When it comes to any logistics solution, automation is paramount. In an industry dominated by specialized hardware, some of the most important of them all are stacking and destacking systems. These form the bread and butter of automatically processing items across conveyor networks. In what follows, we’ll discuss how stacking and destacking systems can benefit your conveyor solution to help you achieve your logistics goals.

What is Stacking and Destacking?

Logistics, particularly in distribution centers, is all about taking packages and other items and getting them from their origin point to their destination as efficiently as possible.

Each item carries information that tells automatic systems where it needs to go. Stackingsystems can arrange packages or other items in piles to save storage space. If crates, packages, or pallets can be stacked, they should also eventually be destacked so that they can reach their destination. Destacking is the process of removing those items from their organized groups.

Automatic Stacking and Destacking are More Efficient

A paper by Phillip Grambo et al describes a robotic stacking machine that separates out packages of different sizes into piles. This system was determined to be 75% more efficient than human workers.

Why Use Stacking and Destacking Solutions?

There are a few reasons why distribution centers and warehouses might use stacking and destacking solutions. Collecting packages into a group through stacking can be useful when multiple crates or items share the same or similar end destination. It also may be important to quickly and automatically stack and de-stack empty totes for re-use.

Stacker and Destacker Solutions in the Logistics Industry

There are a number of different solutions for stacking and destacking solutions in the logistics industry. These depend on the specific needs of the business. For example, one stacker that specializes in collecting and stacking egg crates won’t be suitable for stacking shipping packages or larger pallets. It’s important to keep in mind the kind and variety of product that your distribution center will be dealing with.

Automatic vs Manual Stacking Machines

Logistics managers may be concerned about whether they should choose an automatic or manual logistics solution. There are a few things to note about both categories:

Logistics operations managers may be concerned about the costs of implementing automatic stacking and destacking solutions. It is indeed cheaper to use manual stacking and destacking solutions, like forklifts and other powered equipment.

However, that cost is only cheaper in the short term. Over time, the costs add up. Businesses have to pay for equipment licensing, the cost of accidents caused by human error, and the loss in potential efficiency.

Automatic stacking and destacking may be more expensive at first in the short term, but it pays off in the long term. Although businesses will need to pay for preventative maintenance to keep the equipment operational, the increase in efficiency is enormous compared to manual methods. There are also fewer safety concerns to worry about since human error isn’t as much of a risk.

Versatile Stacking Machines

Some automatic machines are very specialized. This means they can only handle a specific size and shape of package. There are some stacking and destacking machines that can handle different kinds of products. The Pallet Stacker by Nar Robotics is a great example, capable of moving a variety of different products on and off of pallets. Users enjoy excellent service from the manufacturer and high performance.

As another example, some machines built by BBM can stack packages of different dimensions up to 25 items per minute. Their machine, like many other stacking machines, can automatically take on packages via a conveyor.

These machines greatly reduce human labor and are extremely efficient when applied in logistics businesses.

Efficient Destackers

Some multi-purpose destacking machines also exist. One of these is the Nar Robotics Destacker. This machine is quick, efficient, and useful when dealing with various different kinds of packages or items depending on the type of gripper equipped. It is compatible with three different formats, including gripper, splint, and vacuum formats for grasping objects. 

Combining Stackers and Destackers

The most efficient distribution centers should combine stackers and destackers together. They can even combine certain stacking machines with other stacking machines. This can become a valuable part of the sorting process.

For example, a conveyor may have several stacking machines specialized to handle different kinds of packages, pallets, or boxes. Each stacking machine is specialized for a particular kind of box. As the box passes across the conveyor, the stacking machine will only remove items that match. Non-matching boxes will continue to ride along the conveyor.

Choose Innovative Layouts for Stacking and Destacking

Choosing the right stacking and destacking machines and combinations of those machines that work best for your business is essential to keep your logistics business competitive in the market.

Future of Stacking and Destacking in Logistics

Some logistics managers and business owners may be wondering where the industry is going next. It’s likely that artificial intelligence will aid the efforts of stacking and destacking machines. Computer vision can provide visual inspection roles that were previously fulfilled by human workers. By analyzing packages visually with 3D cameras, packages can be sorted and handled by the correct stacking or destacking system on a conveyor.

IoT sensors and digital twin solutions can also create simulations of a warehouse conveyor system. The digital recreation of the warehouse based on real data can then suggest the most efficient arrangement of stacking and destacking machines.

Ultimately, how business owners decide to use stacking and destacking machines will determine what the future holds. If you’re ready to optimize your logistics business’s operations, please reach out to us so we can work together to bring you a solution!


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