Back to blog

Common cobot palletizing mistakes and how to avoid them

December 06, 2023 | Quinn Harker


Collaborative robots, or cobots, have transformed various industries with their ability to work alongside humans to enhance efficiency, increase productivity, and remove repetitive tasks. Palletizing is one of the key applications leveraging cobots, streamlining the process of arranging and stacking goods on pallets for packaging. However, like any technology, cobots are susceptible to errors, and palletizing operations and production lines can face challenges if not implemented and managed correctly. 

In this blog post, we will explore some common mistakes and provide solutions on how to avoid them to ensure a successful robotic palletizing process.

1. Lack of Proper Planning:

One of the fundamental mistakes in automating palletizing is a lack of thorough planning. Before implementing a solution, analyze your workflow, load characteristics, assembly line, and overall system requirements. This includes understanding the products you will palletize, along with their dimensions and features, as well as the factory footprint and any timeline or support expectations.

Solution: Avoid choosing the first company you encounter. Instead, base your decision on a 360-evaluation of their offering from pre-to-post sale. Engage your subject matter experts to plan the integration of a cobot palletizer into your existing production. To guide your experts in finding the right solutions, be sure to consider the variety of options available, such as turnkey options, self-deploy systems, or modular and custom systems.

To help you choose the correct palletizer for your operation, check out our blog post:
8 steps to selecting the right cobot palletizer.

2. Inadequate End-of-Arm Tooling (EOAT):

Choosing the wrong end-of-arm tooling is a common mistake that can significantly impact the efficiency of robotic palletizing operations. Inadequate grippers or rigid tooling that fails to adapt to varying product shapes and sizes may lead to dropped or misaligned items, causing disruptions and slowing down the entire process.

Solution: Select modular end-of-arm tooling hardware that is versatile and adaptable to various product types and sizes. Grippers with adjustable features or those designed for specific product shapes can enhance the cobot’s ability to handle diverse palletizing. Be sure to talk with your expert(s) to find either standard or custom grippers that would fit all of your product types. 

On the Vention platform, there are many modular EOAT components available. Use the filters to search based on your requirements, or chat with our team to select the correct EOAT for you.

3. Insufficient Training and Programming:

Improper training and programming can lead to errors in cobot palletizing. This includes insufficiently defined paths, inaccurate positioning, and failure to adapt to changes in the environment. Without proper programming, cobots may struggle to efficiently navigate and execute the palletizing task.

Solution: There are many programming solutions on the market, but most have a high barrier to entry and require years of experience. Instead, if you are just beginning with automation or looking for a simpler solution, we recommend utilizing a no-code programming environment to configure and operate your machine. MachineApps is a user-friendly interface that enables those of all skill levels to learn how to configure, program, and operate a palletizer through step-by-step instructions. Experience just how easy it is. Try Vention’s Pallet Configurator tool today. 

Even with an intuitive and easy-to-use solution, training is a vital asset to set your team up for success. Vention offers both in-person and virtual training designed to provide teams with the practical skills and knowledge to become automation experts.

4. Neglecting Safety Measures:

Safety is paramount in any industrial setting, and cobots are no exception. Neglecting safety measures can lead to accidents, injuries, and damage to equipment. Cobots are designed to work safely alongside humans, but failure to implement proper safety protocols can pose significant risks.

Solution: Prioritize safety by implementing safety-rated sensors, protective barriers, and clearly defined work zones for cobots and humans. When designing or purchasing a Vention cobot palletizer solution, we will suggest safety devices such as e-stop modules, light curtains, safety panels, and more. Vention’s controller, MachineMotion, also has safety features built into the technology, so you don’t have to do the coordination yourself. The full safety ecosystem is assessed as per ISO 13849-1/-2, ensuring that safety is a top priority.

In addition, regularly conduct safety assessments and provide training on safety protocols for all personnel working with or around cobots. When deploying your first cobot cell, here are five safety standards you should know. 

5. Ignoring Regular Maintenance:

Similar to any machinery, cobots require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. Ignoring routine maintenance can lead to unexpected breakdowns, increased downtime, and a decline in robotic palletizing efficiency.

Solution: Establish a regular maintenance schedule for the cobot and its associated equipment. This includes inspecting the robot’s joints, sensors, and end-of-arm tooling. Address any issues promptly and perform software updates to keep the cobot operating at its best.

For 24/7 monitoring of the performance and health of your cobot palletizer, MachineAnalytics provides you with detailed insights and historical data. This groundbreaking remote monitoring technology allows you to catch issues before they lead to unexpected downtime, saving you time, resources, and costs. 

6. Failure to Optimize Workflows:

Cobots are most effective when seamlessly integrated into optimized workflows. Failure to analyze and optimize the entire palletizing process, from product placement to palletizing patterns, can result in suboptimal efficiency and increased cycle times.

Solution: Implement intelligent software to configure your palletizer cobot and adjust palletizing patterns based on real-time data. It will help you optimize the layout of the production area to minimize the palletizing cobot’s travel distances and maximize its productivity.

Vention’s Pallet Configurator tool is an all-in-one pallet builder solution to configure, program, and operate your palletizer to exact specifications. In just a few easy steps, you have a fully operational palletizer that is optimized for your needs. 

7. Overlooking Communication and Connectivity:

In a modern industrial setting, connectivity is key. Cobots must seamlessly communicate with machines, sensors, and the central control system. Overlooking communication protocols and connectivity requirements can hinder the overall efficiency of the robotic palletizing process.

Solution: Ensure that the cobot is integrated into the broader communication network of the production facility. Use standardized communication protocols to enable seamless data exchange between the cobot and other devices. Ensuring proper communication between stations, whether it’s a pallet wrapper following the palletizer robot or a conveyor system preceding it, is essential.

Vention’s MachineMotion is a plug & play motion controller that bridges the gap between the cloud and the factory floor. Certified to Canadian, US, and European standards, MachineMotion includes control modular, code-free software, open-source development, and more.

8. Underestimating Payload and Reach Limits:

Each cobot model has a specific payload and reach limits. Exceeding these limits can result in mechanical stress, reduced accuracy, and potential damage to the robot. Underestimating the importance of staying within these limits is a common mistake in robotic automated palletizing operations.

Solution: Thoroughly understand the payload and reach capabilities of the cobot model being used. Design palletizing tasks within these specifications to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the robot. If necessary, consider upgrading to a cobot with a higher payload or adding a robot 7th axis for increased reach capacities to meet evolving production needs.

With Vention’s range of cobot palletizer solutions, we have a solution for most payload and reach requirements. If we do not, our team is able to easily create a custom solution to match your unique requirements. 

* Video at 2x speed


Cobot palletizing offers a range of benefits, including enhanced efficiency, flexibility, and precision. However, avoiding common mistakes is crucial to harnessing the full potential of collaborative robots in palletizing operations. By prioritizing proper planning, safety measures, maintenance, and more, you can optimize your robotic palletizing processes and enhance overall productivity. 

If you are looking at adding an industrial robot palletizer, many of these common mistakes also apply. With continuous advancements in automation technology, staying informed about best practices and evolving solutions is essential for achieving sustainable success in the dynamic landscape of industrial automation and manufacturing.

Additional palletizer resources: 
8 Steps to Selecting the Right Cobot Palletizer
7 Advantages of Automating Palletizing
Mastering the Basics: Palletizing 101

Ready to kick-start your palletizing journey? Want to begin seeing a return on investment in 9 months or less? Contact our team of experts today.

Back to blog