One of the world’s biggest air cargo handlers PACTL in Shanghai will be trying the first use of robots to build general cargo pallets this summer. This experiment could transform the air freight sector and bring significant improvements in productivity, quality and security.
Airis, logistics facilities developer, has concluded that 85-90% of general air cargo shipments handled by PACTL could be processed by robots.
Using robots could save up to 60% of the manpower involved in operations, with the payback for the investment in a robotic solution being less than two and a half years.
Three robots working on four workstations could build around 16 pallets per hour, or around 24 ULD3 containers. Apart from loading the cargo, each piece is automatically weighed, measured and covered with machine-readable tags by the robot, allowing each shipment to be identified down to piece level. In addition to productivity and manpower efficiency gains, there are also security and safety benefits as cargo will be untouched by humans.
Although this technology is new to air cargo, it has been used within the automotive sector for 25 years. It is believed that it is going to become part of the future.