As 2020 draws to a close, kicking and screaming like an overtired toddler to bed, it may be a good time to think about planning for new starts in 2021. Let’s all agree that 2021 is going to be “our year”, where only good things will happen…. If we believe it, then it must be so…
If you’ve been overwhelmed by demand in recent months, or you’re just looking to review costs and efficiencies, then packaging automation can help you to manage costs, increase throughput and support accelerated growth.
Here are four packaging automation systems that are quick to install, require minimal investment and can make a real difference to your business.
Automatic tape dispensers
The assembly and manual taping of boxes can take up to 60% of the overall packing time. This time can be dramatically reduced with automated tape systems, freeing up your operators to complete other tasks or, manage more packs per hour.
There are dispensers available that, at the touch of a button, dispense pre-set lengths of tape ready to use. No more wrestling with hand tape guns and applying more tape than is required.
An automatic taping machine goes a step further and physically applies the tape for you, used in conjunction with a box erector this combination of systems reduces the number of operator touches to the box considerably.
Void fill automation
If you are continually tearing material off a roll to fill voids, or pouring loose fill into boxes, then it’s time to look at a dispenser solution.
Paper void fill dispensers can be managed by foot pedals to automatically fill packs, which frees up your hands to complete the packing process. They can also be programmed to dispense the appropriate length of material for each of your pack options, which reduces the amount of overall material you use.
Airbag systems can be used to inflate bags on demand or, used with in conjunction with a hopper to ensure stock is on hand to use quickly. When fitted with sensors, hoppers automatically refill as the stock is depleted, ensuring a constant supply of airbags are available. Your operators literally have an endless supply!
Stretch wrap automation
If you are manually wrapping between 10-15 pallets per day (or more), it’s time to consider a pallet wrapper. Not only are they more economical with material application, they also free up your operators to complete other tasks. Whilst the initial outlay may seem chunky, they can typically reduce the cost to wrap each pallet by a third, as much as two thirds if you use a core-break machine. Return on investment is expected within months.
Semi or fully automated strapping systems
Hand applying strapping can take a while – there is lots of manoeuvring to line up the strapping, feed it into the tensioner tool and apply the seal. There are opportunities to speed up this process.
A friction welder still involves manually applying the strapping but, this handheld battery-operated tool quickly tensions, cuts and seals at the touch of a button.
A semi-automatic system applies the strapping for you but only after you feed the strapping around the parcel. Whilst a fully automatic system takes care of everything – just feed the item into the machine and it completes the application process for you.
If you are interested in finding out more about the benefits of packaging automation, why not contact us today?
How seamless data flow from specification to printing press is the recipe for success in corrugated packaging prepress
With the continuing growth in e–commerce, new challenges for shelf-ready packaging in a changing retail landscape, a sustainability-aware consumer and a growing appetite for wide format digital printing, today’s corrugated packaging marketplace can only be described as ‘dynamic’. Against this background on the demand side, corrugated converters are left with a very profound challenge on […]
With the continuing growth in e–commerce, new challenges for shelf-ready packaging in a changing retail landscape, a sustainability-aware consumer and a growing appetite for wide format digital printing, today’s corrugated packaging marketplace can only be described as ‘dynamic’.
Against this background on the demand side, corrugated converters are left with a very profound challenge on the supply side: how to optimize their workflow in order to best serve their customers, while also ensuring they maintain a profitable and sustainable business.
Esko believes the answer lies in digital transformation, making sure converters are empowered and able to take charge of every step of the process. To that end, Esko has developed a complete ‘Guide to Integrated Solutions for Corrugated Packaging Production’.
This informative new video demonstrates a full ecosystem of integrated solutions in action. From the Customer Experience Centre in Gent, Belgium, the Esko team demonstrates how data can flow all the way from the brand owner specification, through design and prepress production, to a virtual store, a cutting table and ultimately the shipping pallet.
Why not take the journey for yourself and be inspired? Discover how connecting steps in the workflow allows a business to become environmentally sustainable, drive profitability and to meet (and surpass) the requirements of its customers.
The short film is presented in six easy-to-digest episodes and takes in each business process.
Watch the introduction now and learn how your business could benefit from this free, complete guide to Integrated Solutions for Corrugated Packaging Production.
For more on the latest Esko innovations for Corrugated converters, don’t forget to visit the new Esko Innovation Hub, which has been designed to provide users with a unique insight to the Esko portfolio of innovations in a virtual environment. There, users can navigate around the latest integrated hardware and software solutions from Esko, in their own time, accessing insights and technical information, as well as learn new ways to boost business productivity, efficiency and profitability.
