Designing Your Cartoning Line for Maximum Efficiency

By Kim Magon-Haller, Marketing Manager at Triangle Package Machinery Company

When we receive requests for information on cartoners, it seems there are three items that are on everybody’s wish list:

  1. A system that is easy to use with a compact footprint;
  2. A compact footprint;
  3. A system that will help packagers improve production and efficiency; and
  4. A cartoner that offers fast, simple changeovers to run multiple carton sizes.

Ok, so that’s four wish list items, but if you found something that offered all of the above benefits, wouldn’t you want to learn more? There are numerous cartoner models available on the market, all with their own matrix of options and prices.

To find a cartoning system that is right for your packaging application, here are some areas to consider and help you narrow down the options.

Improved Efficiency

The right cartoner can provide significant improvements in your packaging line’s efficiency. Like vertical form fill seal (vffs) baggers, cartoners are designed for either continuous or intermittent motion. Regardless of the speeds you are looking to run, remember it’s the equipment upstream that will dictate how many packages per minute will be sent to the cartoner. In most cases, an intermittent motion machine that can adapt to match production upstream or downstream will be more efficient.

With some end load cartoners, there can be issues with the timing of bags coming from the bagger to the cartoner’s infeed.

Fast, Simple Changeovers

A cartoner is a big investment, so you don’t want to outgrow it in just a few years as your business grows. To find a solution that will meet current and future needs, look for a cartoner that makes it easy to change carton sizes, with features that offer quick and easy changeover and minimal change parts.

Additionally, you’ll want to look for a system that does not require a lot of change parts. Not only will this save upfront costs, it will save costs associated with downtime or lengthy changeovers. When a cartoner requires multiple change parts – and some need as many as 20-40 – there is more room for error and can often result in jammed cartons and product waste.

Compact Footprint

How much floor space do you have? Horizontal cartoners can take up quite a bit of valuable floor space. In some cases, too big of a machine footprint makes that particular solution impossible to accommodate. Look for models that offer a smaller, more compact and efficient footprint. Even better, seek out a cartoning system that offers seamless integration with all pieces of the puzzle: bagger or tray loader (depending on your product), scale or auger, conveyors and cartoner.

Ease of Use

Aside from simple changeovers, there are other ways a cartoner can be operator friendly. For instance, could your plant benefit from RFID technology? With RFID, users are assigned an access card to operate the HMI.

Look for a system with simple designs and not too much complexity. This will offer several benefits, such as less maintenance, ease of use, and less downtime.

Finally, make sure the company you work with offers reliable service and support, with customized training at their facility or yours.