Whether the world shifts from physical to virtual, one aspect will remain constant: packaging will be required in both scenarios. The packaging industry itself comprises a variety of vast machines that contribute to the final product. Each of these machines plays a unique and important role in the packaging process for different businesses and sectors.
In this article, we will be analyzing the different types of machines that are not only common but are also considered versatile in the packaging industry. Through this, you can gain a basic understanding of packaging machines and how multiple processes take place to shape the fast-moving consumer industry.
Cartoning Machine / Cartoner
A cartoner is one of the most essential packaging machines in the industry. One step into the grocery store can help you understand how vastly a cartoner is used. From foodstuff items, such as juice boxes and milk boxes to medicine bottles, the cartoner machine spans across different industries and business sectors.
A cartoning machine is used to manufacture straight, erect boxes which are folded and then sealed with an adherent. There are two types of cartoning machines:
- Horizontal / end-load cartoners
- Vertical cartoners
In a horizontal cartoning machine, the package is open from only one side and placed horizontally through which the cartoning machine fills it up with the product. Its sides are then folded, sealed, and tucked with glue or any other type of adherent.
However, in a vertical cartoner, the cartons are vertically loaded on the magazine, its open end facing upwards. It is then manually or automatically filled or loaded with the product inside. After the loading process, the carton package is then folded, its side flaps tucked in and then sealed for dispatch.
Thermoforming Packaging Machines
A thermoforming packaging machine is one of the most efficient and flexible machines to grace the packaging industry. As it is quite multifunctional, this machine can be used to package food and non-food products alike. The thermoforming packaging machine makes use of materials such as several special plastic thermoforming materials that can be flexible film or rigid film.
Furthermore, this machine is highly customizable as well, which adds to its popularity. Its molds can be designed according to any business’s specifications or preference regarding its product’s packaging. The thermoforming packaging machine specializes in various packaging styles such as:
- Vacuum packaging
- VSP vacuum skin pack
- Dialysis paper or flexible/rigid film packaging
- MAP modified atmosphere packaging in flexible film
- MAP modified atmosphere packaging in rigid film
- Vacuum Skin Packaging Machines
Vacuum skin packaging machines are used mainly for food items to preserve them and elongate their shelf life. These machines make use of high-barrier flexible film which is melted to conform to the shape and size of the pre-made rigid tray or laminated cardboard. The film tightly clings onto the food product, eradicating all traces of the packaging atmosphere to create a second skin surrounding the product.
Vacuum skin packaging machines utilize high-quality plastic and CPET trays. These materials are durable and heat resistant which makes them safe for packaging as it does not harm the food. Various vacuum skin packaging machines are equipped with sealing stations that can make 20 to over 150 sealed trays per minute.
- Labeling Machine
A labeling machine is a fundamental automation machine in the manufacturing process that is essential to the packaging industry. No packaging is complete without any labels that state the product and brand information. Hence, this is where the labeling machine is required.
A labeling machine is used not only for legal purposes but also for product advertisement and inventory regulation via the barcode. Moreover, there are various types of labeling machines that are available in the market such as:
- Horizontal wrap labelers
- Vertical wrap labelers
- Top labelers
- Front and back labelers
- Top and bottom labelers
- Print and apply labelers
- Custom labeling applicator
There are also labeling machines that are available for specific purposes. For example, labeling machines that are designed to place labels on the surface of cans, bottles, cartons, vials for the pharmaceutical industry, and automatic barcodes.
- Filling machines
For liquid and gel products, a filling machine is crucial for their packaging. A filling machine allows the liquid product to be pumped consistently and accurately into the product’s container.
Moreover, filling machines are equipped with timers that allow the pump to fill the container for a pre-set amount of time. for further accuracy, the speed of the pump can be adjusted as well. Some filling machines also employ a pulse-based fill. A pulse-based fill measures the movement or revolution of any component of the filling machine for each cycle.
In conclusion, various machines contribute to the packaging industry. There are tens of, if not hundreds, of automotive machines who are at work to present a consumer with quality controlled and securely packaged products. The machines listed above are just a few of the many in the manufacturing process of the packaging industry.