The classic way of getting things done involved completing every process by hand, whether that was sorting, packaging, or shipping. This might have worked back in the days when machinery wasn’t commonplace, but in this highly technological world, going the manual route for everything won’t quite cut it. To run a successful warehouse, it’s important to invest in machinery that streamlines the average workday. Whether you’re just starting out in the packaging industry or are looking to upgrade your existing warehouse, you want to make sure you’re investing in the right equipment.
There are many different automated packaging systems that can benefit your business, from stretch wrappers to palletizers to packers. Having so many options to choose from is convenient, but it can also be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with what each type of machine does. Fortunately, getting to know the different types of automated packaging systems doesn’t have to be a confusing and time-consuming struggle. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the most popular automated packaging systems, what they do, and what their benefits are so you can choose the best type of machinery for you and your business.
To keep your shipments secure, stretch wrap is essential. It’s one of the most commonly used packaging materials across the globe, and for good reason—stretch wrapping your pallet loads minimizes the risk of shipping damage. Many smaller companies still hand-wrap their loads, but bigger, bustling businesses have overwhelmingly opted for automated machinery. There are many different types of stretch wrapping machines available.
You can choose between semi-automatic or automatic models, for starters. A semi-automatic machine requires a human operator to be present to place the loads on the stretch wrapper and initiate the stretch wrapping cycle. The machine will handle the rest of the work. An automatic stretch wrapper, on the other hand, will automatically take a pallet, deposit it in the wrap zone, and wrap it based on the settings of the control system. There are also multiple configurations to choose from, with popular options for turntable, rotating rings, and rotary arm stretch wrappers.
This is one of the most popular configurations. It can be set up to work with a variety of other applications, which makes it incredibly versatile. A turntable stretch wrapper features a turntable where pallets are placed and rotated. As the pallet is being rotated, the film delivery system applies the stretch wrap to the load. The filmdelivery system begins at the bottom of the load, wraps all the way up to the top, then returns to the bottom.
If you have a need for speed, you might want to consider a rotary ring stretch wrapper. With the ability to wrap up to 200 loads per hour, this type of stretch wrapper is regarded as the best option for high-speed applications. Speed isn’t the only benefit of the rotary ring machine. It also has a high degree of flexibility that allows for reduced cycle time.
A rotary arm stretch wrapper works by placing the pallet under the rotating arm. The arm and the film carriage rotate once the start button is pushed and wrap the load. This type of stretch wrapper is ideal for demanding applications because it provides higher throughput capacity and can securely wrap lightweight or irregular loads.
Palletizers and Depalletizers
When discussing the most popular automated packaging systems, you can’t forget about palletizers and depalletizers. The role of a palletizer is to automatically sort, transfer, and stack products onto a pallet. Depalletizers do the opposite—they unload products from the pallet. It’s cumbersome and time-consuming to perform these two tasks by hand, which makes investing in a way to automate them one of the smartest decisions you can make.
Palletizers provide load stability, are incredibly precise, and can operate at high speeds, allowing you to ship loads conveniently and at high volumes. There are four main types of palletizers: robotic, low-level, high-level, and in-line.
Robotic palletizers can be either semi-automatic or automatic. They stand between a pallet dispenser and a conveyor belt that transports incoming products. A hydraulic robotic arm lifts the products one at a time and methodically organizes them onto the pallet.
Low-Level and High-Level
Both low-level and high-level palletizers feature conveyors and a feed area that receives the products. The main difference between the two is their height—low-level palletizers sit close to the ground, while high-level palletizers are elevated.
In-line palletizers stack one complete layer of bags or cartons after the next. They continue to stack these layers until the pallet is completely full. A row stripper palletizer works by organizing a row, pushing it to the side, then moving on to the next row. Another common type of in-line palletizer, the vacuum-head unit, grabs and arranges items with air-powered suction cups.
If you’ve been scratching your head trying to find a better method for packing your products, a case packer might be able to provide some assistance. A case packer, as the name suggests, is a machine that’s designed to quickly and efficiently package products. This allows you to ship them out of your warehouse at a much faster rate.
Case packers come in a wide variety of types. Each type is intended for use in a specific industry or is designed with different types of products in mind. There are some packers that are better suited to industrial uses, and others, such as food and bottle packers, that are intended for use in the food industry. A wrap-around case packer, for example, is ideal for products that require gentler handling. These packers can handle products regardless of the shape or size. A horizontal case packer will pack the goods into the case while the case is lying horizontally, whereas a vertical packer will do the same, but vertically. Horizontal packers tend to work well with products that have harder-to-wrap shapes, such as circles. Much like wrap-around packers, vertical packers are equipped to handle fragile objects with care.
The type of case packer that’s right for you and your business depends on a number of factors, namely:
- The way you pack. Do you use film, pad and film, tray and film, or a different method of packing?
- The speed you want to pack at.
- The industry you’re in, as different industries have different standards and needs.
If you’re looking for a case packer machine or other secondary packaging machinery for your packaging facility, Robopac USA has your back. We take pride in the superior R-Connect and CUBE Technology of our equipment and the top-notch training and technical support we provide to our customers. Our goal is to help businesses around the world streamline their packaging process so they can focus on other areas of their company’s growth. Come and browse our selection of state-of-the-art automated packaging systems today!