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Hybrid palletizer

Image Number 18 for United States Patent #8074431.

The present invention relates to compact palletizers that include a stretch-wrap operation as the pallet is built. Specifically, the present invention uses a robot to place items from a fixed infeed elevation either above or, alternatively, below the height of the finished load. A four-sided compression mechanism compresses the rough-built load to the final pallet size and then the entire layer is released to the pallet. Individual items or group of items are picked and placed onto a layer support device in a loose orientation. The loose orientation enables a much faster palletizing operation because the robotic arm that pick-and-places the item, the items, or the row of items, can travel much faster as it does not have to precisely locate the item, items, or row of items. During the time that a layer is being loosely constructed on the layer support device concurrent wrapping can occur.

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