Packaging is a complicated business, with many moving parts along the way needed to get the product out of the factory and into the store. At the very beginning of the process, there’s the actual creation of the product, a process known as “converting.” During this step, raw materials are converted into the actual package, whether that package is a bag, pouch, bottle, jar or some other sort of corrugated container. After the converting step, the package goes through numerous other stages. It may be printed and laminated. It will likely be formed, filled with product and then sealed. And then after this, the packaging company will send the product either to its customer or to the store.
Yes, there are a lot of steps in the packaging process. And each and every step must be running to its full potential in order to keep operations on track and ensure on-time delivery. With that being said, anywhere that a packaging company can reduce lead time and improve efficiency must be considered. And while many packaging companies focus on improving operating efficiency and reducing downtime early on in the packaging process, certainly the very end of the line can’t be ignored. And that’s what brings us to case erectors, which help packaging companies quickly create shipping containers to send their products in. This post will take a closer look at the important – and arguably under appreciated role – that case erectors play and how they can improve efficiency within a packaging company.
Case Erectors: The Basics
Just as their name implies, case erectors are machines that stand-up corrugated boxes, or cartons. Most case erectors also seal the bottom of the carton after it is created as well, making it easier for employees to load product through the top, which remains unsealed until product is loaded.
Case erectors, which sound seemingly simple, are actually rather advanced pieces of equipment. For instance, they are able to accommodate different sized and different shaped boxes, allowing packaging companies to essentially create any type of shipping container that’s necessary for their product. Most case erectors can create up to 15-20 bottom-sealed boxes per minute.
How Case Erectors Improve Efficiency
Let’s say, for instance, that you don’t have a case erector. If that’s the case, then you’re likely still making boxes by hand. However, you really don’t know how tedious of a process this is until you adopt the equipment that can do it for you. Assembling boxes takes time, as they need to be formed correctly. And after that, arguably the most tedious part of the box making process is still required – taping up the bottom. Not to be forgotten as well is the fact that when you’re making boxes by hand, the size and shape of the box is limited to the inventory you – or your supplier – has in stock.
That’s the big value of a case erector – increasing efficiency. Being that many case erectors can erect and seal anywhere from 15-20 cartons per minute, this piece of equipment can be a huge asset in large and in growing packaging companies that are looking to reduce downtime and streamline efficiency near the end of the packaging line. Most packaging experts agree that if your company requires more than 300 boxes per day, then a case erector should surely be a part of your growth strategy.
Aside from reducing downtime and speeding the creation of cartons, some other key and notable benefits of case erectors include:
- Quick setup: While some may be intimidated by introducing another piece of heavy equipment to the packaging facility, case erectors are nothing to fret about. They’re typically far less complicated to operate and setup than many other types of packaging equipment like form-fill-seal machines, pouch lines and others.
- Fast changeovers: Along the packaging process, lulls in efficiency are usually the result of changeovers. Specifically, long changeover times. That said, many packaging equipment manufacturers have worked hard to reduce changeover time in their machinery, so that there’s less downtime and more efficiency in a facility’s operations. Case erectors are just one example of equipment with fast changeovers, which further helps improve efficiency.
- Reliability: Not all equipment is reliable, but good case erectors have a reputation of being not just reliable, but long-lasting. Common troubleshooting with case erectors – and many other types of packaging equipment – have to do with machine jamming. But, as we said, a quality case erector will work reliably and efficiently. After all, if you purchase a piece of equipment that is supposed to further streamline operations and it winds up jamming excessively, you’re negating any efficiency benefits that you were getting in the first place.
- Better carton assembly: Most case erectors work with specialty tapes and other quality reinforcement materials that actually contribute to the making of a better overall carton compared to if you were to assemble the carton by hand. This makes case erector-made cartons an ideal piece of equipment for creating boxes for just about any type of product.
- Product protection: To piggyback off of the above point, a better overall constructed carton will also ensure that the product that goes inside of it is also better protected. This is a big plus, as when it comes to your end product, as it’s really only as good as it is when it arrives at its destination. So, for instance, if you’re creating a good product, but it becomes damaged during the shipping phase, you’re going to have an unsatisfied end user, which can greatly harm your overall reputation. Bottom line – a better overall carton means a better overall product when it arrives on the truck.
- Small footprint: Plant managers won’t have to worry about case erectors taking up a ton of space in their facilities. That’s because most of today’s case erectors have a small footprint, meaning they can be tucked into confined spaces or integrated more seamlessly into a particular area.
- Low-cost investment: Compared to other types of necessary packaging equipment, case erectors are fairly low cost – a fact that makes their return on investment even more notable. However, being that this is a piece of heavy machinery, there’s still an expense associated with it – an expense that many companies may not have in the budget. That’s where purchasing a case erector previously owned, from a site like Bid on Equipment, comes in handy. This way, you can get a like-new machine at a used price.
For more information on case erectors, and to browse Bid on Equipment’s selection of case erectors and other packaging equipment, contact it today or visit www.Bid-on-Equipment.com