Cartoning Machines: The Ultimate Guide

Cartoning machines remain one of the most popular pieces of packaging equipment used by the production industry. If you want to know more about cartoning machines and how to make the best purchase choice, this post is for you!

 In the post, we enlighten you on the types, benefits, applications, and how best you can select a suitable cartooning machine for your industrial packaging line.

Cartoning Meaning | Cartoning Process

Cartoning refers to the application of a machine that erects a specially designed and cut flat carton board, fills it with suitable products, and seals it where applicable. 

So, the machine you need for your cartoning process is a cartoning machine. You can also call it a carton packaging machine.

Cartoning of certain products is only possible after the products have been packed in their special packages or containers through a primary packaging process. 

Therefore, your cartoning machine process must be integrated with the operations of other primary packaging processes. Therefore, for quick and effective packaging operations, the infeed system needs to be in sync.

Cartoning Machines Working Principle

The cartoning packaging machine automatically picks a piece of an already-cut carton lying flat from a pile. In the next step, the machine positions the empty carton upright and fills it with products.

The machine then closes the box by tacking its flaps against each other. Some machines are capable of applying adhesive to seal the box. 

Carton packaging remains the most popular packaging solution within the manufacturing industry. 

Therefore, as an industry player within the manufacturing and packaging sector, your knowledge of cartoning is valuable. 

Types of Cartoning Machines, Benefits, & Drawbacks

Different types of cartoning machines can be broadly categorized as offline or online. You can also categorize cartoner packaging machines based on how product loading occurs. As a result, there are horizontal and vertical cartoning machines. 

In terms of technology, there are semi-automatic and automatic cartoning machines.

Online and offline cartoning machines.

Online cartoning machines are those linked to a product’s production line. Therefore, as materials are produced, they directly enter the cartoning machines as a secondary packaging process. 

Offline cartoning machines handle products that have already been produced. 

Horizontal & Vertical Cartoning Machines

Horizontal Cartoning Machine

CM 100 Horizontal&Intermittent Cartoning Machine-SaintyCo

This type of machine loads products in a carton horizontally. Its other name is the end-load cartoning machine. How does it work? The machine picks a flat carton from a pile of other flat cartons and positions it horizontally, with one end staying open.

The finished bulk products are then pushed into the carton, and the carton’s flaps are folded, closed, or sealed. The horizontal cartoning packaging machine is ideal for bulk product packaging.

Benefits

  • Ideal for stackable bulk products such as packets, sachets, etc
  • You can adjust the machine to suit different packaging needs or carton box sizes
  • Material can be loaded both horizontally and vertically, making them more flexible
  • It requires a small installation space, which economizes your packaging space

Drawbacks

  • Operation speed is slow
  • It can only handle products you can easily stack

Vertical Cartoning Machine

VCM-100 Continuous Vertical Cartoning Machine-SaintyCo

Unlike the horizontal cartoning machine, a vertical cartoning packaging machine manipulates a flat carton into an upright position and fills it with suitable products. 

If the machine is automatic, then the closing of the boxes and the sealing processes require no human effort. For a semi-automatic vertical cartoning machine, the closing and removal of the packed carton boxes have to be done manually.

Semi-Automatic Cartoning Machines

As the name suggests, this machine is partially automatic. Therefore, your operator can activate the machine to pick, erect, and open carton boxes in readiness for the packaging process. Materials can then be manually packed in the cartons. The feeding of materials to be packed is also done manually

Benefits

  • A cost-effective solution for low-volume packaging process
  • The maintenance cost of the machine is low due to its simplicity and easy operation
  • Due to close human involvement, consistency in quality packaging is enhanced
  • Some semi-automatic machines allow for easy customization to suit different packaging needs

Drawbacks

  • You require many machine operators, leading to high labor costs
  • Because of the manual operations, both your packaging speed and output remain low.

Automatic Cartoning Machines

These are high-level cartoning machines that can operate continuously or intermittently. 

Continuous carton machines operate at high speed and are suitable for solid and regular products moving through automatic feeding systems.

Depending on their features, automatic cartoning machines support automatic lateral loading and closure of filled boxes. Some automatic solutions come with special box labeling, coding, or printing tools.

Benefits of Automatic Cartoning Machines

  • Automated cartoning machines are fast and guarantee high production efficiency with reduced labor costs
  • The machine provides high-level precision, leading to quality packaging with few errors
  • You can customize automated cartoning machines to suit different packaging needs
  • Automated cartoning allows for the safe packaging of delicate products such as glasses and bottles
  • With automatic carton packaging, human contact with products or machines is limited, which, therefore, enhances employees’ safety
  • Integration with an automatic feeding system can be easily achieved for a smooth and more efficient production line
  • The machine allows for the attachment of tools for attaching leaflets or printing/etching codes on packed cartons.

Drawbacks of Automatic Cartoning Machines

  • Initial and maintenance costs are high
  • Proper training is required for its effective operation

Choosing Cartoning Machines: What Must You Consider?