The importance of integrated and up-to-date software solutions cannot be overstated as we move into the ‘new normal’
Digitizing the process by which packaging is made is already key to delivering long-term business success. As we emerge from the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis into a ‘new normal’ with fragile supply chains, volatile demand and a changing retail landscape, the importance of improving operational processes, lowering costs and delivering client loyalty is more vital than ever. […]
Digitizing the process by which packaging is made is already key to delivering long-term business success. As we emerge from the global coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis into a ‘new normal’ with fragile supply chains, volatile demand and a changing retail landscape, the importance of improving operational processes, lowering costs and delivering client loyalty is more vital than ever.
But it is also vital businesses remember that taking that first step on the digital journey is just that – a first step. What is just as important is ensuring that whichever integrated software and tools a business uses to digitize, automate and connect provides a better and most optimal experience for the end-user. Without their buy-in, any digital transformation scenario is bound to go south. As basic as it seems, the importance of updates, improvements and new innovations in existing digital tools cannot be overstated.
In the wake of the pandemic, Esko has doubled down on enabling businesses to continue, and even accelerate, their journey of digital transformation and to meet head-on the challenges faced both today and on the horizon. An optimal end-user experience is the key guiding principal. For example, with the latest software update release, brands and packaging converters can now access a greater range of functions that streamline processes, improve productivity and importantly add value across the entire packaging value chain.
From packaging management solutions like WebCenter to the industry leading structural design tool ArtiosCAD, the award-winning flexo software Print Control Wizard through to the recent InterTech honored ArtPro+, the Esko Software 20.1 update includes a raft of updates and innovative new features to deliver operational efficiency improvements to any user.
As the industry continues to navigate the fallout from the global pandemic, the ability to digitize, automate and connect will be crucial to businesses. To deploy the latest updates from provides benefits to the business not only in the form of greater accuracy, efficiency and consistency across a design and print workflow, but also for the end-user, the operator, the expert on the production floor. This is key to the success of any digital transformation journey.
For more information about Esko software solutions, visit the Esko Innovation Hub at innovation.esko.com.
The importance of customer experience
It’s going to be an odd Christmas for everyone this year, just to top off the full 2020 experience. It’s been a tough time – we’ve had to grasp at joy wherever we can. I know that I’ve been appreciating the simple things in life a lot more than I used to… getting to know […]
It’s going to be an odd Christmas for everyone this year, just to top off the full 2020 experience. It’s been a tough time – we’ve had to grasp at joy wherever we can. I know that I’ve been appreciating the simple things in life a lot more than I used to… getting to know neighbours whilst clapping for the NHS on the doorstep, the random “hellos” from strangers on lockdown walks around the block and the joy of hearing children return on their school commutes, filling the empty pavements with laughter and life once more.
But it seems we still need our retail fixes too – the nation turned to online shopping to fill the gap of in-store retail experiences with a vengeance. How many times have you read or heard the phrase “unprecedented” demand this year?
Not even a world-wide pandemic can take away the thrill of buying and receiving a shiny new item. It’s been the height of excitement to receive an overly zealous courier knock at the door and find a parcel sitting on the doormat as they respectfully back away…
At Macfarlane Packaging we’ve always talked about the importance of customer experience in online retail – in the absence of an in-store encounter, your packaging is there to convey the brand experience to your customer. From the moment you see that parcel on the doorstep, the anticipation of unwrapping it begins… it’s not just our own direct anticipation either, YouTube is full of unboxing videos, there are even channels dedicated to it.
What makes a great unboxing experience?
Making it easy for your customers is the first rule – easy to open, easy to remove from the packaging, easy to recycle. We’ve all broken out in a sweat wrestling with packaging, attacking it with whatever comes to hand from the kitchen drawer then wondering how we’ll manage to accommodate the copious amounts of packaging in a bin that gets emptied once every two weeks… it does somewhat detract from the overall unboxing experience.
Give them something to smile about with some informative or quirky in-box messaging –tell them about your brand values or ethos. One of my favourite unboxing experiences was with FEELUNIQUE, I remember pulling back the box tear strip to reveal a message that read “almost there….” It really made me smile. A printed message on the inside of packaging can delight customers unexpectedly.
Presentation is everything, it reflects the value of your brand. When you spend a lot of money on an item, you want to feel like your money has been well spent.
Convey that in your unboxing experience. Investigate attractive protective products – coloured tissue or interlayered paper protection like Geami is a great way to make your products feel a little more “high-end”.
Macfarlane Packaging work with clients to help improve their customer experience, why not contact us today to find out how we can help?
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