We’ve just got back from exhibiting at the Internet Retailing Expo, where packaging machines were a hot topic. Many businesses we spoke to could see real benefits from automating their packaging processes; speeding up their productivity, saving money on materials, and reducing their impact on the environment.
We answered so many questions about machines that we’ve decided to put together this guide, to give you an introduction to packaging machines, what they can offer, and the types of machines available.
A stretch wrap machine, Mini Pack’r, a strapping machine and a Fillpak TT
We’ve split out the contents below, so you can easily jump straight into any section.
Why automate your packaging processes?
Cushioning products, bagging, strapping boxes or wrapping pallets are all processes that can be made faster, cheaper and more efficient by packaging machines.
Just some of the benefits that machines can bring include:
- Speeding up your packaging and warehouse processes, increasing efficiency.
- Reducing the amount of materials used and waste produced, cutting costs.
- Freeing up space in your warehouse, for more stock or to increase productivity.
- Helping to reduce the impact of your business on the environment.
- Giving your business more control over your packaging, improving flexibility.
If you are packaging more than 10 packages per day, then it’s likely that a packaging machine could save your business time and money. Many machines are available to rent too, so there are no large, upfront costs to worry about.
If you’re packaging a very low number of items though, or wrapping specialist products, then an automated packaging machines might not be right for you, or something manual like a Fillpak M could be an option. Our experts are always happy to help, and if you’re unsure whether machines could make a difference to your business, contact us today.
How can packaging machines help?
A large number of packaging processes can be automated, including wrapping, strapping, sealing and cushioning. At RAJA we categorise packaging machines into three different types, by the function that they perform:
In this guide we’ve explained what each type does, how it can be used, and what it can be used for, to help you see if a machine could be right for you.
Protective Packaging Machines
Ensuring your goods arrive at their destination safely and in one piece is essential to any successful business. To protect loose items during shipping, paper or air void fill is perfect for cushioning and protection.
Air cushion & paper void fill being used to protect items.
Protective packaging machines produce void fill quickly and easily, as and when it’s needed, rather than purchasing it pre-made (such as loose fill, shredded tissue paper or bubble wrap).
The packaging materials that feed into the machines (such as plastic or paper) can be ordered in economical rolls, which means less shipping cost to your business and more storage space for you.
Air Cushion Machines
These compact little machines produce cushions of air for insulating and protecting your items. Simply load a roll of bags onto the spindle, select your cushion settings, and you can instantly produce void fill on demand when you need it.
Machines such as the Mini Pak’r have a tiny footprint (H33cm x W36cm x D28cm) or the Opus Mini (H28cm x W30cm x D28cm) and can be used almost anywhere. Simple to use, they can produce cushions fast and efficiently and are perfect for small to medium packaging operations.
For larger businesses, machines such as the Fill-Air Rocket™ Machine are easily able to cope with high volumes of air cushions, and give you more control over the sizes of you can produce, from tiny 2cm ones, to large air cushions as wide as 18cm.
The Mini Pak’r Void Fill Machine & Opus Air Cushion System
Paper Void Fill Systems
Paper void fill machines offer another cost effective, eco-friendly way to create void fill. Studies have shown that consumers prefer to receive paper packaging materials in their parcels for environmental reasons. The machines take reams of paper in, and deliver strong, crimpled paper which can be used to wrap, cushion, block, or brace packages securely.
These machines are ideal for high volume operations (up to 1.4 metres of paper void per second) and though larger than the air cushion systems, they offer greater flexibility. If you package over 50 products a day, they are almost guaranteed to save you time and money, and typically cut down materials use by 30% within the first 3 months.
More advanced models include features such as remote controls, foot pedals, and paper length programming. The PadPak range is suitable for the blocking and bursting your products.
A Fillpak M manual system, PadPak Junior, and the more advanced PadPak Senior for high speed packaging lines.
Paper void fill machines are available in a number of different sizes to suit a range of budgets and demands.
The lower cost models such as the Fillpak M are suited for small volume operations. They dispense paper manually through a funnel, giving you complete control over the amount of packaging needed. For moderate volume operations, machines like the Padpak Junior are well suited for lines packaging at least 30 items per day.
Fully automated, high volume machines such as the PadPak Senior are perfect for fast packaging lines and are able to flow paper through continually. Paper lengths can be pre-programmed to ensure that the right amount of void fill is always dispensed.
Our Guide to Void Fill Machines
Our packaging machine experts at RajaSystem have developed a quick and easy online guide to see whether a void fill machine could be right for you.
We’ve selected the best paper, air, and foam void fill solutions that we have to offer and built them into this helpful guide.
Simply answer a few questions about how many parcels you pack and how you protect them, and our system will determine the most suitable void fill machines for you.
We pride ourselves on ensuring our customers are using the most cost effective packaging for their needs, and with the release of this guide we hope to give you another way to do just that.
Closure Packaging Machines
Once your products are packed and in a box, that box needs to be properly secured whether it’s going on a pallet for loading or simply being shipped as is. A closure machine straps or wraps packages to ensure that what’s packed and sealed won’t split open or leak out during delivery.
Closure machines come in two types; Strapping, which is perfect for reinforcing boxes and large loads, and Stretch Film, which tightly wraps around and secures pallets.
