The Value of Case Erectors and How They Improve Efficiency

Packaging is a complicated business, with many moving parts along the way needed to get the product out of the factory and into the store. At the very beginning of the process, there’s the actual creation of the product, a process known as “converting.” During this step, raw materials are converted into the actual package, whether that package is a bag, pouch, bottle, jar or some other sort of corrugated container. After the converting step, the package goes through numerous other stages. It may be printed and laminated. It will likely be formed, filled with product and then sealed. And then after this, the packaging company will send the product either to its customer or to the store.

Yes, there are a lot of steps in the packaging process. And each and every step must be running to its full potential in order to keep operations on track and ensure on-time delivery. With that being said, anywhere that a packaging company can reduce lead time and improve efficiency must be considered. And while many packaging companies focus on improving operating efficiency and reducing downtime early on in the packaging process, certainly the very end of the line can’t be ignored. And that’s what brings us to case erectors, which help packaging companies quickly create shipping containers to send their products in. This post will take a closer look at the important – and arguably under appreciated role – that case erectors play and how they can improve efficiency within a packaging company.

Case Erectors: The Basics

Just as their name implies, case erectors are machines that stand-up corrugated boxes, or cartons. Most case erectors also seal the bottom of the carton after it is created as well, making it easier for employees to load product through the top, which remains unsealed until product is loaded.

Case erectors, which sound seemingly simple, are actually rather advanced pieces of equipment. For instance, they are able to accommodate different sized and different shaped boxes, allowing packaging companies to essentially create any type of shipping container that’s necessary for their product. Most case erectors can create up to 15-20 bottom-sealed boxes per minute.

How Case Erectors Improve Efficiency

Let’s say, for instance, that you don’t have a case erector. If that’s the case, then you’re likely still making boxes by hand. However, you really don’t know how tedious of a process this is until you adopt the equipment that can do it for you. Assembling boxes takes time, as they need to be formed correctly. And after that, arguably the most tedious part of the box making process is still required – taping up the bottom. Not to be forgotten as well is the fact that when you’re making boxes by hand, the size and shape of the box is limited to the inventory you – or your supplier – has in stock.

That’s the big value of a case erector – increasing efficiency. Being that many case erectors can erect and seal anywhere from 15-20 cartons per minute, this piece of equipment can be a huge asset in large and in growing packaging companies that are looking to reduce downtime and streamline efficiency near the end of the packaging line. Most packaging experts agree that if your company requires more than 300 boxes per day, then a case erector should surely be a part of your growth strategy.

Aside from reducing downtime and speeding the creation of cartons, some other key and notable benefits of case erectors include:

  • Quick setup: While some may be intimidated by introducing another piece of heavy equipment to the packaging facility, case erectors are nothing to fret about. They’re typically far less complicated to operate and setup than many other types of packaging equipment like form-fill-seal machines, pouch lines and others.
  • Fast changeovers: Along the packaging process, lulls in efficiency are usually the result of changeovers. Specifically, long changeover times. That said, many packaging equipment manufacturers have worked hard to reduce changeover time in their machinery, so that there’s less downtime and more efficiency in a facility’s operations. Case erectors are just one example of equipment with fast changeovers, which further helps improve efficiency.
  • Reliability: Not all equipment is reliable, but good case erectors have a reputation of being not just reliable, but long-lasting. Common troubleshooting with case erectors – and many other types of packaging equipment – have to do with machine jamming. But, as we said, a quality case erector will work reliably and efficiently. After all, if you purchase a piece of equipment that is supposed to further streamline operations and it winds up jamming excessively, you’re negating any efficiency benefits that you were getting in the first place.
  • Better carton assembly: Most case erectors work with specialty tapes and other quality reinforcement materials that actually contribute to the making of a better overall carton compared to if you were to assemble the carton by hand. This makes case erector-made cartons an ideal piece of equipment for creating boxes for just about any type of product.
  • Product protection: To piggyback off of the above point, a better overall constructed carton will also ensure that the product that goes inside of it is also better protected. This is a big plus, as when it comes to your end product, as it’s really only as good as it is when it arrives at its destination. So, for instance, if you’re creating a good product, but it becomes damaged during the shipping phase, you’re going to have an unsatisfied end user, which can greatly harm your overall reputation. Bottom line – a better overall carton means a better overall product when it arrives on the truck.
  • Small footprint: Plant managers won’t have to worry about case erectors taking up a ton of space in their facilities. That’s because most of today’s case erectors have a small footprint, meaning they can be tucked into confined spaces or integrated more seamlessly into a particular area.
  • Low-cost investment: Compared to other types of necessary packaging equipment, case erectors are fairly low cost – a fact that makes their return on investment even more notable. However, being that this is a piece of heavy machinery, there’s still an expense associated with it – an expense that many companies may not have in the budget. That’s where purchasing a case erector previously owned, from a site like Bid on Equipment, comes in handy. This way, you can get a like-new machine at a used price.

