When you approach case packer manufacturers, it’s best to do your homework. Prepare a document that answers all of the following questions:
1. Product and package.
What is your product? What is the package type (e.g., carton, tub, bottle, can, blister pack, etc.)? Does this product have different sizes that you want handled on a single machine?
2. What are the dimensions of the primary package?
If it is a round container, you’ll want to specify diameter and height. Or length, width, and depth (LxWxD) if it’s a carton. Most case-packer manufacturers will want LxWxD dimensions according to how the product will be placed in the container relative to the container opening.
3. How will the product be delivered to the machine?
Will the package be standing up? On its side? Which way will it face as it is entering the machine? Sometimes it helps to draw a little sketch showing how the package will be oriented on the infeed conveyor. Also, what do you want to see when you open the case? Which way should the package printing or labels be facing?
4. Line speed.
How fast will the primary packages be fed to the case packer, in packages per minute Will there be a steady flow or surges and gaps? Will they be supplied from more than one upstream machine to the case packer (today or possibly in the future)?
5. Case Orientation.
Speaking the lingo is key to communicating well with a vendor. For case packers, length is the dimension in the direction of travel through the machine. Width is the dimension perpendicular to the direction of case travel. Height is the up / down dimension of the case.
For some Regular Slotted Containers (RSCs), the location of the "manufacturer's joint" can be a source of product loading jams. Talk about where it should be for optimum case packer operation.
6. Case count and pack pattern.
How many product packages will go into each size container? What are your desired pack patterns? This can be communicated by indicating the pack count along each dimension. For example, 24-count 3x4x2 (LxWxD) means there are three products along the longest flap (length dimension), four products along the shortest flap (width dimension), and two layers of product (stacked two high) in the depth dimension.
7. Weight/handling issues. Is your product very heavy, or very light?
Wet, sticky, or slippery? Hard or soft? Hot, cold, or frozen? Sturdy or wobbly? Liquid or solid? What is the room temperature and humidity level where the machine will run?
8. What configuration are you looking for?
Semi- or fully-automatic? Wraparound, horizontal, or top or bottom load? Left or right hand? In-line, perpendicular, or counterflow? Glue (hot or cold) and/or tape sealing?
This article was excerpted from a handbook from Schneider Packaging Equipment Co., Inc.