How To Choose The Right Carton Erector

How to choose a carton erector

Are you planning to get a new case erector for your company? There are some fundamental case erector requirements that you need to consider. 

The first thing to look at is the preferences of your company. The second determinant is your downstream packaging process. The good news is that you can clearly define all these requirements. 

There are so many case erector manufacturers who deal in different types of products. Thus, you will not fail to get one that perfectly meets your needs. The essential requirements when choosing a case erector include:

  • Case type 
  • Speed 
  • Seal type 
  • Duration

In this article, we will be looking at each of them to help you make the right decision. However, it is good to start by understanding what case erectors are. Read on to gain more insights on how to choose the right carton erector.

What are Case Erectors 

A case erector is a case-forming machine that automatically forms, folds, and seals corrugated boxes from flat cartons. With these systems, operators will not stop packaging products because they need to build cartons. 

The packaging machines come in automatic and semi-automatic formats. Case erectors can create six to twenty cases per minute. 

It is effortless to integrate a case erector into the current packaging line of your company. You can pair erectors with case sealers to get a complete forming, filling, and sealing packaging solution. 

You can still add a case erector to a packaging line even if you only produce 500 cases per day. Let’s have a look at the main types of case sealers in the market. 

Automatic Case Erectors 

Automatic case erectors automatically form, fold, and seal the bottom of the corrugated cases. These are machines that don’t need the input of an operator. When you pair an automatic case erector with the case sealer, you will get a complete packaging solution for your company. 

carton erector

Semi-Automatic Case Erectors 

A semi-automatic case erector handles various carton sizes. These machines require the involvement of an operator to move cases through the machine. Case erectors work hand in hand with case sealers to enhance the efficiency of case packaging. Here is a guide on how to choose the right carton erector.

1. Which Case

The specifications, styles, and materials of corrugated cases are sneaky complex. However, most people underestimate their role in the packaging process. These elements can make an entire line unfunctional. 

It can force you to spend a lot of money on troubleshooting the problem. You can avoid this problem by having some up-front information. 

In this post, we will not cover the nitty-gritty of corrugated containerboards. We will only look at the three specific elements to help you choose the most appropriate case erector. 

Case Type 

Top on the list is the case type that you run on your production line. Most manufacturers design their erectors to handle RSCs (Regular Slotted Cases). Therefore, those who run RSCs have so many case erector manufacturers at their disposal. 

However, if you run a more exotic case type, Half-Slotted Container (HSC) or Full-Overlap Slotted (FOL), you will have fewer case-forming brands.  

Cartons

Case Dimension 

The next consideration is the dimension of your case(s). You have to look at the width (across the machine) and length (direction of travel) of the cartons. Most carton erector manufacturers accommodate a broad range of dimensions. 

However, most of what you get in the market is defined by the maximum and minimum dimensions. If your boxes start to approach either end of that pocket, you will have to evaluate the box forming machine models more carefully. 

If any of the case dimensions go below 6 or 7 inches; you deal with the small end carton erectors. The large end typically starts from around 16 to 17 inches. If the case dimensions begin to flirt towards one end of the spectrum; you will need to pay close attention to the range of case erector sizes that you review. 

Corrugated Quality

The third thing to look at is the corrugated quality that you are using. The corrugated quality affects the performance of the case erector. Therefore, you need to understand the quality of your case material to help you choose the right carton erector. 

With these facts, you need to take a close look at the specifications of your containerboard. Check the extent to which the containerboard manufacturer complies with these specs. Also, get to understand what will happen to the specs when you subject the containerboard to your factory-driven, local, and regional environmental conditions. 

With this in mind, make sure you get an erector design that will handle what you are using. For instance, a flimsy, thin, and often crushed corrugated may open well with an opposing cut design. However, it will struggle to erect or open when using a dome or pin system. 

There are so many examples where carton erectors can fail. To sum it up, you need to evaluate the corrugated material quality. Make sure you choose a case former that can erect a case manufactured from the corrugated material of your choice.

2. Which Speed

It is not hard to understand this point. Choose a carton erector that either matches or exceeds your downstream packaging operations speed. 

It is not hard to answer this question. However, the response you get here disqualifies particular case-forming manufacturers. There are two simple observations that we can use to explain this; 

  • It is possible to make a carton erector run slower. However, making the machine run faster is an impossibility. 
  • Machine designs that support fast case erecting speeds are more expensive than those that have slow speeds. Therefore, the fast case erectors are generally overpriced for mid and low-speed applications. 

The technology and design of a carton erector that handles 5 cases per minute are very different from those designed to erect 50 cases per minute. High speeds call for more robust and precise designs. The technology and design features that these machines use are also more advanced. 

Thus, case erectors that have fast speeds can work down-market efficiently. However, you cannot take a slow, entry-level erector and ramp it up-market for higher speeds. 

The high-speed carton erector manufacturers also find it hard to remain price competitive at lower speeds. It can force them to change the makeup and design of their machine. Technology supports higher speeds, but you have to pay for it as a customer. 

How does all this affect the case erector that you choose? For higher speeds, you will have a smaller pool of case erector manufacturers at your disposal.

3. Which Seal Type

The type of seal does not narrow the field of carton erector manufacturers in any way. Most manufacturers of case erectors deal with particular versions of glue-seal erectors and tape seal erectors. Even though most factories prefer the seal-type, you need to be aware of specific operational and cost considerations.

In Favor of Tape Sealing

  • In most cases, glue carton erectors are 20 to 30 percent more costly than tape erectors of the same speed. If you are dealing with a mid-range machine, you may pay up to 10 to 20 thousand dollars more.  
  • Glue nozzles and hoses get clogged easily, which calls for regular maintenance.
  • The glue erector overspray can be pretty problematic. You cannot seal along an entire length of flap without accepting a certain level of overspray. It can get messy over time.

In Favor of Glue Sealing

  • According to most experts, a large portion of the premium paid for the glue erectors is offset by the operational efficiencies absent in the tape sealing system. 
  • Tape rolling systems run out of tape much faster than the speed at which the glue tanks get empty. Attending to your production line more frequently comes with certain operational costs. It is a common scenario when the tape runs out. 
  • The tape quality impacts the tape system in a big way. If you buy cheap tape, the extra line stoppages will make you pay for the same. 
  • The reliability of tape systems is lower at fast speeds. This point narrows down to simple chemistry and physics. With fast speeds, it becomes harder to keep up with the case-taping sequence. 

Choosing the number of case erectors that will seal cases is just one of the decisions that you have to make. There is no clear wrong or right choice for the carton erector. It typically depends on your preferences and what makes sense to your production line.

4. Which Duration

This point refers to the asset life. How long would you like this machine to run your business operations? Like speed, the duration will also remove certain case erector manufacturers from your list. To get a machine that will meet your desired asset life, you may be forced to pay more than you thought. 

In this article, we don’t suggest a specific case erector model or brand. There are so many things to put into consideration for you to buy the right carton erector. The choice typically depends on your budget, individual preference, and packaging needs.

The key considerations include the case type, carton erector speed, seal type, and asset lifetime. Doing in-depth market research will help you to make the right decision. It is good to go for a machine that will add a lot of value to your business operations.

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