Columbia/Okura – Robotic Palletizers

Now this was a dirty job (as you can tell from my laptop power supply). But it was a fun job and a new challenge from my usual gigs. Columbia/Okura, a joint venture of Columbia Machine, Inc. and Okura Yusoki Co. Ltd, makes these incredible robotic systems to pack and load pallets. Watching them in action is pretty cool experience. The A1800 above can load 30+ cases from a loading point to a pallet in one minute. There’s 8 cans of paint in one case, so we’re talking 240 cans of paint load per minute. That’s ludicrous speed. And it’s accurate. Loading the stock at different angles for proper load distribution. All the robots are custom programmed and built to individual client specs.

Columbia Okura was looking for dramatic photos of their product lines for their new website and I was happy to oblige. These are pretty big machine systems that are built and tested right in their warehouse in Vancouver, WA. The goal of the lighting was to isolate the robot, end effector, and pallet system from the rest of the warehouse. Using big strobes and a fast shutter speeds, I was able to darken the background and give the machines a hero quality. The other part of the shoot involved showing the employees building and testing the systems. For those shots, I shot handheld and used a huge softbox for a natural looking fill. All in all, we got quite a large image library and you can see the shots in action over at

For more heavy metal, check out the shots below.