Automated packaging is a popular topic at the start of a new year. After a busy peak period, many businesses start to think about how they can improve their production lines. There are lots of ways businesses can increase production, including packaging automation.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of packaging automaton, the types of packaging machinery available and show you 10 decisive benefits that automated packaging can offer.
What is packaging automation?
Packaging automation is when automated tools and packaging machinery is used to increase the speed of packing alongside manual processes. It ensures consistency, reduces material waste and helps generate cost savings in the long run.
Using automated packing systems allows you to reassign valuable resource to high value tasks or in a way that better suits your operation too. You can enhance most aspects of a packaging process; from picking and packing through to conveying and wrapping, there are packaging machines for it all.
There are semi-automated and automatic solutions available for a range of applications and businesses of different sizes.
Types of packaging automation and machinery available
You can automate almost any part of the packing process. Popular types of automated packaging include:
- Box automation – you can automate case erection and case making with case erectors, helping you get a perfectly shaped box every time!
- Bag automation – if you’re bagging product, auto bagging machines are available to speed up production, including systems that run both paper and polythene bags.
- Tape automation – rapidly sealing boxes with a case sealer that uses machine tape or a gummed paper tape machine can help you process more packs per hour.
- Stretch automation – using semi-automated pallet wrappers is a great solution for any business using more than 15 pallets per day. Fully automated and horizontal wrappers are available for high-demand operations too!
- Strapping automation – an extensive range of banding machines are available, from handheld welding tools through to fully automated strapping machines that apply pallet banding for you.
- Protective automation – easy to install into existing packing areas, inflatable air void fill machines and paper cushioning machines can be used to keep your products safe during transit.
- Paper automation – from wrapping through to void fill and cushioning, you can choose from a wide range of paper packaging machinery to enhance your operation.
- Polythene automation – heat shrink tunnels and heat sealers can make light work of bundling and packing products!
You can also automate picking and warehouse movement with robotics and conveyor networks.
10 decisive benefits of automated packaging
So, why should you think about upgrading to automated packaging? Here are 10 decisive benefits for you to consider:
- Improved productivity – in most lean supply chains, time is of the essence. You want to get your product packed and out the door as quickly as possible. Enter automated packaging systems. You can speed up your pack times exponentially! For example, some case sealers and auto bagging machines can produce up to 30 packs per minute!
- Reduced downtime – implementing packaging automation can often mean less downtime. As many packaging machines have a large capacity, your team can often reduce the time spent fetching packaging or replenishing manual workstations.
- Control over labour costs and allocation – improving your productivity has a knock-on effect on your labour costs and allocation. Using packaging automation allows you to cut the need for temporary labour during peak periods and reallocate permanent resource to your most high-value tasks.
- Enhanced health and safety – as packaging automation removes manual processes, it can have a positive influence on your staff health and safety! For example, it often lowers the risk of repetitive strain injuries or accidents associated with manually adjusting packaging (e.g. cutting boxes down with knives).
- Lower packaging waste and improved sustainability – using automated packaging can control how much material you use – this can help you lower packaging waste and improve your overall sustainability, as your pack size will be optimised throughout your supply chain.
- Improved packaging process quality control – packaging automation can remove the element of human error. No more over or under packing, an automated packing system will use the right amount of material every time. You’ll get consistent pack size and appearance, as well as the above-mentioned reduced packaging waste!
- Fewer damages – the improved packaging consistency can help you reduce damages that occur during shipping too, as your packaging is optimised every time.
- Better parcel palletisation – consistently sized packs can help improve palletisation, you may be able to get more packs on a pallet or improve your pallet strength and durability via improved stacking.
- Lower transport costs – the optimised packaging achieved through automation can help you control transport and courier costs. You may have lighter packs, improved cubage and better palletisation, which all have a positive knock-on effect.
- Space released in your warehouse – in addition to the above benefits, using automated packaging systems can even save you space! Many machines have compact footprints and switching to automation may allow you to condense the packaging materials you keep in your warehouse, releasing valuable space for your product.
With these 10 benefits of packaging automation in mind, now might be the time for you to consider implementing it!
Support with packaging automation in 2024
At Macfarlane Packaging, we can help you transform your operation with packaging automaton. Click here to learn more about how we can help with automation or get in touch today to book some time with our automation experts.