Box secured with Strapping & Stretch Film Wrapped Pallet
If you’re shipping goods that need extra reinforcement, then you might already use strapping to add another layer of security to your shipments, with something like a hand strapping tool.
Strapping machines automate this process, cutting, wrapping and sealing strapping around packages quickly and efficiently. A typical machine can wrap and strap a box in under 10 seconds, and fully automatic models work completely hands free via a foot pedal. A strapping machine ensures that each seal is consistently secured and guaranteed to hold.
A Semi-Automatic & Automatic Strapping Machine
If you’re manually strapping over 50 packages a day, then it’s likely that the addition of a machine could save you significant time and money.
Stretch Film Machines
If you’re wrapping whole pallets of goods using something like a stretch film dispenser, then a stretch wrap machine might be the solution to speed up your operation.
These machines are able to automatically wrap an entire pallet of goods as soon as it has been dropped onto their base. The speed at which they do this varies, from entry level machines which are simple to setup and use, to industrial programmable machines, which can be customised to your consignments.
Robot Serie 6 – Stretch Film Robot
If you are after more flexibility, then a stretch wrap robot might better suit your needs such as the Robot Serie 6. Extremely versatile and packed with technology, it is able to wrap just about any size or shape product. Extra features mean it can easily wrap unstable loads, and improve efficiency by using less stretch film, effectively saving you materials costs.
Stretch film machines are suited to businesses who need to secure and ship large quantities of palletised goods, and are commonly used by larger warehouse operations. If you’re currently wrapping over 50 pallets per day then a stretch film machine could speed up your wrapping process.
Shrink Wrap & Heat Sealer Machines
Shrink wrap and heat sealer machines are designed to package and protect items by sealing them in bags. They do this by wrapping them in PVC or shrink film, keeping them free from dust and dirt in storage or protecting them from damage during delivery or while on display.
Both systems can produce bags of almost any size; for smaller items such as jewellery or electronics, CDs or books, to larger more awkward items (typically up to 800mm in width).
Being able to produce your own bags offers many benefits; bags of any size can be quickly made to order, and materials can easily be stored on-site so that bags are always on hand when needed, saving time.
Shrink Wrap Machines
Shrink Wrap systems are perfect for packaging or presenting retail products, such as large books, mirrors or pictures, typically up to 800mm wide. The shrink wrap forms a tight puncture resistant film, protecting items against water and dust. These systems are ideal for businesses who are looking for a lower cost solution but still seeking a professional result.
The PACKER range of shrink wrap systems are designed for low volume operations. Coming complete with a sealer, bag dispenser and hot air blower, these systems are all you need to begin professionally bagging your products.
PACKER complete shrink wrap film system
Heat Sealer Machines
Heat sealers offer a more industrial, high volume solution if you need to seal large quantities of bags quickly and easily. Small and compact, they can fit into an existing packaging operation and can be mounted on a stand with a foot pedal for hands free operation.
For smaller, low volume businesses that only require bags up to 500mm wide, ‘push to seal’ units are ideal which operate with a built in cutter, saving time when bagging up smaller products.
A Small Volume Heat Sealer
For larger quantities (typically up to 800 bags per 8 hours), we offer industrial sealers such as the Opti-seal Industrial Sealer. This can seal bags up to 790mm wide and features adjustable sealing and cooling times, for various different films and bags.
An Industrial Heat Sealer, able to seal up to 800 bags a day.
Accessories are also available for heat sealers, such as foot pedals and desktop stands, that mean you can customise the machine to your operation. Spares kits can also be bought which make it easy to maintain and service your machine.
Buying, Renting, & Maintaining
Buying a packaging machine can usually mean a big initial investment, which can be difficult for small or medium sizes businesses to justify. It’s why many of our packaging machines are available to rent, with no high up-front costs, though your first step would be to demo a machine before committing further.
Our machines can be rented from as little as £15 per month and include free delivery, installation, and after care support. This means that you can focus on integrating the machine into your operation, without having to worry about the long term financial commitment.
One final factor to consider when adopting an automatic packaging machine is what happens if they go wrong or need repair? For your total piece of mind, we can arrange on-site call outs in case of any problems, so you can ensure minimal downtime in your operation if any problems do occur.
Our Expert Opinion
Finally, we caught up our resident machines expert, Chris Sheehan to get his thoughts on the impact packaging machines can make. Chris has helped his fair share of customers make the transition to a packaging machine and believes:
“The first step for most customers is realising that they actually have a need for a machine. Once this happens, selling the benefits and finding the right machine for a customer’s needs is actually quite straight forward.”
“Investing in a packaging machine isn’t just about saving on the price of using machine consumables and rental of the machine compared to their current protective packaging. Using traditional packaging products can take up more than three times as much space in your warehouse as a roll of film or a block of paper. And we all know that warehousing space is at a premium, so every bit of it counts.”
“The same can be said for packing speed and productivity. Having a machine available to produce void fill, air cushions or bubble on demand at a work station means a reduction in time to pack – meaning orders go out the door quicker. It can also result in a reduction of temporary staff in peak periods of the year.”
To find out more about Packaging Machines and if they might be right for your business, or for a no obligation demonstration, please get in touch with our experts. Call us free on 0800 142 26 46 or email email@example.com.