Every year, more than 560 million tons of goods are moved in Spain, which travel palletized, that is, arranged on wooden pallets that facilitate transport, transfer, and the safety of the same.

Once palletized and at its destination, the phase of depalletizing the merchandise arrives. This process can be carried out manually, semi-automatically, or automatically, with automatic depalletizing being the option that more and more companies in our country are opting for.



Depalletizing is the process opposite to palletizing and involves systematically removing goods or materials from a pallet to place them on a production line. Generally, depalletizing constitutes the first stage of an industrial process, in which raw materials arrive loaded on a pallet at a facility.

Both palletizing and depalletizing are simple and repetitive tasks, which, if carried out inefficiently, can become a real bottleneck for production in facilities, especially if palletizing operators perform multiple functions at the same time.

When depalletizing becomes an obstacle to business production, it can lead to financial losses and reduced profitability for a business. To avoid this problem, it is crucial to implement structured and effective depalletizing strategies in the company. This is where the depalletizer comes into play.



 A depalletizer is a robotic machine that unloads (depalletizes) packages or products from a pallet. In other words, depalletizers enable the transfer of products and materials from pallets without the need for labor force intervention, thereby saving time, money, and effort.

In the market, we can find different types of depalletizing machines, depending on the features they offer and the material they are unloading from the pallet.

Modern depalletizers are equipped with a control system that stores product data and configures parameters such as speed, acceleration, and closing force with the aim of ensuring dynamic, safe, and precise material handling.

Typically, depalletizers are designed to remove a complete uniform layer from the pallet. However, the robotic industry has been incorporating advancements in its developments to shape the heterogeneous depalletizer, whose purpose is to remove items from a pallet individually. This implies the ability to selectively recognize products.

The most sophisticated systems incorporate advanced technologies that allow recognizing and unloading merchandise without knowing in advance the product to be handled or its position within the pallet. One of these systems is the AI Depalletizer.



 Automatic depalletizing of boxes of a single reference is something we have carried out in multiple projects using industrial robots with or without artificial vision cameras in all types of sectors, for cardboard boxes, bags, or KLTs, among others.

We have completed projects for depalletizing multi-product boxes and trays, as well as depalletizing different metal containers as the start of the product filling line in the food sector.

The next challenge to solve was heterogeneous depalletizing. Extracting products stacked on a pallet or container, without prior knowledge of the type of product to be handled or its location. To achieve a robust solution, in 2022 we started the AI Depalletizer project, which combines 3D cameras and software based on Artificial Intelligence Algorithms and developed by our R&D+i team.

Its development has been a complete success as its technology is applicable both to 100% heterogeneous depalletizing operations with random SKUs without a predetermined position, and to the depalletizing of semi-structured sets with single-reference products.

As a result, these latest generation depalletizers offer greater flexibility, adaptability, and efficiency, as the machine can handle mixed pallets. Thus, instead of following a uniform pattern, the heterogeneous depalletizer allows the robot to adapt its movement and select specific items from the pallet, depositing them in designated areas as needed.

Detailed information can be seen in its own section on Heterogeneous Depalletizing and other applications right here.


Increases efficiency 

Automated depalletizing improves the precision of the product handling process and reduces the risk of materials being lost or damaged.

Improves safety

Automating depalletizing avoids a manual and repetitive process subject to injuries and worker fatigue during handling.

Boosts productivity

Automatic depalletizing systems allow for faster removal of material from the pallet, in addition to eliminating productivity gaps caused by worker shortages, breaks, and injuries.

Reduces labor costs

Automatic depalletizers eliminate the need for manual labor, allowing these employees to focus their efforts on functions that add more value to the business.


Depalletizing of Food-Grade Plastic Plates 

The plastic plates handled in this project are used as a base for the production of chocolates and bonbons. Once they have been used, it is necessary to clean them thoroughly so they can be reused in the next production cycle. This Collaborative Robot from OMRON is responsible for depalletizing all the plates located on a pallet, to automatically load the washing machine. We use a 3D vision camera to precisely determine the location of the sheets. The design of the structure and accessories of the installation has taken into account the level of hygiene required by the high quality standards demanded by the food industry. 

Visit our dairy products section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Depalletising, extraction and labelling of cheeses.

