Modern case packing and end-of-line product preparation have technologically grown and expanded upon the traditional methods of packaging. Automation is the fastest growing and most promising technique for the contemporary packing of materials, with seemingly endless applications and wide possibilities for system integration. The sleek, dynamic machines of today have transformed the process of packing into a seamless art, taking with them the core mechanics of packing and improving on them with today’s technologies.
The Importance of Automation and Case Packing
Automated process and modern advancements in case packing have widely diversified the production potential and applications of automation technologies. Two of the greatest tangible resources of any company are that company’s time and money. In the production industry, this requires goods and products be produced and distributed with the utmost efficiency and cost effectiveness in mind.
With today’s high consumer demand for skillfully produced and economical products, many companies have made the most of modern automation and case packing solutions to thrive in the production market. Recent trends in packing technologies and electronic automation have revolutionized the traditional mechanics of packaging, changing and consolidating many packing processes for ideal efficiency and low cost alternatives.
Semi-Automatic Automation in Packaging
Semi-automatic automation is an effective packaging option for unhurried packaging jobs, where high-level full automation would be an unrealistic use of costly resources, and case-by-case manual packaging would drain valuable labor energy. Having a semi-automatic automation system, like those created by Wexxar/BEL, provides an effective and appropriate streamlining of the packing process for productions with line speeds below ten cases per minute. Cost-effective, and with eased employee labor stresses, semi-automatic automation has the potential to return on its investment in as little as six months.
The Four Packaging Techniques
Case packing today has evolved and divided into four key categories, each using different methods, techniques and technologies to manipulate paperboard and sealing elements in their processes.
Top load case packing is ideal for quicker packing operations of up to thirty units per minute, where it contributes to a much more sleek and versatile packaging production. Ideal for handling both flexible and rigid products, top case load packing has evolved with the cost and efficiency demands of production, thriving today as a single cell solution to the traditional module format. Conventionally, the top load packing process is completed with three separate “module” machines, specializing in case and tray erection, product loading, and case and tray sealing. Single cell technologies, self-contained packing machines performing the three duties of module machines, have emerged as the modern choice in top load case packing, operating with productive and intermittent motion. These machines can be engineered to improve product collation and loading techniques.
Side load case packing is the industry-preferred method of packaging for high-speed, high-volume consumer products, and is used to make production operations on the multi-national scale possible. Side load packing machines function in an uninterrupted mechanical nature, quickly flowing through the packing motions at speeds above 75 cases per minute. This packaging method is ideal for one-piece, wraparound casings. As the technology of packaging systems advances with time, many manufacturers now utilize fully electronic side load packing models, and customizations improving the product conditioning and infeed operations. Servo technologies, such as those created by Douglas Machine Inc., are often regarded as the most cost-effective and reliable side load case packing options.
Drop case packing, a traditional and inexpensive method most often used in the packaging of glass, composite containers or hard plastic, remains today in widespread use by beverage packaging companies. While cost-efficient when compared to today’s modernized top load alternatives, drop case machines are typically bulky and mechanically driven, required frequent maintenance procedures, a disadvantage to today’s electronic machinery.
Bottom load case packing is the conventionally applied method of packing in the dairy and publishing industries. The technique has slowly fallen out of wide use in favor of more modernized technologies, as bottom load packing relies and operates on advanced preparation and staging of products by manufacturers. The process of bottom load case packing is relatively slow when compared to other contemporary methods, and many applications for the method have improved to more advanced, effective and profitable techniques.
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