If you need packaging machinery for food, medications, or anything else that you plan to put in a carton, there are a range of processing equipment choices that can work. To ensure you get the right specs for your business, you need to be armed with the right information as you are shopping. Here are seven questions you should consider when looking at carton packaging machines:
1. Do you use special carton shapes?
In many cases, you may be fine with packaging machinery that just works with cartons in rectangular or cubic shapes. However, in other cases, you may need machinery that can work with multiple shapes such as cones or spheres.
In still other cases, you may need double walled cartons, waved cartons, or other unique features. Make sure that you understand which types of cartons you need so you can find machinery that accommodates them.
2. How are you going to load your packaging machinery?
Once you've made sure that the packaging machinery can handle the cartons you plan to use, you need to think about loading the machine. Some packaging equipment requires a constant supply of boxes being fed into it. Other machinery, however, can handle intermittent feeding, and it can respond accordingly. You need a machine that works with the production flow in your facility.
3. What are your volume, weight, and piece count requirements?
You should also assess how much you need to pack into your cartons. Do you organize your packages by weight, volume, or piece count? That answer should guide you toward the right machine, and in some cases, you may need a machine that can juggle different types of measurements.
You also have to ensure your machine can accommodate the quantities you need to work with. Ideally, you should think about the quantities and volumes you use currently, but you should also keep an eye to the future and ensure that your packaging machinery can support your business as its needs change.
4. What speed does the machine need to accommodate?
If you've found a machine that can meet your volume, size, piece count, and carton specifics, you then need to think about your proposed volume of production. Most machines are labeled with a speed. Typically, this is measured in cartons per hour or cartons per minute. To ensure you're buying the right packaging equipment, you should estimate your production needs and make sure the machine can keep up.
5. How long does changeover take?
In most cases, when you switch to a different type of carton, you have to go through a changeover process with your machine. This process can happen with the tap of a button on machines that allow you to pre-program specifications. However, in other cases, changeovers can take several minutes. Ultimately, you have to consider how the changeover time will affect your productivity, and look for a machine that offers the right balance between affordability and fast changeovers.
6. What are your labeling requirements?
In addition to thinking about how the equipment handles the packaging, you also have to think about labeling requirements. If you need to add labels, you need to check out the customization options offered by the packaging machinery. Similarly, if you need the machinery to read labels and sort the merchandise, you need software that can read and respond to a variety of SKUs or barcodes.
7. Do you have an on-site technology team?
You also need to assess your internal capabilities in terms of taking care of the machine. Do you have an on-site crew who can install software, deal with programming issues, and troubleshoot the machine? If not, you may need to look for packaging equipment that comes with remote support and troubleshooting. That way, you have the peace of mind that you have help at the ready if something goes wrong with the machine.
Finally, once you've narrowed in on a machine that meets your specifics, you should look at what types of attachments can work with that machine. You should also look for additional helpful features such as safeguards that deal with incomplete boxes or other issues that may cause packaging mistakes.