Automatic packaging: Why and how to bet on automated processes?
In this article, we want to share with you some important thoughts about automatic packaging.
If you are responsible for a company that sells goods, you are responsible for the logistics department or finding solutions to improve productivity and reduce costs are within your functions, the following ideas may interest you.
Stay to discover the current situation of automatic packaging, the advantages that automated packaging processes bring to a company and other reflections to decide if betting on it is a good decision for your business.
Automatic packaging: the future or the present?
“Automatic packaging is the future.”
What do you think about this statement?
There are many occasions when we refer to automation as a future event.
However, advances in commerce, technologies, the way companies operate, the demand for greater efficiency and many other factors have caused packaging automation to become a reality. And it has become a present fact, and not a future one, as we tend to mention sometimes.
Although it is true that there are a large number of companies that have not yet joined the packaging automation bandwagon.
However, if we want to maintain a good competitive position in the market, the automation of packaging processes, like automation in other areas, is a mandatory requirement.
If you have not yet made decisions aimed at automating your packaging procedures, here are the main reasons why you should bet on it or at least, evaluate.
On the contrary, if your company is already immersed in the world of packaging automation, the following points will serve to reinforce the correct decision you made back in the day or perhaps, to awaken new ideas.
What advantages does automatic packaging bring to my business?
We will tell you the advantages that automatic packaging can bring to your company.
Automatic packaging improves production efficiency
As production volumes get higher and higher, the demands on packaging processes also increase.
At this point, an automatic packaging process allows you to be more efficient and productive. Being able to produce a larger quantity in a shorter period of time and with lower costs.
In addition, meeting deadlines is easier when it comes to automated operations. This will allow you, in turn, to make more accurate calculations to better plan, control and coordinate the different processes of the logistics chain.
And all this, in short, improves production efficiency; a fundamental factor to operate in such a competitive market.
Automatic packaging results in more accurate and uniform packaging
As we already mentioned in an article on how to strap boxes, With automatic packaging, the accuracy when packing a product or a merchandise is superior to what a person could obtain performing the same function but manually.
When it comes to manual packaging processes, there is always the possibility of committing “human errors” that can cause damage to the goods or result in uneven packaging.
On the other hand, an automatic packaging machine applies the same parameters of position, pressure, speed, force,… to all packages and maintains them throughout the entire process. This gives a more uniform production and a higher quality packaging.
Although it is true that the goods could deteriorate due to various causes (sometimes inevitable or unpredictable) during transport and storage, automatic packaging reduces these risks. Which derives from that greater precision and quality of the packaging that we were commenting on.
Automatic packaging reduces the chances of waste of the product and packaging materials
The chances of product and material waste in an automated packaging process are reduced compared to manual processes.
Automatic packaging machines are designed to operate with precision and minimize failures during the process. As a consequence:
- On the one hand, the risk of deterioration of the product itself due to its handling during the process is low. Well, the machinery operates according to previously established parameters (power, speed, pressure, position, …) so that deterioration does not occur, one of the main functions of packaging. And in addition, the process is designed to keep the goods safe throughout the flow, as it also happens with the palletizing of goods (this is, in fact, one of the main advantages of palletizing). If the product to be protected is more delicate on top, it is almost essential to use one of these methods so that it arrives in the best conditions. Think about the packaging of a roll of extra-thin plastic wrap. If these rolls are handled by an operator, he could inadvertently spoil it, causing him to even have to discard that roll from the process. With which part of the production deteriorates and is wasted, incurring higher costs.
- On the other hand, in automated packaging lines the entire process (including times, material quantities, coil changes, …) is completely measured. This allows the consumables and packaging materials involved in the process to be wasted as little as possible (such as shrink wrap, strapping, stretch film, …).
Automatic packaging relieves the workload of operators
Automated packaging machines and robots are capable of imitating the movements that a person would make along the packaging line. Movements such as wrapping a pallet, placing and positioning products on a conveyor belt, strapping a load, forming a cardboard box, positioning the goods inside a box and closing it,…
Sometimes, these operations require repetitive movements, handling very heavy loads or other types of complex or tedious maneuvers for an operator.
And that is why automatic packaging can relieve the workload of operators. Allowing them to dedicate themselves to other types of functions within the logistics process.
Automatic packaging decreases the various process costs
As a result of the advantages that we have just discussed about automatic packaging, the costs in an automated packaging line are reduced.
Assuming cost savings thanks to higher productivity and efficiency, as well as the decrease in labor costs, the reduction of product breakages or waste, lower consumption of packaging materials,…
Does it compensate me to invest in automatic packaging?
As we have just seen, automatic packaging processes have many advantages.
Although it is true that it is necessary to assess in what circumstances and for what type of companies and production it is worth betting on it.
With today’s advances, the possibilities of automating any packaging function are really high, in addition to the sectors in which it can be applied.
There are various types of packaging and endless solutions for end-of-line packaging processes:
- Shrink wrapping of packages, products, pallets,…
- Operations for wrapping pallets
- Strapping processes
- Processes for forming cardboard boxes
- Filling of boxes with products positioned inside it in a certain way
- Box closing operation
- Wrapping functions for stacking and grouping products
- Product inspection for the identification of contaminating components within the product and other quality control functions
- Weighing of goods
- Printing and labeling of products
- Product description
- Merchandise movement functions
- And all kinds of automatic packaging solutions either to perform a specific function within the process or to create a completely integrated chain that carries out a multitude of combined solutions.
Here are some of the most common automatic packaging systems:
- Automatic cartoning machines
- Automatic overwrapping machines
- Automatic sleeving machines
- Wrap-around Sleeve packaging machines
- Wraparound sleever
- Cardboard sleeve wrapping machines
- Packaging printers
So the limitations to bet on automatic packaging are not so much in whether “it is technically possible to carry out the project”, but rather, in limitations in terms of company resources, adaptation to changes, monetary investment, profitability of the project or other types of business variables.