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What makes Sleever Different from Cartoner?

Either cartoner or sleever can be used for the sleeve packaging to wrap ready meal trays, yogurt cups, canned fish, dairy bottles, and so forth with cardboard sleeves. But what makes them different from each other? Read this article to get an unbiased analysis of  the pros and cons between sleever and cartoner for wrap around sleever packaging.

Comparing Pre-glued sleeve and wrap-around sleeve

Topics: Cardboard Sleeve Packaging, Cartoning Machine, Wrap-Around Sleever

Questions to Answer:

  • How cartoning machine works for cardboard sleeve?
  • How wrap-around sleever works for sleeve packaging?
  • What is differences, advantages and disadvantages between sleever and cartoner for sleeve packaging?

What is Cardboard Sleeve Packaging?

What is cardboard sleeve packaging? In the food, dairy, drinks and beverage industries, cardboard sleeve packaging is one of the most typical secondary packaging where containers such as trays of ready meals and yogurt cups in multipack are wrapped around by cardboard sleeves.

Pre-glued sleeve and flat sleeve blank

According to how much primary packaging are there in the sleeve-wrapped package, products with cardboard sleeve packaging can be defined into two types as follows:

  • Individual package

A piece of a cardboard sleeve wraps around a single package of the container. For example,

    • microwavable meals.
    • a tray of fruit (apples) wrapped by cardboard sleeve in a cavalier style

Ready to cook and ready to eat meals packaging

  • Multipack Sleeve

There is a large variety of multipack sleeve packaging. For example,

    • Thermoformed yogurt cups in 2×2 or 2×3 packages and wrapped in a cardboard sleeve
    • Separated yogurt or snap cups wrapped by cardboard sleeve with rim (aperture or edge-lock)
    • Bottles, usually in a neck-through manner, wrapped by a cardboard sleeve

Yogurt Cups in Multipack 2x2

In terms of the types of cardboard sleeves used, sleeve-wrapped packages can be categorized into two forms:

  • Those wrapped by pre-glued sleeves
  • Those were wrapped by unglued flat sleeve blanks

Please bear in mind the two types of cardboard sleeves, so that you can get the idea easier while we start to compare cartoner and sleever when working for the packaging automation of sleeves.


How Does Cartoner Work for Cardboard Sleeve Packaging?

In the circumstances where the sleeve packaging automation is done by a cartoner, the sleeve to be used is most probably pre-glued sleeve.

The way cartoner machines work for cardboard sleeves is just like how it does for carton boxes.

The cartoner erects the blanks and completes the insertion. In the case of sleeve packaging, there is no need for a tuck-in or adhesive closure on the two ends. In contrast to carton boxes, cardboard sleeves have their two ends open without any structure.

Pre-Glued Sleeve Cartoning Machine

Pre-glued sleeves are sometimes featured by a folding line (die line) on the side panel. 

This is to make it possible for the pre-glued sleeves can be folded as blanks when the top size and bottom size of the sleeve are different.

To understand what this means, imagine the cross-section of carton box and pre-glued sleeve. The former is rectangle while the latter is conical.

Look at the following picture of ambrosia’s vegan ready meal which is wrapped in pre-glued sleeve. You can find that there is a die line on the packaging.

Amvrosia microwabale prepared meal


How Does Sleever Work for Sleeve Packaging?

The way sleevers work for cardboard sleeve packaging that differentiates from that of cartoners is that sleever machines apply unglued flat sleeve blanks.

Sleeve Wrap-Around Packaging

In contrast to pre-glued sleeves which have die lines. The wrap-around sleeve packaging formed by sleever makes it not necessary to prepare the blanks with such die lines.

The final result is that sleever can form tighter sleeve packaging than that with pre-glued sleeves.

Moreover, it is easier to pack multipacks in cardboard sleeves with wrap-around sleever, given the wrap-around packaging pattern and compared with the end-load feature when pre-glued sleeves are used.


Contrast and Comparison between Cartoner and Sleever

Understanding the pros and cons of cartoner and sleever when they are used for cardboard sleeve packaging is essential before deciding to implement packaging automation for your business.

The fact is that we have discussed in the previous chapter the basic concept of cartoner and sleever when applied for sleeve packaging, to review them shortly.

When cartoner machines are used for sleeve packaging

  • The Pre-glued sleeve is used and the packaging is done by end-loading
  • It is frequently to form single packaging rather than multipacks

When sleever machines are used for sleeve packaging

  • Sleever applies unglued flat sleeve blanks
  • The packaging pattern is wrapping the sleeve blank around the containers
  • They are more flexible than cartoner to form multipacks
SleevePre-glued sleevesUnglued Flat Sleeve Blanks
PackageSingle PackagingSingle Package and Multipacks


Beyond the above differences, we can also tell that when it comes to consideration of sanitation, food-grade issue, packaging line application, and budget, understanding the differences bettwen sleever and cartoner is critical.

  • Sleevers are more flexible for on-line application

Especially when it comes to multipack application, sleever machines are more flexible than cartoners. Sleevers are frequently straight-fed and thus are more flexible to get connected with upstream machinery such as filling machines, thermoformers and tray sealers. However, the synchronization with the bucket conveyor of cartoner is more difficult than how sleevers are synchronized with these machines.

  • Sleevers are specifically designed for food application

While both cartoner or sleever can be designed with washdown construction. The sleever is more food-application-oriented with the more reasonable structure for washdown construction.

  • However, Sleevers are more expensive than cartoners

Unlike that there are a lot choices with cartoner from intermittent to continuous, sleevers are most frequently built to be superior due to the circumstances and situation where they will be used – food facilities where there are speared and spilled around food materials. More concerns are given to hygiene, water-proof, food safety, and so forth, all these make sleever more expensive than cartoner.

Sleeve Packaging Machine for Single Serve-Entrees


Are you Looking for Packaging Machine for Cardboard Sleeve?

We believe that till this stage we have introduced sufficiently the details about cartoner and sleever when they are applied to cardboard sleeve packaging.

With our expertise in the topic, we’d like to ask you whether you are looking for packaging machines for wrapping your products with cardboard sleeves or not? If so, ELITER Packaging Machinery is here to help with your packaging automation plans.

ELITER Packaging Machinery is a manufacturer and global supplier of both cartoner machines and wrap-around sleever which can be applied to exactly the cardboard sleeve packaging we talk about. We we offer:

No hesitation, get in contact with us by sending an email to: or call us by +86 139 588 12103

Sleeve wrap around cartoner machine




About the Authors

Zixin Yuan
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Zixin Yuan - LinkedIn

Zhiwei Bao
Company Owner
Zhiwei Bao - LinkedIn

About the Company
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery Co., Ltd
No.1088, Jing Ye Rd, Economic Development Zone, Dong Shan District, Ruian Wenzhou Zhejiang, China 325200
+86 (0577) 6668 2128
ÉLITER Packaging Machinery