What’s Holding You Back to Start Automating Your Packaging Application?
Written By Simab Khan
Time is money, or so the old saying goes, and when it comes to production, how you spend either of them is vital to your success. Directing your human resources to manual packaging can see both time and money eaten up very quickly, and what are you getting in return? Overworked staff, limited orders and stunted growth.
For your company to take the next step and more wisely invest your time and money, you should consider switching to an automated packaging system.
The packaging market in Canada is expected to exceed the US $30 billion mark by 2025, so your company must be in the best position to get a sizable slice of the pie.
The Downsides of Manual Packaging
When you start a new company, or even when budgets are tight, there is an emphasis on cutting as many unnecessary costs as possible. That can probably be why many initially small operations carry out most of their packaging manually. It makes sense to start with – there’s no money to spend on large machinery, and everyone can pitch in and lend a hand when needed.
But when you’re not that scrappy little company trying to find its feet, continuing with manual packaging can be counter-productive. It can inhibit growth, slow down the process and lead to quality control issues.
Manual packaging will take its toll physically on your staff and will keep your Package Per Minute (PPM) rate low. The knock-on effect of this is that you will be limited in the number of orders you can take and how quickly you can ship them.
Quality can also be an issue when it comes to manual packaging. As dedicated as your staff are, it’s only natural that things can go wrong from time to time. A dropped box can lead to damaged packaging and the contents within. Not only can this cause problems for the product itself, but it can also damage the reputation of your company, contributing to a drop in sales.
What Automation Will Bring to Your Production Line
Automation can revolutionize your production operations. It involves letting machines and robots take the strain of lifting and packaging, so it quite literally lightens the load on your staff. It can significantly reduce the risk of injury on the shop floor, and the great thing about robots is that they never get tired. Repetitive tasks such as packaging can lead to fatigue in humans, increasing the risk of mistakes. An automated packaging system will cut out the potential for these errors.
This can also allow you to reassign staff members to other tasks, such as planning and logistics. These are areas where they can add value to your company instead of packaging and loading boxes. It will allow them to develop new skills and ideas which can have a more long-term benefit for your company. Automation can also increase your company’s capacity. Automated packaging can dramatically improve your PPM capabilities, which means the orders can be fulfilled much quicker. Therefore, you can confidently take on more orders which is a boost for your income.
Although automated packaging systems involve an initial upfront investment, the return on that investment can be considerable.
How Do I Know What Type of Automation I Need?
Several factors. For a start, your operation’s size will play a considerable part; however, if you have got to the stage where you need automation, chances are you are already a sizable operation.
That said, there are several different automation options depending on your need and budget. A case erector system or a case packaging system are quite dedicated forms of automation designed for a particular task.
A case erector can quickly assemble flat cardboard packaging into boxes in a matter of seconds, making them ready for storing products ahead of shipping. They are an essential tool at the end of a busy assembly line.
The great advantage is that they can handle large volumes rather quickly. If you have a relatively high PPM requirement, they are a solid option complemented with other automated systems.
However, suppose you require something less rigid. In that case, you can look at soft automation systems, which allow for an element of reprogramming so that the machine can perform several different tasks as required.
These can come in the form of the robotic arm, which can perform the different tasks as and when needed, such as an automated palletizing system.
Once you decide to opt for automated packaging, deciding which system to choose is your first step. Take the time to look at your future orders over a three- or six-month period and calculate the time you estimate will be spent on manual packaging.
When you contact Shelley Automation to begin your journey, we will be able to give you an indication of how various packaging systems in Canada can save you time and money. You’ll get a good idea of the packaging capacity of machines and compare this alongside your current output. We are confident you’ll be happy with the results you see.
Where to Start
Whether you are simply looking for more information on automated packaging systems or want to find out where to buy palletizers in Canada, Shelley Automation is your one stop automation shop.
We can offer expert advice and a range of options to suit your operation and budget, as well as conduct feasibilities in our automation and robotics labs.
Take the strain off your staff today.