Choosing Cartoning and Case Packing Machines

The decision to move to cartoning equipment or a case packing system can be challenging. It involves more than just the specs of the machines, affecting many of your processes and staffing decisions, not to mention a potentially large impact on your bottom line. As a result, you and your team can get hung up weighing the pros and cons of the types of machines, the extent of automation, the true cost of labor on your lines, and so on.

To help with this process, this article covers the main issues you need to consider when deciding between changing to a case packing system, full-blown cartoning equipment, or staying with your current manual approach.

Key Considerations

The first thing to consider is the goal of the project. Are you trying to improve the efficiency and volume of your packaging operation? Are you trying to reduce injuries by eliminating repetitive tasks for your employees? Knowing exactly what you are trying to accomplish goes a long way toward helping you with all other decisions.

What is the nature of the product you are targeting? Many products are best suited for a vertical packing system. Knowing this rules out a large number of possibilities and simplifies your job.

If the product in question is well suited for horizontal packing, you have many more options. But, of course, more options mean more machines to consider, and more time spent choosing between those options.

What packing speed do you need? Buying too much machine, or too little, to meet your actual needs makes no sense and could be a costly mistake. An accurate number here also greatly simplifies your life, by ruling out all machines that can’t efficiently deliver your target packing speeds.

What level of machinery can your staff maintain? Unless you are willing to hire support staff or to pay for help to come in whenever a machine needs adjustments and maintenance, the ability of your staff is critical. The most sophisticated, efficient machine is useless if your company can’t keep it running.

How automated do you want or need to be? While a fully-automated system certainly has appeal, the more automatic the process, the more expensive the machine, and that cost is measured in more than just the price of the machinery.

Completely replacing the staff that currently packs your product has financial and morale costs. You may well find that automating part of the process with a case packing machine makes more overall sense for your business than going with fully-automated cartoning equipment.

In Conclusion

The decision to replace manual labor with case packing or cartoning equipment is complicated. Done right, it will almost certainly improve your bottom line along with the efficiency and productivity of your facility. Just as with any other major business decision, there are numerous factors that you need to consider to make an optimal decision. This article outlines the major factors you need to consider to ensure that you choose the case packing or cartoning equipment that makes the most sense for your business.

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