Here are some of the key factors you need to critically assess before buying suitable cartoning equipment.

Nature of Products and Carton Material Quality

The nature of the products you intend to package determines whether to choose a horizontal or vertical cartoning machine. 

In a situation where your produced material can be effectively packed both horizontally and vertically, it is cost-effective to consider a horizontal packaging machine. 

You must also consider the quality of the carton material you intend to use. This is because your selected cartoning solution will only offer quality service if your carton materials and design are satisfactory. 

Compatibility of Flat Carton-Picking Technology

Different cartoning machines have different rotary feeder technologies on how they pick flat packaging cartons. 

For this reason, you must be sure that your cartoning machine’s rotary feeder technology is compatible with your box packages.

The picking accuracy of your machine’s rotary feeder should be 100%. If there is no compatibility or if the picking mechanism fails during demonstrations, that’s not the right carton packaging machine for you. 

Desired Production Speed or Output Capacity

To choose the cartoner packaging machine that suits you, assess your daily or weekly production requirements. The assessment will enable you to evaluate the number of cartons your machine needs to handle per minute. Finally, you choose the most suitable machine for your production target.

Adaptability To Different Carton-packaging Needs

Carton packaging needs always vary. Therefore, you must assess your cartoning machine’s operational flexibility. Go for a cartoning solution that can adapt to different carton sizes and design styles when required.

Production Line Integration

To achieve high production efficiency, integration of your carton packing process with other packaging processes or operations is critical. So, choose cartoning equipment that will work in sync with your other related operations, as this will lead to enhanced production efficiency.

Technical Capacity of Your Staff

Ever heard about biting more than you can chew? It is therefore important that you perfectly match the machine you intend to purchase with the skill set of your machine operators.

If the machine you intend to purchase requires specialized training, then you must assess if your operators have the pre-requisite technical skills and experience to undertake the training. 

Budget Considerations

Since there are different machines with varying costs, you should choose carton packaging machines based on your budget. This will guide you on the most suitable cartoning equipment that you can effectively run and manage.

Cartoning Machine Manufacturer: Experience, Capacity, & Support

Identifying a suitable cartoning machine for your packaging process is one thing. So, before you make a purchase decision, take time to research the available cartoning machine manufacturers.

Compare their prices, the quality of their products, their warranty, and the technical support they offer.

Industry Applications of Cartoning Machines

Below are areas where you can use your carton packaging machine: 

Cartoning Machines in the Food & Beverage Industry

The food industry uses cartoning machines to package a wide range of products.

Such products may include sachets of food products or stick packs, bread, confectionaries, bagged coffee, etc. For delicate food products, you should use vertical cartoning machines.

Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics, & Chemical Packaging Industry

Cartoning packaging machines work with a wide range of pharmaceutical production lines. For instance, in the production of pharmaceutical products such as blister packs, tubes, and aseptic eye drops, among pharmaceutical production lines, cartoning is the secondary packaging solution. 

In the production of tablets and capsule drugs, pharmaceutical industries depend on the blister cartoning line for the secondary packaging of drugs into carton boxes for easy delivery.

Cartoning Machines: Maintenance Tips

Like other packaging equipment, your carton packaging machine requires effective maintenance to serve you better and longer. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your cartoning machine in perfect and lasting working condition

Develop a Preventive Maintenance Schedule

Establish a periodic preventive maintenance schedule to ensure your cartoning machines operate optimally.

Your skilled personnel should inspect moving parts, carton blanks, and screw connections and take appropriate, timely actions. You must timely replace worn-out machine parts. Effective lubrication of moving parts is critical.

Note: Apart from the scheduled preventive maintenance, daily maintenance should include keeping the cartoning machine free from dust. Always adhere to the maintenance guidelines provided by your cartoning machine manufacturer. 

Stock-Suitable Replacement Parts

Always have adequate stock of the main replacement parts because ordering new parts may take a long time and negatively affect your production process.

You should also have a comprehensive list of all replacement parts and their part numbers for easy access when placing your purchase orders.

Keep Your Carton Machines Updated

Software controls the operations of your cartoning machines. Ensure that you install the machine’s software updates when they are available to enhance your machine’s operation. Always check the website of your machine manufacturer for any updated information regarding cartoning machines.

Partner With A Manufacturer Who Can Support You

During carton packaging, your machine may develop problems that require support from the manufacturer. Therefore, to make your maintenance less stressful, only buy your cartoning machines from a manufacturer providing end-user support.

Conclusion 

Incorporating cartoning machines into your production line is the best strategy for enhancing production efficiency. 

The characteristics of your products and the requirement to adapt to other packaging requirements should inform your choice of cartoning machines. 

To ensure the long-term operation of your cartoning machine, you must identify and only buy from a manufacturer capable of providing the timely and flexible support services you may need. 

If you are looking for a suitable cartoning machine or a cartoner machine that suits your packaging needs, talk to us for guidance and support.

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