Once the cheeses have reached the required stage of maturity, they are removed from the stackable trays and placed on a conveyor to be labelled, before being sent to the consumer.
For this task, we use a Fanuc robot equipped with a claw capable of handling the full trays, removing all the cheeses at the same time and placing them in a row on a conveyor.
We have also designed and manufactured the machine that performs the labelling for each cheese.
Visit our dairy products section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Automatic removal of spacer between layers for freezing.

Automatic solution that allows the removal of spacers that facilitate efficient freezing of products. In order to properly freeze the food contained in the cartons, cold air needs to flow properly between each layer of cartons.
Our solution includes 3 industrial robots that remove each layer of cartons and each separator to achieve a complete pallet free of plastic spacers. A cardboard separator is also placed between layers, or only on the first layer of the pallet.
To improve its stability, the entire pallet is wrapped and labelled with the required traceability data.
Visit our food and meat section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Depalletising plastic crates with returnable bottles.

Our automatic depalletising solution is based on a 3D artificial vision camera capable of locating the configuration and dimensions of each pallet. It sends this information to an industrial robot equipped with a gripper that picks up the complete layer and then releases the boxes onto a conveyor system that finally manages to send all the boxes on the pallet in a single row. Our 3D vision system provides great reliability to the process, guaranteeing the correct capture of each layer.

In the event that the boxes are damaged or there are foreign elements inside them, the process is stopped, notifying the system operator of the reason for the stop.


Visit our beverage section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Automation for the depalletising of canned glass containers.

This robotic cell performs 3 different functions.
- It depalletises the glass jars coming from the autoclave into stainless steel cages and leaves them in the quality inspection line.
- It takes the cans coming from the inspection line and places them on pallets, adding cardboard separator between each layer.
- Depalletises the cans that had been inspected and stored and leaves them on the final labelling line.
Once labelled and packed, another robotic cell installed by us performs the final palletising using a smaller robot and a comb gripper.
Visit our sauces section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Multi-format carton depalletising cell.

Automatic depalletising is also possible when the pallet contains cardboard boxes of different sizes.
In this case, the products inside the cartons have a weight that could cause the cartons to collapse.
For this reason, the "comb" type gripper is the most suitable, as it also holds the box from below, preventing the product from falling out.
The artificial vision system identifies the type and type of box, its dimensions and location in space, in order to proceed to its automatic unloading.

Depalletising cell for plastic trays.

This company automatically manages the service of orders from its product catalogue, so it needs a system capable of depalletising trays of different products that will make up the order of a specific distributor.
Our robotic installation is responsible for managing the entire pallet transit from the warehouse where the single-product pallets are located, as well as the exit to the transport that will take them to the final destination.
The gripper used allows tray depalletising to be carried out quickly and reliably, holding the trays by means of pneumatic drives.
It is completed with our automatic empty pallet stacking system that stores empty pallets and supplies them when necessary.

Cell for depalletising cans filled with meat.

The cans to be handled come from an autoclave, where they have been processed to maximise the preservation of the meat inside.
They are contained within a metal basket and there is a perforated plastic sheet separating each layer of cans.
A heavy-duty robot equipped with a magnetic gripper takes care of the automated removal of both the meat cans and the aforementioned plastic sheeting.
The meat cans are depalletised on a modular belt conveyor and then distributed onto multiple conveyors where the products are conveyed in rows to the labelling and packaging area.
Visit our meat section to see other applications installed in this sector.

Automation of the depalletising of PET cans.

This solution is the head of the production line in this vinegar producer.
Our system takes care of the dosing of the plastic containers which will be filled immediately afterwards.
A robot with high reach and loading capacity takes each cardboard tray full of cans and palletises it onto the can unloading area.
An in-house designed device picks up rows of cans and gently places them on the conveyor that will take them to the filling, capping and labelling area.
Visit our wines, vinegars and spirits section to see other solutions made in the sector.

Example of robotic automation for the depalletising of empty cans.

This is the opposite process to the one carried out in the can factories.
In this case, the depalletising of the empty metal containers is carried out in the company that processes the food with which they are to be filled.
The proposed solution consists of two chain conveyors for the infeed of full pallets, two magazines for frames, cartons and pallets, and several conveyors that are responsible for unpacking the layer of cans into a single row of cans.
Handling the complete layers of cans, as well as the frames, cartons and pallets, is a powerful 4-axis robot equipped with a gripper developed specifically for this type of process.
The complete design of the cell is carried out by the mechanical and electrical design department of Inser Robótica.
Visit our sauces section for more information.