Vacuum handling in the commissioning sector

Flexible handling and palletizing of cardboard boxes of various sizes and weights containing wooden parts.

The production of many different wooden parts has been completed and the individual parts have been packed carefully in a cardboard box. The only thing left to do is to move the cardboard box to the commissioning position and to place it on a pallet with other goods.

Basically, this is no problem, but the cardboard box is rather large and its contents are heavy.

So what do you do?

Option 1:

You either employ at least two people to handle the box.


Option 2:

 Purchase some type of device to do the job. This device must be capable of handling and palletizing boxes with dimensions between 1,500 x 300 x 200mm and 2,900 x 300 x 300mm with weights between about 20kg and 80kg, and should need only one person to operate it. Furthermore, the device should be easy to use, flexible, easily installed and, above all, not cost too much. Last but not least, the device must be able to cover a large working area.


This was more or less what a company asked the vacuum and handling specialists Schmalz (represented by Millsom Materials Handling in Australia and New Zealand) to supply. But that was not all: the wide range of different cardboard boxes demanded an extremely flexible handling device. In spite of being banded, the packages with their heavy contents were sometimes deformed. Also, the cardboard boxes were not particularly rigid, which made them difficult to grip and move. As in many other cases, Schmalz were able to provide a solution for this combined material-flow and handling task and, what's more, they were able to build it almost completely with components from their standard modular system for vacuum handling systems.

The device consisted of a vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo 85 for a maximum load of 85kg, a double gripper with suction pads which can be adjusted longitudinally, a blower to generate the vacuum and a slewing column crane SKJ 110 capable of lifting loads of up to 110kg.


The slewing column crane can either be screwed to the floor or mounted on a base plate (which permits mobile use), carries the vacuum tube lifter JumboErgo. With its 4-metre jib and a slewing angle of 270° the crane can move loads freely over a large working area. The double gripper of the JumboErgo is capable of lifting cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes from the packing table, transporting them safely and positioning them precisely on the waiting pallet. The vacuum for gripping the boxes is provided by the blower, which means that the entire system needs only a mains voltage of 400 V and no other connections are necessary.

The responsible people and, above all, the operator of the vacuum handling device, were very satisfied with this simple but effective and economical solution. Whereas two persons were normally needed in the past for the manual commissioning and palletizing work, and their work was strenuous and presented a health hazard, one person can today do all the work with the aid of the vacuum handling device. The handling result is far less damage to the goods to be transported and the task of placing boxes on top of a stack on the pallet is far easier.

For further information visit Millsom Materials Handling at