Automation to help you use less packaging material

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Automation is a great way to help you speed up the packing process, but did you know it can also ensure you use less packaging material?

If you think of automation, your initial image may be that of a high tech factory with robot arms whizzing around delivering precision engineering – all possible with an initial investment that would bring tears to the eyes… But, there are less sci-fi options available that can have a big positive impact on your business.

Automation in a packing operation covers a range of opportunities, from something as simple as a taping, strapping or stretch wrap machine – right through to a fully integrated packing line that makes boxes or mail bags on demand. A big investment isn’t necessary to start you on the road of packing efficiency.

Where automation offers a considerate payback in its consistency of applying packaging – it unwinds material to a set tension, cuts material to a pre-programmed length, void fills to a specified capacity and applies material at a consistent pressure. It leaves no margin for error, which maximises packaging material yield and minimises waste.

A good example of this is a stretch wrap machine.

If you are wrapping pallets using hand stretch, it can equate to roughly 75p material cost per pallet. By switching to a core-break stretch wrap machine, you can reduce that film cost to roughly 50p per pallet (a power pre-stretch machine costs roughly 20p per pallet).

These costs are dependent on the kind of stretch wrap being used, but what it’s demonstrating is that the machine is getting greater yield out of the material by stretching it further, thus using less material to wrap a pallet. It’s this saving per pallet that delivers significant material (and cost) reduction.

On analysis of packaging use, most machines typically pay for themselves in a matter of months due to the savings they create on material use. Not every system requires an initial outlay – many are available for rental or can be purchased through finance agreements. A free trial is available on many machines, which gives you the opportunity to test if the solution is right for your business.

If you’d like to find out more about the right automation solutions for your business, contact Macfarlane Packaging today.

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