Customers sometimes need help distinguishing between top-load case packing and side-load case packing. This article gives a comprehensive guide on when to use a top-load case packer for your packaging automation project.
Top Load Case Packing Benefits
Top Load Case Packers can be beneficial when running product that is difficult to collate and pack in a horizontal orientation. Examples include paint cans, bottles, pouches, jars, and bags. Collating these types of products in a horizontal orientation involves more mechanisms to collate and pack, which makes the machine more complex and expensive. With a top load case packer, you can keep the product in its present orientation and top load directly into the case. These factors allow the machine to have a minimum use of mechanisms and ensure a higher efficiency during operation. Other benefits are below.
- Ability to run slip sheets in between layers of the product
- Can integrate partitions in the case for bottle or canned-type projects
- There is no need to rotate the case 90 degrees before palletizing operations
- Certain products will keep their orientation coming from upstream operations like fillers and cappers, which can potentially enhance product quality
- Have flexibility to run other product types as the robot used to pick and place can accommodate different product types by simply changing the end effector
- Case erecting, loading, and sealing can be condensed into one machine if the speeds are limited
Top Load Case Packing Drawbacks
Top Load Case Packers typically have larger machine frames than end-load case packers. Top-load case erecting is typically more complex than end-load case packers, as the case needs to be oriented vertically. Furthermore, for high-speed applications, the case erecting portion of the machine sometimes needs separation from the frame, which loses the ability to have a monobloc frame. This situation increases change over time and employs a larger footprint. Finally, having multiple product SKUs will increase the cost of change parts as you will need various end effectors to handle different pack patterns and product characteristics. Other drawbacks are below.
- Top load case packing is not an excellent option for tightly packed cases as you cannot use a loading funnel to actuate to the crease line of the case
- More expensive change parts are required for running multiple SKUs
- Changeover can potentially be longer if the top load case packer is not a monobloc solution
- Monobloc top-load case packers are typically more expensive than end-load style case packers
In summary, end-load and top-load style case packers offer different benefits and drawbacks. Top-load case packing can be beneficial when dealing with products best handled vertically. Furthermore, they can fit your project when you require additional items packaged into your case, such as literature, layer sheets, and partitions. The best scenario is to work with a packaging machinery automation specialist to determine the most practical solution for your floor plan and project. This solution will not only help you pick the best possible case packer but will also ensure you have a flexible system that will meet the needs of your production line.