Automation in the Packaging Industry
The industrial sector is seeing great advances as automation revolutionizes the way manufacturers produce and package products. The utilization of these new technologies ultimately improves productivity, reduces labor cost, and increases overall safety of the workplace. The laborious and repetitive steps required in packaging is an ideal scenario for automation applications. To meet growing demand, CMC Machinery developed a corrugated box assembly machine that autonomously bends and assembles flat corrugated fanfold cartons. Their automation process can also fill the box, attach shipping labels, and add custom designs onto the plain corrugated. CMC asserts that their automated production line can produce 15 boxes per minute.
While traditional direct input automation has become more commonplace in the industry, the next step in innovation is the integration of artificial intelligence and complex software into these processes. In a typical packaging line, once a product is packaged, it then must be shipped. For industries with large orders of identical products, these individual boxes will usually be palletized. PalletizeUR is a breakthrough product that tackles this task by utilizing automation. What’s truly innovative is their hardware and software. The robot is self-contained, can be moved with a pallet jack, only requires a pneumatic connection and a power source. This is complemented by the complex software that enables the PalletizeUR to automatically palletize any box type in any configuration set by the user.
With the increase in complexity of automation, there is a noticeable and necessary shift toward digitalization. As more sensors are utilized and more is being asked of the technology, a larger amount of data must be processed. That data can ultimately be stored and analyzed to improve process efficiency in the future. Internet connectivity and AI bring packaging lines closer and closer to a zero-downtime state where production is maximized. Furthermore, new AI implementation has begun to predict machine wear and determine when periodic maintenance is needed. This enables the AI to monitor whether the machines are wearing abnormality and thus notify users. There is a growing body of research on “deep learning” AI, specifically in which the program is given only a few parameters and then teaches itself how to perform through trial and error. The packaging industry will greatly benefit from the use of automation and AI, which will make previously cost-prohibitive and physically injurious tasks possible.
Allen Field develops its packaging components with these challenges and technologies in mind. Currently, our product development team is working on a handle that can be employed on a fully automated production line. A lot of these new technologies are only beginning to be integrated into the packaging industry but Allen Field is committed to providing solutions that meet these changing demands. Want to learn more about Allen Field’s packaging solutions? Reach out to a packaging expert today by calling us at 1.800.535.0810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter here to stay up to date on the latest Allen Field news.