The challenge was to relocate the customer's own cardboard boxes from pallets to trays and convey these to a treatment area. Once ready, the cardboard boxes are then palletized onto the customer's own pallets and conveyed to the goods outwards bay, ready for loading on to HGVs.
On the receiving area the pallets are put onto floor level roller conveyors (height 80 mm) which are designed for Euro and industry pallets.
The pallets which are loaded with cardboard boxes are sent directly to the fully automated portal depalletizer. The process of depalletization takes place in a double portal that uses vacuum suction plates to alternate between cardboard intermediary layers and full layers of boxes on pallets.
Due to the variety of different cardboard boxes used and the special requirements of the radiation zone, "standard" materials handling technology cannot be used to convey the boxes. Instead, the boxes are placed in system trays, specially developed and manufactured by Schwingshandl, and conveyed via tooth belt conveyors and accumulating roller conveyors.
The trays were designed to be "turnable" and can even handle entire pallet layers (Euro pallets or industry pallets). To this end, a fully automated tray-turning station was integrated upstream of the depalletizer unit to allow for switching between Euro and industry pallets.
Until required, empty system trays are stored in two paternosters, providing a storage area for 100 trays. The empty pallets are stacked and temporarily held in a buffering area prior to palletization.
Once loaded with cardboard boxes, the system trays are transported to the radiation area via an accumulating roller conveyor. If a second treatment process is required, the cardboard boxes can be turned through 180° at a turning station and placed "upside down" on a new tray to be conveyed back for further treatment.
Once the final treatment is complete, the double portal palletizes the cardboard boxes onto the appropriate customer pallet, which is then transported to the dispatch area via floor-level pallet handling technology (height 80 mm).