Packaging Automation with Carton Packaging Systems
Packaging Automation with Carton Packaging Systems
In your manufacturing operation, efficiency is King. Any opportunity you have to save time, money, or raw materials, (or all three) should be a no-brainer. Even in the last few steps of your process, post actual production—packaging and shipping—every second, and every penny has the potential to make a huge difference when we consider high volume applications. When it comes to packaging automation, we at CRG think that some of the biggest drains of resources (especially time) are from finishing production to retail packaging, to cartoning, and then palletizing.
Until recently, it was very difficult to automate any of these processes, especially cartoning, with a single product, as each application’s needs, dimensions, durability, etc. can be vastly different. Designing an automated system with enough variability to handle all the intricacies necessary seemed an impossible task.
If you could automate cartoning, just imagine the benefits your whole operation would receive.
Automatic Cartoning Machines for Speed and Efficiency
Human error. Wasting time. Traditional manual cartoning processes are often prone to these and other pitfalls. But imagine if you could do in one minute what a single worker could accomplish in an hour? This would mean having to readjust your entire efficiency scale, as no improvement possible by a worker would even show as statistically significant after that kind of jump in productivity. There would be no more bottleneck or stacks of finished product waiting to be packaged and shipped, often requiring “all-hands-on-deck” overtime to keep caught up to the point where production doesn’t have to slow down due to lack of space.
Precision from Packaging Automation
If your product is delicate or fragile, the precision that robotics can automate is not just a luxury, it is a necessity. From the most gentle picking, fine touch positioning, and slight handling, an automatic cartoning machine could take a good deal of the issues that arise from human fallibility and inconsistency out of your manufacturing equation. Not only will this benefit your bottom line tremendously, but your customers will be receiving more consistent and higher quality products.
Because the consistency and quality are increasing for your customer, your value as a supplier becomes truly magnified, concreting your place in your customers’ buying strategies even further when they realize you have just delivered their entire order a week ahead of schedule, “just because.” Carton packaging automation and other post-production processes can all contribute to this precision and perceived value increase.
Versatility For Multiple Products with an Automated Carton Packing System.
Every manufacturer inevitably makes more than one single product. Even if only slightly different like a size run of one product, etc. The variability of dimensions and handling needs for each finished piece even within a single item’s size run can be incredibly different with each iteration, requiring an ideal cartoner to be the ultimate versatile machine, capable of practically any motion, and depending on the seals for the cartons themselves, the system must be capable of closing, sealing, and if necessary, serializing and recording for tracking purposes all while handling each item with perfect precision.
It's a good thing we were finally able to “come to grips” with these ideas to create something truly revolutionary for the manufacturing industry.
Packaging Automation Leads to an Overall Reduction of Labor Costs.
Now, it’s no secret that automating tasks usually leads to a reduction of labor costs. Being that we are on the precipice of a truly revolutionary time in human history with the advent of AI, I urge employers to look beyond just “cutting costs” and identify what the 5 workers that a single automated cartoning machine could replace can contribute to your operation or the project in other ways. Humans all have their own set of talents and gifts, and knowing where your employees’ strengths lie will become more and more important as this decade progresses in terms of protecting their job and sense of stability. Perhaps you have an artist or a creator on your team that has been hiding out and not using their talents, or a closet engineer that has an idea for a new enhancement to one of your products—now would be the time to suggest, and even coerce them into following their calling.
Traceability and Quality Control from Automatic Cartoning Machines
I already briefly spoke about serialization in the section above about versatility as a requirement, but for many industries, including consumer electronics and food production, tracking, traceability, serialization, and quality control all fit together like an intricate self-wearing glove, perhaps something like you’d see in an M.C. Escher drawing.
When human health and safety is a concern, or when pieces cost an amount that would not be easy for a manufacturer to swallow if a replacement were to be necessary, tracking individual components into which serial number product each component was placed into, and thusly what carton, case, pallet, container, and even ship becomes a priority.
If the USDA identifies an outbreak of listeria in Spinach from a certain region, for example, issuing a recall on any products contaminated with that spinach must be easily identified, located, and removed from the shelves for the recall.
If your carton packaging automation system doesn’t afford you the opportunity to do this easily and with a high degree of customizability and variability, then it might be worthwhile considering an alternative system, especially if it doesn’t offer the next feature, and if you expect your operation to remain relevant into the next decade.
Industry 4.0 integration with carton packaging automation
First coined in 2011 at the Hannover Messe trade fair in Germany, the fourth industrial revolution combines all things digital into the manufacturing environment. New developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data have led to some trends that are currently unfolding in the manufacturing industry.
These range from digital twins (virtual replicas of physical systems to enable real-time monitoring and enhance maintenance predictions) to edge computing, 5g connectivity and smart factories: Manufacturing facilities evolving into environments where all parts of the production process are interconnected, and the systems can collaborate seamlessly, ultimately leading to production process optimization. At the minimum, your packaging automation should be capable of integration at this level, if not at the level of the projected future of Industry 4.0:
The future of manufacturing holds many exciting new technological innovations, including expansion of blockchain technologies to enhance transparency, security and traceability, completely autonomous manufacturing, human-machine collaboration, and the ultimate goal—truly sustainable manufacturing.
CRG offers a solution that not only meets but surpasses all these desires and requirements listed here: the C-IMC Automated Cartoner. Check out the complete specs here, as they are too incredible to attempt to concatenate. If you have a future innovation or technology that you think is important that we left off this list, let us know!