Optimize Your Packaging Line Through End-of-Line Automation

Blog Post

Packaging automation for the warehouse has been the holy grail ever since the first automated storage and retrieval systems revolutionized the layout of the warehouse over half a century ago. The challenges of the environment include the need to function around people, the need for precision and the need to capture and catalog large amounts of data, both on performance as well as on the products passing through the packing line. Up until the last decade of breakthroughs, these challenges had yet to be solved.

Now, packaging automation that is capable of reducing shipping cost, improving packaging productivity, and functioning safely within an environment shared by employees is available and can be scaled with the needs of businesses of different sizes and stages of maturity.

Today, Ranpak Automation offers a total end-of-line automation solution that enables a pick-to-shipper strategy, compatible with any picking method. A pick-to-shipper strategy allows products to be picked directly into the “shipper” box that will be sent to the end-customer, saving an entire process step by eliminating the need to pick to and then pack boxes from the contents of plastic totes.

As experts in intralogistics, automation, and sustainable packaging, Ranpak Automation offers a unique combination of factors that provide value for our customers. We are proud to advance the future of sustainable packaging through automation solutions that can help Deliver a Better World®.

Innovative, modular, and scalable solutions.

rendering of warehouse packing line with packaging automation

We leverage our end-of-line packaging expertise and perspective, collaborating with our customers to design modular solutions that will scale to their future aspirations and market trends. This means that there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” strategy from Ranpak Automation. Our process is based on partnership and consultation, with a range of solutions to address the specific pain-points of your business.

Cut'it EVO machine on a packing line with a conveyor belt

First, we gather volumetric and order data so that we can gain an understanding of your typical packaging and product mix. That data is the foundation that we use to recommend solutions, matching the reality of your business with the automation systems that we can offer.

After your solutions are in place, we continue to monitor their performance and collect data on the packages that they are processing. This provides additional value that can be used to fine tune your strategy.

As your business grows, modularity and scalability become even more relevant. Modularity is a critical factor because it allows different solutions to work independently as well as in concert. When you are ready to automate another step in your process, you can easily add new solutions to each line that you know will be compatible.

This is also where scalability comes into play. Modularity allows new solutions to be introduced along with growing demand, helping business to keep pace and scale to opportunity without overextending into unnecessary investments.

Reducing shipping costs by improving packaging productivity.

different sized cardboard boxes, right sized to limit packaging waste

We understand your business drivers and use data to maximize outcomes, fully supporting your team every step of the way. Because our process starts with getting to know your business and your products, we have a solid foundation for the introduction of automation solutions based on the metrics required for ROI.

Improved throughput is one of the metrics that is most linked to overall warehouse productivity. Throughput refers to how fast goods and boxes can be processed into packaged orders as they pass through a line and is directly improved through automation. For example, Cut’it!™ EVO is capable of reducing height to the highest point of filling and then sealing up to 15 boxes per minute.

Labor within the warehouse can be reduced or redirected to different tasks thanks to increased throughput from automation. By automating the most repetitive tasks within the packing line, employees can avoid ergonomic risks while pursuing more strategic work. This includes monitoring performance and analyzing solution data, as well as managing triage lanes for packages that have been flagged by upstream systems as requiring manual intervention—a good example of how the unplanned work of reacting to a problem can be turned into planned work through the integration of technology.

cardboard box going through box height reduction machine

Materials can be used more efficiently within an automated workflow. A good example can be found in AutoFill™, a solution that will automatically measure and then distribute the ideal amount of void fill material required based on the contents of each box. The precise use of paper helps mitigate waste over time, with the assurance that each distribution of paper material is using only what is necessary.

Other solutions can dramatically reduce or even eliminate the need for additional materials within packaging. Flap’it!™ can package smaller, flat items within a single, folded cardboard blank using a design where corners are reinforced by bumpers, meaning no extra material is required inside the parcel.

Costs will ultimately be influenced by, materials, labor, and throughput. Reducing costs from materials and labor while pursuing improved throughput helps to make the packing line more economically efficient. Beyond that, volume optimized packaging helps to save costs incurred during shipping through the reduction of dimensional weight (DIM weight) and the ability to fit more packages onto the same shipping pallet.

Sustainable solutions that protect the planet.

Sustainability is one of the key differentiators that Ranpak Automation brings to the table. We are committed to building technology that enables both ourselves and our customers to protect the planet by minimizing our environmental footprint and material use. Our automation solutions are designed to work with our sustainable paper packaging, replacing unnecessary plastic.

warehouse worker placing item into Flap'it machine to create an on demand cardboard mailer

Paper packaging presents several sustainability benefits over plastic. Unlike fossil fuels which are used to create most virgin plastics, paper is made from trees, which are a renewable resource. When harvested from certified, sustainability managed land, wood can regenerate without harming critical forest environments or indigenous livelihoods.

Paper also enjoys a high potential for recycling. Easily disposed of within home and curbside recycling bins, the material can be reliably reused up to 7 times while retaining strength.

Learn more about the differences between paper and plastic.

As a natural material, paper is able to biodegrade when not recycled, rather than disintegrating into pervasive and potentially harmful microplastics. By using automation in conjunction with sustainable packaging materials, global logistics and e-commerce can be made more efficient without accelerating reliance on unsustainable practices.

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23-25 July 2024 | Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia