Automation has been the packaging industry’s lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. It speeds up packaging processes, allowing facilities to meet increases in demand due to the explosive growth of e-commerce.
With advanced equipment like automated box folding machines, business owners can increase their production efficiency and reduce manufacturing waste. However, not all facilities can afford to invest in automated packaging equipment. Luckily, there are semi-automated options available at friendlier prices, ideal for business owners that want to ease into automation slowly.
SBL Machinery discusses the pros and cons of fully and semi-automated folder gluer machines to help you choose the right one for your packaging needs.
Semi-Automated Folder Gluer
A semi-automated packaging machine has at least one automated functionality. Although it still needs human supervision, it’s not as labour-intensive as manual folder gluers. A semi-auto is a good option if you want to slightly reduce your manpower costs.
- Quick and Easy Installation: Semi-auto box folders are relatively easier to install compared to fully automated ones. They don’t require a complicated configuration, so the setup only takes several minutes.
- High Level of Versatility: You can configure your machine according to the demand you’re trying to meet. If you want to increase your production, you can add more automated functions.
- Better Quality Control: Since some of the machine’s functions are still manual, it’s easier for your personnel to adjust for corrections and quality improvements without interrupting the production processes.
- Scalability: Semi-automated folder gluers have better adaptability when it comes to your production size. You can easily adjust quantities and speed depending on your demand or other production constraints.
- Training-Intensive: Your staff will still need to learn how to operate the folder gluer. The machine is trickier to use compared to fully automated ones since most of its functions are still manual. Your employees also need time to familiarize themselves with the new equipment, which can impact your production speed.
- Inconsistent Productivity: Your productivity varies based on your work methods, existing workflows involving the machine, box configuration and product mix. Boxes in unconventional sizes and shapes, for instance, take longer to process.
- Relatively Slow: Semi-auto box folders are faster than manual machines but slower than fully automated ones. If you want optimal speed, a fully automated folder gluer is the better option.
Fully Automated Folder Gluer
A fully automated folding gluing machine runs by itself, even without human supervision. You do need an operator to perform setups and adjustments. But once the machine is set up and running, the operator doesn’t need to keep an eye on it. This folder gluer is best for packaging facilities that are looking to cut their labour costs significantly.
- Highest Production Speed: As long as the machine is configured properly, it will run at the highest possible speed. It doesn’t require human participation, eliminating room for errors and bottlenecks. You can set the machine at a slower speed if you’re not rushing to meet schedules.
- Consistent Productivity: Full-auto box folders deliver consistent productivity. You can expect roughly the same volume each day, helping you stay on target.
- High Production Scale: If you’re running large volumes with same-sized boxes, a fully automated folder gluer is the best option for you.
- Expensive: High-speed fully automated box folders cost way more than manual or semi-auto ones. But with the benefits it can give your business, it’s a worthwhile investment that can give you a high ROI.
- Difficult to Install: The installation process is complicated and requires extensive technical knowledge. You don’t have to worry about setting it up though since the manufacturer should handle it for you.
- Requires a Large Space: Fully automated folders gluers take up a huge amount of space, which can be a problem for smaller facilities.
If you’re a medium-sized packaging facility that’s only starting to try automation, a semi-automated box folder would fit your needs better. It will give you the efficiency and speed you need to increase your production size, which can catapult your business growth.
Fully automated folding gluing machines, on the other hand, are best for large facilities whose priorities are speed, productivity and volume. These businesses have a production size and demand that would let them achieve a high ROI on their equipment. Plus, a full-auto folder gluer will ensure that their operations run 24/7, preventing downtime that can disrupt their timelines and affect customer satisfaction.
Whether you’re purchasing a semi- or fully automated packaging machine, make sure you’re sourcing it from a reputable manufacturer. This way, you’re guaranteed of its quality, giving you a high-performing machine that lasts years.
Trusted Packaging Equipment Manufacturer
From top-grade folding gluing machines to hot foil stampers, SBL Machinery offers a wide range of packaging equipment to fulfil your production needs. We carry a range of packaging solutions with options for customization, meeting the unique needs of different industries.
SBL Machinery also offers maintenance and repair services to ensure the safe operation of your packaging equipment.
For enquiries about our automated box folding machines, call SBL Machinery at +886 2 2680-2199 or fill out our contact form.