It involves more than just the specs of the machines, affecting many of your processes and staffing decisions, not to mention a potentially large impact on your bottom line. As a result, you and your team can get hung up weighing the pros and cons of the types of machines, the extent of automation, the true cost of labor on your lines, and so on.
To help with this process, this article covers the main issues you need to consider when deciding between changing to a case packing system, full-blown cartoning equipment, or staying with your current manual approach.
The first thing to consider is the goal of the project. Are you trying to improve the efficiency and volume of your packaging operation? Are you trying to reduce injuries by eliminating repetitive tasks for your employees? Knowing exactly what you are trying to accomplish goes a long way toward helping you with all other decisions.
What is the nature of the product you are targeting? Many products are best suited for a vertical packing system. Knowing this rules out a large number of possibilities and simplifies your job.
If the product in question is well suited for horizontal packing, you have many more options. But, of course, more options mean more machines to consider, and more time spent choosing between those options.
What packing speed do you need? Buying too much machine, or too little, to meet your actual needs makes no sense and could be a costly mistake. An accurate number here also greatly simplifies your life, by ruling out all machines that can't efficiently deliver your target packing speeds.