Secrets To More Efficient Carton and Case Packaging

May 8, 2019 | Blog

FMCG industry thrives on efficiency. Since the majority of products are produced on a large scale, even a slight inefficiency in the FMCG machinery could cause a substantial amount of loss.

While working at such high stakes, any advice improving the efficiency would be welcomed. And that’s what I am here. With my extensive experience of working with multiple packaging experts, I have gathered some tips and tricks to keep your cartoning equipment to the highest efficiency. Employing even a handful of these tips will surely improve your packaging efficiency.

Tips for Carton Packaging  


Train Your Staff:

Train your operations and maintenance staff on a regular basis. There are some many changes going on in the packaging industry. It is vital for your staff to be updated about the quality requirement. Always keep a carton sample handy as a basis for comparison. Update all your packaging requirements on a chart with visuals and photographs. Some industries have their operators use a sample packaging first instead of relying on predetermined settings.

Ensure Consistent Specifications:

In addition to ensuring a consistent cartoning package material, consistent input speeds into the cartoning machine can reduce the machine downtime. Ensure the machine specification for maximum efficiency on the instruction sheet.

Standardize Maintenance Procedures:

Once you standardized the maintenance procedures, safety engineers need to spend less time checking for machine issues. These procedures will help you pinpoint inaccuracies and work on them. Schedule regular visits from the manufacturer to monitor your care and install upgrades to your machine.

Recalibrate and Document Regularly:

Your machines will wear out eventually, so ensuring a proper calibration method is necessary. Keep track of volumes and quality of your carton packaging after certain shifts. If you find any decrease in quality and quantity recalibrate your machines. Whenever recalibration is achieved, update your documents to make sure every shift is using the same settings.

Reduce Resources of Inefficiency:

During your maintenance procedures updates, note down the resources which cause inefficiencies and update those systems as soon as possible. You may notice that many of your systems are outdated and could use a replacement. A replacement that is more efficient, less noisy and more dependable. Also, keep the machine clean, even this can sometimes hurt your packaging efficiency.

Have a startup procedure:

Mark your adjustment point by point before you start your packaging machinery. The adjustment settings must be restricted only to trained operators. Any change in the adjustment must be documented. At the onset of each shift or product change, slowly start your machine to monitor key areas to eliminate jams when the productions ramp up. Preheat the glue to the application temperature before you began production.        

Consider SMED:

“Single minute exchange of dies” helps maximize uptime of machines, and it can be easy to implement.

Motivate Staff:

Floor staff operators and workers can have a huge impact on machine efficiency. Properly motivated and trained staff will increase your production output. Reward shift teams that highest efficiency or consistently perform high. Motivation goes a long way to improve efficiency than strictness.    

Tips for Case Packaging 

Test Material Consistency:

Packaging quality is essential because that’s what a consumer physically interacts with. Ensure only good quality packaging is brought inside the machinery. Because out-of-spec packaging will cause problem no matter how great your packaging case is. Clean the cases for any dust particles or foreign substance.           

Simplify Your Process:

Seek out machines with few moving parts as possible. Pay close attention to proper integration and discharge of case packaging material. If your machine tends to break at higher speed operations. Run your operations at 10% to 15% lower maximum speed limitations. More importantly, choose a machine which can carry out the process reliably.

Have a Maintenance Schedule:

Regularly greasing your bearings, checking for an adverse belt and sprocket wear can prove beneficial. Initiate training procedures which not only teach your staff to increase productivity but also the maintenance of your machinery. Schedule quarterly maintenance inspections to avoid unnecessary surprises.

Invest in a Quality Glue:

Ensure you are using a good quality for your casing application. It must have the ability to withstand your application temperature. You also need to make sure that your machinery is applying glue at proper temperatures. Otherwise, you risk problems like cobwebs, charring and many other issues. Properly maintain the compression section to avoid skews or shifting.

Watch Your Hot Unit:

Keep the hot tank full with adhesive to one inch without overfilling is necessary. Don’t let the adhesive level get too low. Letting the tank get too low and then suddenly filling it up with adhesive can give it a thermal shock, causing your machine to halt. Change the filters on a regular schedule. This may involve cleaning the tank and flushing out all the adhesive.

Set the Stage:

Staging the items to be case packed is necessary when using a pick-and-place robotic packing system. Once properly programmed, the robot will perform the same motion over and over, lending to repetitive case packing for long periods of time. The key is to deliver the items to be picked in the exact location each and every time.  Conveyor speed, pneumatic brake synchronization, alleviation of back pressure, and the elimination of “shingling” are just as important to successful case 8 packing as the programming of the robotic system.

Mind the Change Points:

Packaging equipment with frequent changeovers, it is important to understand which part of the machine is not mechanically adjusted. The change points are placed to accommodate various packaging designs in the same machine. Each shift should check whether the change points are aligned to suit their packaging needs.   

Know the Variations:

Some material may need you to change your machine specification. You need to know how many variations your machine can handle. The operator must have knowledge about the type of material and the variation it requires.   

Don’t Stop Inspecting:

You need to constantly keep your machines under inspection. This will point out the inefficiencies before it gets too late. Push back on your material suppliers to make sure quality specs are well defined. Make sure all the packaging tools are in good condition. An efficient tool will harm even good quality material.

FMCG packaging machines have undergone a tremendous change in the past few years. Their efficiencies are better than the previous versions but that doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. Try a handful of these tips in your carton and case packaging and see if your efficiencies get better.

Disclaimer – “Views expressed in the blogs, are exclusive thoughts of the author and are not necessarily aligned to Parakh Group’s policies”.