automated packaging line

Is packaging automation right for your business?

If budgets are tight and the pressure is on to reduce costs, the last thing you might be considering is making a big business decision that will involve investing money. But, while there is no denying that packaging machinery would require some level of capital investment, evidence shows that any outlay is soon recouped through improved packing times and greater efficiency overall.

And it isn’t just large-scale operations that benefit; SMEs can also make cost savings through the introduction of carefully chosen technology. From semi- to fully-automated, there is packaging equipment to fit every budget and every step of the packing process, helping operations to become more efficient, more flexible, and better protected from fluctuations in the availability of labour – something that may well become an even bigger issue in the UK as EU labour grows increasingly scarce.

If you’re still unsure if packaging automation is right for your operation, then consider these five examples of how packaging machinery could help to reduce costs:

1. Reduced storage costs

A reduction in storage costs might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of packaging automation, but if you have acres of space given over to storage of  packaging materials then a switch to on-demand packaging could free up space, improve efficiency and make a significant difference to your bottom line.

On-demand packaging systems are available to support a variety of stages of the packing process. For example, there are machines that custom-make boxes to any size as you need it, so there is no need to keep multiple box sizes in stock, plus, less void fill is needed,  damages are minimised, and shipping costs reduced. Void fill and cushioning – paper, air and foam options – can also be created on demand and, because the systems are usually mobile, it is possible to move them between packaging stations as required.

Read case study: The Book People


2. Improved pallet security

Pallets that are poorly secured are prone to damage during transit, which can lead to costly returns. By swapping to automated stretch-wrapping, it is possible to improve load containment, and enhance quality and aesthetics of the wrapping, at a much faster rate – and achieving greater yield from each roll of film – than if done by hand.

After introducing automated stretch wrapping, one Antalis customer projected packaging cost savings over a three-year period of around £50,000.

Read case study: Seabrook Crisps


3. Less wastage

Whether it’s waste through using poor quality or too much packaging, or waste through damaged goods, the fact is waste costs. Automated packaging systems and machinery can help to address all of these issues and more. As we have already explored in points 1 and 2, above, not only will it produce packaging to a consistent and more secure standard, it does it with just the right amount of material, too.

Read case study: UK-based DIY distribution company


4. Faster packing times

Assembling or sealing cartons by hand can be a time consuming task, increasing the cost per pack and eating into valuable time that could be spent more productively. Automated and semi-automated case erectors and automated tape application machines can speed up the packing process significantly, freeing up operatives to focus on other, more fruitful aspects of the packing process. The machines are also mobile and have a compact footprint so can be moved easily according to need.


5. Better health and safety

Manual handling is a significant factor in workplace injury. In the UK in 2017-18, 30.7 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury at a cost of approximately £15 billion (source: HSE). If lost time injuries are a concern for your business, it is worth bearing in mind that automated packaging solutions can help to reduce risk, however, if you do decide to invest in packaging machinery, or perhaps you already have some in use, it is important to ensure it is well-maintained.

Read case study: UK-based DIY distribution company


Want to find out more about packaging automation and machinery and how it could help you to reduce costs? Contact our dedicated machinery team today to get started