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Palletizing - Comparing Low-Level and High-Level Systems

Posted by Kyle Kestler on April 26, 2023

Palletizing plays a crucial role in the logistics supply chains of food and beverage manufacturers, ensuring efficient and safe product handling. This post will explore the differences between low-level and high-level palletizing systems, comparing their layout flexibility, performance, and safety. We will also discuss how each system works, including layer formation, product accumulation, infeed impact, and the typical range of layers formed per hour. By the end, you will have a better understanding of which system might best suit your needs. 

Palletizing has long been a fundamental component in the logistics supply chain for food manufacturers. As a means to organize and transport goods, it helps improve warehouse efficiency, reduce product damage, and optimize space utilization. As technology has advanced, palletizing systems have evolved to offer a range of options catering to various needs within the food manufacturing industry. Understanding the differences between low-level and high-level palletizing systems is essential for making informed decisions about which type is best suited to your operation. 

Both low-level and high-level palletizing systems offer unique approaches to product accumulation, with low-level systems typically requiring more floor space and having a lower capacity, while high-level systems make more efficient use of vertical space and can handle higher throughput. Choosing the right system for your operation will depend on factors such as available space, throughput requirements, and the desired level of complexity in your palletizing process.

Low-level palletizing systems often use accumulation conveyors or buffer zones to temporarily store products while layers are being formed. This enables the system to continue receiving products from upstream processes without interruption. These accumulation areas can be designed with varying capacities, depending on the specific requirements of the food manufacturing operation. One potential drawback of low-level systems is that the accumulation area may require more floor space due to the horizontal nature of the system. Additionally, depending on the system design, there may be a limit to the number of products that can be accumulated, which can impact overall throughput if the rate of incoming products exceeds the system's capacity.

High-level palletizing systems typically have a more sophisticated approach to product accumulation, as they can make better use of vertical space. These systems often utilize vertical lifts, conveyor, or other mechanisms to raise products to the appropriate height for layer formation. This allows for more efficient use of space and can accommodate a greater number of products in the accumulation process. Furthermore, high-level systems can handle a higher rate of incoming products due to their increased speed and capacity, making them better suited for operations with high throughput requirements. However, it's important to consider the additional complexity and potential maintenance requirements associated with these more advanced accumulation mechanisms.


Both low-level and high-level palletizing systems offer layout flexibility to suit the unique needs of food manufacturing facilities. Low-level systems can be configured in various ways to optimize product flow and make use of available floor space, but they may require a larger footprint due to their horizontal design. On the other hand, high-level systems take advantage of vertical space, resulting in a more compact design that can be particularly beneficial in facilities with limited space or high throughput requirements. The choice between the two systems will depend on factors such as available floor space, production requirements, and the desired level of system complexity.

Low-level palletizing systems, also known as floor-level palletizers, are generally designed for operations with lower throughput requirements. These systems can handle a range of rates depending on the specific configuration and components used. In general, low-level palletizing systems can handle around 10 to 30 cases per minute. However, this rate can vary based on factors such as product size, weight, and packaging type, as well as the overall complexity of the palletizing process. While low-level systems may not be suitable for high-speed or large-scale operations, they can offer a cost-effective solution for smaller facilities or those with more modest throughput demands.

High-level palletizing systems, in contrast, are designed to accommodate higher throughput rates, making them more suitable for high-speed or large-scale operations. In general, high-level palletizing systems can handle anywhere from 30 to 60 or even more cases per minute, depending on the specific system configuration and application. Factors that can influence the achievable rate include product size, weight, and packaging type, as well as the overall complexity of the palletizing process and the degree of automation employed.

Both low-level and high-level palletizing systems are designed with safety in mind, incorporating features such as guarding, safety interlocks, and emergency stops. However, the elevated design of high-level systems may require additional safety measures or precautions during operation and maintenance. 

Low-level palletizing systems, while more affordable, can have limitations in terms of throughput, precision, and scalability. As a result, they might not be suitable for large-scale operations or those with rapid growth plans. Conversely, high-level palletizing systems, despite their superior performance, can be more expensive upfront and may require a more significant investment in maintenance and operator training. 

When choosing between low-level and high-level palletizing systems, it's essential to consider factors such as cost, throughput requirements, available space, and desired performance. By understanding the unique advantages and limitations of each system, you can make an informed decision that best supports the needs of your operation.

Ready to optimize your palletizing operations with a focus on automation and sustainability? Contact our team of experts today for a personalized consultation.

Topics: Palletizing, High-Level Palletizing, Low-Level Palletizing, Food Manufacturing