5 Ways Automated Packaging Equipment Delivers Benefits Right Now

11.05.18 // Heritage Paper

Now that we’re into the final stretch of 2018, you may be rapidly facing the need to make a “use it or lose it” decision regarding your allocated capital equipment budget.

If you have the budget available, great! If you don’t have money appropriated, you can still take advantage of the benefits of automated packaging equipment through leasing programs.

What can automation do for you today?

Businesses of all shapes and sizes can take advantage of the labor, material and cost-saving benefits that result from automated packaging solutions.

You can realize immediate positive cash flow from savings generated from the automated equipment purchase, whether using up that capital budget or leasing. And additional tax benefits are available. In particular, Section 179 of the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 offers generous write-off and depreciation schedules. Please make sure you consult with your tax adviser to determine how this could impact your business.

Let’s look at a few of the ways that automated packaging equipment can benefit your business today.

  1. Reduce labor costs

It’s pretty obvious that replacing manual functions with an automated machine will reduce your labor costs. Take adding a stretch wrapper to eliminate hand wrapping of pallets, for example. Did you know that these machines can easily be justified with a volume of just 10 to 15 loads per day?

To uncover less obvious ways of reducing labor costs, a knowledgeable equipment specialist can survey your entire operation from the beginning to the end of the line. This includes conducting a comprehensive time study and a review of all contributing factors to the efficiency of your packaging operations. In addition, an ROI analysis would be included in any recommendations for equipment solutions or design changes.

Have you set aside workers to help set up boxes for production? Perhaps it’s time to look at a case erector. This type of equipment also pre-tapes box bottoms and can be easily integrated into your production line.

The following infographic compares the associated costs for a manual 1500-box operation to using one case erector (along with the potential ROI timeframe).

  1. Improve efficiency

Are your forklift operators wasting valuable time idling around a stretch wrapper waiting for the load to finish wrapping? A dual turntable will efficiently ensure that a second pallet is wrapped and ready to move to its intended destination while the next load is wrapping.

Or, if employees are double handling loads in order to move them to a weigh scale after wrapping, you can eliminate that extra handling cost by directly integrating a weigh scale into a stretch wrapper.

Take a close look at the end of your packaging lines. Does there seem to be a bottleneck around the taper or pack out stations? Is there a concentration of workers at one station? Have you set up preassembly areas just for packaging? These could be opportunities where automated packaging could help you improve your throughput.

  1. Add capacity

If you’ve recently embarked on business-to-consumer (B2C) sales, you may need to set up an offline operation for this sales channel. Different packaging design and materials are often required due to the unique challenges of B2C sales.

A well-designed system of conveyors and workstations outfitted with void fill delivery systems, tapers and labelers may be all that’s required to boost productivity.

If you’re currently operating overseas, fully automatic lines can help justify returning manufacturing to the U.S. For example, blister packaging can be fully automated to greatly reduce costs which then levels the playing field a little better for domestic production. And, as you can appreciate by now, onshoring can help you regain better control of your operations.

  1. Eliminate safety issues due to manual operations or outdated equipment

Don’t wait until it’s too late for an accident to happen. Proactively survey your entire packaging operation for any potential safety hazards.

Back injuries from manually wrapping pallet loads, carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motion during package assembly, or a lack of safety guards on older equipment, are all areas that can be addressed with updated packaging equipment. In addition to taking better care of your employees, eliminating workers’ compensation claims will easily justify your equipment purchase.

  1. Reduce material costs

Research has proven that poorly maintained stretch wrap machines can use up to 50 percent more stretch film than when they were new. And, newer models offer even more cost reduction.  They can handle newer engineered films designed to wrap loads at the lowest possible cost while improving load integrity.

By using this handy film cost calculator, you can clearly see the potential savings that updating your equipment can bring to your shipping operation.

Automatic shrink wrappers use less film than with manual L-bars because the bag sizing can be more consistent. And in many cases, the scrap trim can be narrower. With more consistent seals and improved tunnel performance, your reworks and scrap rates will decrease further delivering substantial cost savings.

These are just a few ways that automated packaging equipment can deliver significant cost savings and efficiencies to your packaging operations.

There’s still time to use those 2018 budget dollars, so contact us today to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable equipment specialist. We’ll help you evaluate your packaging operation and uncover the potential benefits of the automated solutions that are right for your business.

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