Distribution Center Manipulators


An integrated supplier of uniforms, shop towels, strip rugs, etc. constructed a new distribution facility for receiving containers of product from overseas, breaking down the shipments, building rainbow pallets and reshipping to regional distribution centers. When filling a regional order, fork lifts remove pallets from the rear upper layers of the stock racks and load them onto gravity feeder conveyors below. From the front side of the feeder conveyors, operators pick the specific bales, boxes and bundles needed to fill the regional order and build rainbow pallets accordingly. The individual components vary in size and weigh up to 300 lbs. – a system was needed to assist the operators in the handling and redistribution of the various products.


Rigid mast telescoping manipulators were provided through the center aisles between left hand and right hand pallet racks/feeder conveyors. The all-electric manipulators are extremely light and maneuverable allowing the operators to grab products of various sizes, weights, and construction, transfer them to a shipping pallet and build the regional order. The end tooling features swiveling gripper jaws allowing the operators to rotate the load 180° when required for stacking. Multiple manipulators are utilized on each of the 700 ft. long runways providing palletizing service to the 500,000 square foot distribution facility. Once the pallets have been received at the regional distribution centers, operators again needed a method to remove and handle the various products. To accomplish this task, each of the regional centers utilize mobile lifting devices incorporating the same end tooling designs as shown in the below video.