What you need to know about packaging machinery and automating your packaging operation

5 mins

When considering introducing packaging machinery to automate your packaging operation you will likely already have an idea as to what processes could benefit from automation we have compiled a quick guide to help identify the biggest benefits.

When considering introducing packaging machinery to automate your packaging operation you will likely already have an idea as to what processes could benefit from automation. There are a large number of packaging processes that can be automated including pallet wrapping, box sealing, strapping and void fill.

We have compiled a guide to packaging machinery to help you learn about your options and decide what could better benefit and streamline your packaging process.

Void fill automation

When packing boxes with cushioning or void fill there are many different kinds of void fill to choose from, of which standard bubble wrap and foam chips are the most common. However there are other more environmentally friendly and efficient options on the market that can also be automated for larger scale usage.

Air bag cushioning comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes these days and is a more efficient way of filling the space between your product in the box. While the material is still plastic, it is fully recyclable and uses a lot less material than traditional bubble wrap meaning less waste. More pertinent to this article though, is that airbags can be blown up on site using a variety of airbag machines which take up little space and the bag material itself taking up significantly less space than bubble wrap rolls or foam chip bags. The machines are generally very compact, efficient and capable of producing void fill air cushions very quickly on demand. If space saving is a priority for you then this is definitely a valid option to consider.

With regards cost, it may be worth looking around as if you are using a significant amount of void fill some suppliers may lend you the machine free of charge with a pre agreed purchase amount of the air bags.

Paper void fill is another option that has the ability to automate the production of and is widely seen as the most environmentally friendly option. Paper void fill machines crumple and gather the paper in ways specifically designed to optimise the strength and cushioning ability of the paper. Ideal for high volume operations paper void fill machines create this void fill from rolls of brown paper at an extremely fast rate and like the airbags, use much less space storing paper rolls than bags of foam chips or bubble wrap. They also come in a number of sizes and models to suit a range of budgets and uses.

Automatic box taping machines

Automatic box taping machines or box sealers,work by driving a box/boxes through a tape dispensing unit applying pressure sensitive tape uniformly and quickly at rates of around 20/minute removing the need to seal boxes by hand which can be time consuming and untidy.

Using an automatic box sealer is only justifiable for large volume operations but the benefits can be significant in such situations, from speeding up your operation to reducing repetitive strain injury for packers and improving the presentation of your boxes.

Automatic strapping machines

If you are already using strapping to add reinforced security to your packaging you are likely using hand held strapping tools however an automatic strapping machine will inevitably make this job much faster and simpler cutting, wrapping and sealing the strapping around your packages quickly and effectively ensuring the seals are secure guaranteed to hold. Again in large volume operations of 50 or more packages a day this could significantly improve productivity.

Automatic pallet wrap machines

Automatic pallet wrap machines wrap entire pallets at the touch of a button, which if you are currently wrapping pallets by hand you will know is not an easy job to do and can be very time consuming, not to mention that to get the most from your pallet wrap, getting the tension right is vital. Wrapping pallets by hand can compromise the stability of the pallet load and often results in the overuse of stretch film leading to higher materials cost and more waste produced.

Wrapping pallets with stretch film is one of the most effective ways to secure loads for shipping and hence getting it right is important. However it is also the area of packaging with the most scope for error which can be very costly to businesses. There have also been significant steps forward in the technology of Stretch films which rely heavily on being applied in the right way to maximise efficiency but when done so can considerably cut cost and reduce waste making time saving achieved through automation almost a secondary benefit.

If you are looking to take your first steps in automating some of your packaging operations and you are currently wrapping 20 or more pallets a day this is definitely a product worth considering.

If you are not sure what products may be suitable for your operation or you need further advice in deciding if automation is right for you please get in touch and we will arrange for one of our experts to consult and talk through your options.