How to get the most out of automated box last, automated box first, multi-machine manufacturing flow, and custom batch production.

Packaging lines can vary significantly based on a range of factors, including the industry, the types of products being packaged, production volume, automation levels, packaging materials, desired efficiency, and specific requirements of the manufacturing process. The type of automation needed to optimize a particular packaging line depends on these same factors, as well as desired efficiency, accuracy requirements and budget.


Optimize your packaging line and how it can benefit you:

Automated Box First/Last

Automated box first” and “automated box last” refer to the two main configurations for packaging products within a carton or box on a packaging line. These configurations determine the sequence of product insertion and packaging in relation to the carton or box.

In the automated box first configuration, the carton or box is erected and prepared, and then the products are placed inside. This can be efficient for handling fragile or sensitive products that may need extra care during the loading process as it allows for precise and controlled packing since the box is ready and stable during loading.

In the automated box last configuration, products are first grouped and prepared (often with an automated system), and then a machine forms the carton or box around the grouped products.

Product insertion and sealing: The formed carton is then sealed or closed for further processing. This may be suitable for high-speed packaging lines where grouping products separately can optimize the process, and it also allows for flexibility in product configurations and packaging options as it can accommodate a wide range of product sizes and shapes.

The choice between automated box first and automated box last will depend on factors such as the nature of the products being packaged, the desired packaging speed and efficiency, the overall layout and design of the packaging line, and cost considerations. System integrators often analyze the specific requirements of the product and the packaging line to determine the most suitable approach for efficient and cost-effective packaging operations.

Multi-Machine Manufacturing Flow

A multi-machine manufacturing flow, also known as a multi-stage manufacturing process, involves a series of interconnected machines or workstations through which a product passes sequentially to undergo various operations or transformations. Each machine or workstation is responsible for specific tasks or processes, and the product moves from one stage to another until it reaches the final stage of production. This type of manufacturing flow is common in many industries and helps achieve efficient and specialized production.

Examples of industries that commonly utilize a multi-machine manufacturing flow include automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods production. In these industries, products often go through various stages, each handled by specialized machines, to achieve the desired end product. The efficiency and effectiveness of the entire manufacturing process depend on the proper coordination, sequencing, and optimization of these interconnected machines and workstations.

Custom Batch Production

Custom batch production, also known as batch manufacturing, involves producing a specific quantity of products, usually in a limited or predetermined batch size, to meet specific customer requirements or demands. Each batch of products is usually manufactured according to a unique set of specifications, design, or customization requested by the customer. This approach allows for customization and adaptation of the production process for different customer needs while maintaining some economies of scale when compared to one-off, fully customized manufacturing.

Custom batch production is commonly utilized in various industries such as food and beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing, electronics, and even in small-scale manufacturing businesses. It strikes a balance between customization and efficient production, allowing manufacturers to cater to individual customer requirements while maintaining operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Next Steps

Ultimately, the selection and integration of automation components for your packaging line should be based on careful analysis of the packaging process requirements, volume, product characteristics, and desired operational efficiency.

It’s essential to work with automation experts and system integrators  to design and implement a customized automation solution that meets the specific needs and goals of your packaging line.

Contact a material handling and automation expert to help you streamline your operations to maximize productivity and increase your ROI.