For more information on case erectors, and to browse Bid on Equipment’s selection of case erectors and other packaging equipment, contact it today or visit www.Bid-on-Equipment.com

Liquid Bottle Fillers: Gravity Pressure vs. Positive Displacement

It’s hard to properly gauge the true value of a liquid bottle filler, or liquid filling machine, until something happens to it and you’re without one. If that’s the case in your packaging operations, you really have two choices – halt operations until a replacement is acquired or until repairs are made and it is back up and running or go about filling the bottles by hand. And if you were to choose the latter option – filling the containers by hand – then we’re betting you’ll really come to appreciate the role your filling machine plays within the facility.

Yes, filling machines are a critical component in the packaging process. They help pack a lot of different products, from milks and juices to oils and lotions. And they operate quickly and effectively, keeping business on track so that the end product gets to where it needs to be when it needs to be there. Oh, and liquid fillers are also able to accomplish this filling without spilling the product everywhere.

Now, just for a moment, picture life without a filling machine. It’s a life where you need to manually fill the bottles or containers along a conveyor line. Not only are you likely to spill product all over the place (no matter how careful you try to be) but you’re also likely to have bottles and containers with different levels of product. Perhaps you can live with the spillage and tolerate some minor differences in product levels – the biggest area where liquid bottle fillers shine has to do with efficiency. Liquid fillers work automatically and quickly, much more quickly than it would be if an individual took matters into their own hands.

While the benefits of liquid fillers are well documented, it’s worth noting that there are several different types of filling machines. Two of the most popular are those that work via gravity pressure or positive displacement. This post will take a look at each of these filling technologies.

Gravity Liquid Bottle Fillers

Gravity fillers are generally a low-cost filling option. However, they best work with thin liquids that don’t change in viscosity when subjected to different temperatures. As the name implies, gravity fillers work by distributing product from above the container. One benefit of gravity fillers, when compared with other types of filling technology, is that they can operate without the use of any specialized nozzles. In fact, most gravity fillers can be outfitted with a variety of filling nozzles pertaining to either the package that needs to be filled or the product that it needs to fill with. Some gravity fillers are also able to accommodate multiple heads to maximize filling of multiple containers at once.

Gravity fillers are applicable to many different types of liquid products, ranging from the food and beverage markets to cosmetic, pharmaceutical and specialty chemical. Gravity fillers are also able to effectively work with hazardous liquids, such as those that are flammable and corrosive.

Positive Displacement Liquid Bottle Fillers

Positive displacement fillers, which may also be known as “servo pump fillers” or “pump filling machines,” operate using a pump to distribute product to the container. Unlike the gravity filler, positive displacement fillers are better suited to work with more types of liquids, which make them an ideal choice for filling containers with the likes of pastes, creams, gels and more. Although positive displacement fillers are more expensive than many other types of filling equipment, they’re an ideal purchase for the contract packaging company who works with a bevy of different customers in various different markets. That’s because the versatility of the machine makes it applicable for just about any liquid with the ability to fill any product.

There are, however, some key disadvantages to the positive displacement filling machine, one of which we already mentioned here – its higher price point. Yes, these types of fillers aren’t cheap, and neither are the drive systems that help the pumps work. What’s more is that it takes quite a bit of technical know-how to properly maintain these types of fillers. So unless you or someone on staff is cut out for properly caring for and maintaining this type of filler, you’ll need to set aside some funds for a professional to come in and service it from time to time.

Other Fillers      

It’s also worth mentioning that there are a few other types of fillers. For instance, overflowing filling machines are ideal for products that produce foam and for products that are thin to medium in viscosity. Applicable liquids that are packaged in clear containers are almost always filled on overflow machines, as such machines excel at filling to exact level, which is crucial when you’re dealing with transparent packaging and the customer can tell the difference.

Another type of filler is a piston filling machine. Specifically, these machines work with high viscosity liquids and are able to process said products in higher volumes than other types of filling technology, which can be advantageous with the likes to tomato sauce and jelly.

Which Filler is Right for You?

So which filler is right for you? Certainly it depends on what types of containers you’re working with and what types of products you need to fill them with. For packages like water bottles, for instance, a gravity filler may work out just fine. But if you’re filling containers with soaps and pastes, a positive displacement filler may be necessary. For other, more high viscosity products, a piston filling machine may need to be a part of your facility’s purchasing plans. In some cases, just one type of liquid filling machine may not cut it and you may need to acquire multiple types in order to support your client base.

Whatever type of filling machine you decide on, one thing is for sure – this equipment can be expensive to acquire. And this can be problematic, especially if you’re dealing with a positive displacement filler that may require a bit more maintenance or may fail prematurely if proper care isn’t taken of it. When it comes time to acquire a new filling machine or add another one to your operations, you can elect to go the brand new route or you can purchase a used machine. Outlets like Bid on Equipment specialize in acquiring used machinery and selling them so that its customers can get like-new equipment at a used price. Often times, this can be the financial relief that companies need to continue their business without interruption.

For more information on liquid filling equipment, and to browse Bid on Equipment’s filling equipment inventory, contact Bid on Equipment today.