Packaging Machinery

Packaging machinery: Addressing 5 common operational challenges with technology

5 mins

In the world of packaging, an efficient operation is a core part of a successful business. However, operational challenges are something every business will face, and these can affect how efficient your packaging process really is.

Whether that be a bump in productivity levels due to staff shortages, or inconsistencies that hinder the protection of shipped products, inefficiencies are something that must be addressed.

By relying on technology and packaging machinery, many businesses overcome these common challenges and experience significant productivity boosts. In this article, we explore five typical operational challenges and how packaging machinery can help businesses overcome them.

1. Labour costs

Labour costs can be a significant expense for most businesses, especially when considering factors such as payroll taxes, holiday, sick pay, and training. If a business is looking to expand in the future, the cost of hiring additional staff can reduce profits. Additionally, offering enhanced rates for unsociable shifts or paying workers to stand around between different product runs can further increase labour costs.

However, with the addition of automated packaging machinery, businesses can offset these costs in a couple of ways. Here’s how.

By automating the packaging process, businesses can save time allowing staff to be reallocated to other tasks. Swiftpak tested hand wrapping a pallet versus machine wrapping and the result was clear. Hand wrapping on average took 101 seconds and machine wrapping took 54 seconds. This is a time saving of 47%. If you only look at the 1 pallet, it might not look like a big saving but if you wrap for example 30 pallets a day, that’s a time saving of almost 2 hours per week.  

As well, packaging machinery can reduce the need for unsociable shift rates. With just a few workers required to operate machinery, less employees are on shift, helping keep labour costs under control.

2. Packaging waste

Mistakes are an inevitable part of human involvement in the packaging process. These errors can lead to various issues such as damaged products, overfilled containers, and the usage of excessive packaging material, resulting in an accumulation of waste and significant losses in profits.

However, by utilising automatic packaging machinery, many of these problems can be mitigated.

As an example, the manual wrapping of a pallet with stretch wrap can be inefficient and wasteful. No matter how experienced the warehouse operative may be, it’s impossible to match the performance of an automated stretch wrap machine. Providing a tighter, more consistent wrap, not only can a stretch wrap machine reduce waste, but maximises the load security of pallets as well.

Stretch wrap machines can pull plastic stretch wrap to between 200% and 300% of its original size. This means that a stretch wrap machine can be up to 3x more efficient with materials than wrapping by hand.

3. Injuries in the workplace

Repetitive tasks can take a physical toll on workers, leading to strains and even long-term injuries. Beyond the ethical implications, this can result in significant expenses such as paying for sick leave, compensation, and potential legal action if a company is found negligent.

By utilising automation through packaging machinery, workers can be relieved of these repetitive tasks. For example, wrapping pallets manually, workers must repetitively bend down to reach the bottom of the pallet whilst holding a heavy pallet wrapper. But with the adoption of an automated pallet wrap machine, there is no need for any manual labour – something your employee’s back will thank you for.

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4. Limited floor space

Expanding production can be challenging when limited floor space is a concern, as it often leads to leasing more space or incurring higher business rates. However, automated packaging systems can help free up valuable space. Designed to be compact and often with multiple functions, automated machinery reduces the need for multiple stations and pieces of equipment that do the same job. For example, in order to output the same quantity of successfully wrapped pallets, you may require two or even three zones dedicated to wrapping pallets manually compared to one machine.

Whilst planning in necessary for the successful implementation of machinery, consulting with experts can make the process a lot smoother.

Here at Swiftpak, we have over 45 years of experience in the packaging world. Our mission is to make our customers’ packaging operations as productive and stress-free as possible, and the integration of machinery allows us to do just that. Our extensive range of automated packaging machines, combined with our knowledge in packaging operations, means we can recommend and supply the very best solution for your business. If you’re on the hunt for packaging machinery, why not speak to our team of experts – we’d love to help.

5. Inefficient pallet loads

Deliveries are a major piece to the packaging puzzle, and the optimisation of pallet loads can play a significant role in how efficient deliveries can be. By maximising the utilisation of each shipment, transportation space can be saved to decrease the number of trips required – minimising transport costs as well as reducing emissions. On top of this, an optimised pallet load is often secure, meaning the chance of damage in rough transport conditions is lowered. But where does packaging machinery come into this?

Strapping and stretch wrap machines can be used to optimise the load of pallets efficiently. This means greater load containment and stability on all pallets and deliveries, reducing the likelihood of damage to products during transit.

As a result, fewer damaged returns from customers and therefore fewer trips that need to be made.

Packaging machinery from Swiftpak

At Swiftpak, we have a large range of cost-effective packaging machinery aimed to increase productivity, packing quality, and the sustainability of your operation. These include machines for pallet wrapping, strapping, taping, void fill and shredders.

For more information on our packaging machinery, speak to one of our experts today, we’d love to let you know how your business could benefit from one of our solutions.