Time is a precious resource ― once it’s spent, it’s gone for good. As Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, once said: “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” Whereas case packing and wrapping equipment allows warehouses to get products out at a fast rate, it can save companies time and money as this equipment speeds up the entire process of packing up cases.
Along with rising costs, labor quality and availability is a “huge” concern for companies, says Richard Gardner, North America sales division manager at Polypack Inc., Pinellas Park, Fla. “Not knowing what the available labor market might be tomorrow makes it easier to justify the purchase of automated packaging equipment now more than ever.”
Additionally, case packing and wrapping equipment offers beverage facilities quick product changeovers to maximize efficiencies, as well as versatility in packaging types as consumer demand evolves, Gardner notes.
“Pack type trends (whether it is for a club store, retail shelf-ready pack, or bulk distribution) are contributing to the need for flexible case packing and wrapping equipment,” he explains. “Demands can be unpredictable, especially with the recent pandemic.
“Polypack has automated machinery solutions for packing with tray, pad, wraparound case, and clear/printed shrink bundling. All-in-one machines are available, along with our ability to bring new solutions to market,” he continues.
Another factor influencing packaging is that many new production lines being sold today need to be “contract packaging friendly,” says Mark Forsberg, technical sales, packaging and palletizing at Krones Inc., Franklin, Wis.
“Krones offers incredible flexibility in package design and speeds,” he explains. “Our Variopac Pro series is available in a variety of quick change options including Line Xpress, which can be up to a 95% fully automatic changeover. Upon redesign of our Variopac series in 2009, we made ergonomics a key factor in the redesign. We also offer fully automatic, robotic blank and film roll replacement.”
Recognizing the growing flexible equipment needs of today, Wexxar Bel, a division of Covington, Ky.-based ProMach, released a new iteration of its popular selling BEL 505: the BEL 505 V2. The semi-automatic case former is designed with several new improvements in operational efficiency, including a 27% reduction in air consumption, which significantly reduces the machine’s operating costs, the company says. In addition to the reduction in air consumption, the BEL 505 V2 has a wider case-size range, this improvement provides greater flexibility to the machine as more and more companies are utilizing smaller case sizes, it adds. The new equipment also brings operators fast return on investment through better performance, improved usability and longer machine life, it says.
As the world is conscious of environmental impact, it is now more important than ever for companies to deliver packaging that meets consumer expectations and follows the changing environmental regulations for sustainability, experts note.
Source reduction significantly benefits the environment and Polypack builds machines that reduce packaging material, leading to less packaging mass entering landfills, Gardner says.
Meanwhile, Krones offers complete recycling systems for washing and decontamination of PET and polyolefins (PO) to sustainably recycle plastic bottles and other packaging, Forsberg notes.
“From a material-saving packaging design through to low-energy container production and the recycling of used plastic materials, we give plastics the chance to have a sustainable and environmentally friendly life ― not only once, but multiple times,” he says.
In 2021, Dortmund, Germany-based KHS announced that its sustainable packaging system, Nature Multipack is suitable for high-performance range.
“Sustainable, consumer friendly and gentle on resources, Nature MultiPack from KHS combines beverage containers with easy-to-remove dots of adhesive instead of shrink film to form stable packs, thus saving up to 90% in packaging materials,” the company said in a statement. “Originally developed by KHS for packs of PET bottles, the Innopack Nature MultiPack packaging machine was initially designed for a capacity range of up to 45,000 bottles per hour plus 20% overcapacity. It quickly became clear, however, that the sustainable concept of holding beverage containers together with dots of adhesive instead of shrink film to form a pack that’s easy to transport and easy for consumers to ‘open’ was also of interest to the canning segment.”
As machinery complexity grows, beverage companies are demanding more from packaging equipment, experts note.
Krones’ Forsberg notes that as leading supplier of beverage production and packaging solutions, Krones offers brown field and green field production engineering, fabrication, installation and commissioning.
Today, beverage-makers must understand all the packaging variables in the designated beverage market and find a machine that will have adaptability, Gardner adds. “The most important thing we do at Polypack is listen to our customers and build machines according to their needs.”
In the beverage market, those needs will continue to increase.