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Robot Palletizing Work Cell Simulation

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Manufacturing Engineering Technology Curriculum

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1057.1 - 13.1057.14



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Paper Authors


Akbar Eslami Elizabeth City State University

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Dr. Akbar Eslami is a professor and Engineering Technology coordinator in the Department of Technology at Elizabeth City State University. He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Old Dominion University. His research interests are in computer aided manufacturing, design,and automation.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Robot Palletizing Work Cell Simulation


The purpose of this project is to design a fully functional automated palletizing work cell that will simulate real-world palletizing of two different size bottles in a classroom environment. Successful completion of this project is based on the following components working together in a system: the bottle feeder with a pneumatic actuator, two photoelectric sensors, a conveyor, a programmable logic controller (PLC), and a robot. All the components are integrated to perform a unit task of palletizing. The process begins when a pneumatic actuator pushes a bottle from the tray of the bottle feeder onto the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt then transports the bottle to the inspection station, where two photoelectric sensors are mounted to detect the bottle and determine its size. One of the sensors sends the signal to stop the conveyor while the other sensor prompts the robot to start palletizing.

I. Introduction

The Senior Design Capstone Project has been identified as a valuable instrument of the assessment process. This instrument is now becoming more popular in undergraduate programs for the assessment of behavioral and cognitive achievement1. Consequently, technology students at Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) are required to complete a Capstone Design Project in their final semester. Simulating real-world robot palletizing is the goal for this Capstone Project. The students, working together as a team, utilize their knowledge, problem solving skills, communication and team work skills, to apply many of the technical competencies they acquired throughout their course of study.

The main objective of this Capstone Project is to design and simulate a fully automated palletizing system where the robot can identify different sizes of bottles and palletize them accordingly. This project can be implemented in other applications as well. For example, the automated palletizing process (APP) is capable of handling different size packages and cartons, and placing them into various machines for processing. The APP is capable of moving different sizes of bottles from one location to another, without the need for additional bottle handling equipment, and counting and arranging the bottles accordingly.

Today, it is not uncommon to see palletizing robots performing the work of humans in an industrial environment. One factor that greatly influences utilization of robots in a palletizing work cell is cost of operation. Robots can work faster and more consistently, can withstand harsher working environments, and are virtually immune to injury. A tight labor market and a need for greater process consistency is the driving interest for robot palletizing2. Labor is the highest operation cost for many companies. Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has seen a 34% increase in labor costs. These costs include healthcare coverage, pension costs, as well as other costs such as taxes, cost of regulation, etc3. With automated palletizing, labor costs are extremely reduced compared to manual labor. Robots, with all their flexibility, can be programmed to solve a wide variety of distribution and packaging problems. Flexibility, ease of operation, and speed are the recommending factors for the use of robots in the handling, moving, sorting, and palletizing of goods and materials4. Robot palletizing is widely accepted in the manufacturing

Eslami, A. (2008, June), Robot Palletizing Work Cell Simulation Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3454

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