scalable and additional RowPaQ cells can be added to the system to increase throughput as required.
Networking new and proven technologies
Robot-based palletizing builds on an intelligently organized process. Before cartons can be palletized in sequence, they are first separated, loaded into trays and stored temporarily in the highly dynamic CycloneCarrier shuttle system. Even before the warehouse management system issues the palletizing order, Swisslog’s software autonomously performs a complex calculation process based on product parameters to determine the best way to load the pallet. The cartons are then transported in the exact sequence from storage to the RowPaQ cell. After palletizing is complete, it is shrink-wrapped and transported via conveyor directly to the right shipping station.
“ACPaQ is the perfect combination of KUKA and Swisslog know-how in one solution,” says Dr. Christian Baur, chief operating officer of the Swisslog Group and CEO of Swisslog Warehouse & Distribution Solutions. “As a result, our customers benefit from a solution that significantly outperforms manual palletizing processes not only in terms of packing density and dimensional stability but also in terms of cost effectiveness and ergonomics.”