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What is a Cartoning Machine?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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A cartoning machine is a piece of industrial equipment used to fold and fill boxes and other packing containers. These machines are often used as part of a manufacturing assembly line, and can either be completely automated or require some human labor input. Companies in a variety of industries, including food, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics rely on cartoning machines to prepare packaging or ready products for shipping. A cartoning machine can vary dramatically in size and scale, with some units designed to produce dozens or hundreds of boxes per minute, while other can fold and pack thousands in the same amount of time.

While exact capabilities vary by machine and industry, a standard cartoning machine is generally designed to perform a specific range of tasks. Users start by loading the machine with cardboard sheets. The machine folds these sheets into different types of boxes, then loads then with various products. The cartoning machine then closes the flaps on the box to seal the contents within, and may add glue or adhesive for a more effective seal. Some of these machines also include systems to load or palletize the boxes, or even wrap them in plastic for shipping.

Buyers can choose from three types of cartoning machine models, depending on the type of product and packaging. Horizontal units fold the box so that products can be loaded from the side, or slid into the box off of a conveyor belt. Vertical units orient the boxes so they can be loaded and sealed from the top. Wrap-around cartoning machines form the box around the product, rather than preparing the box first. These machines offer the highest level of customization, but also tend to feature lower production rates.

Compared to folding and packing boxes by hand, a cartoning machine provides many advantages to manufacturers. They machines allow for fast and efficient packing on large projects, which helps companies meet production goals. A cartoning machine also reduces the amount of human labor involved in manufacturing, which can keep costs low over time. These machines also offer design versatility and flexibility to work with many different types of products and packaging.

One potential drawback to the cartoning machine is the substantial upfront investment associated with this equipment. This high cost may make these machines impractical for small manufacturers or small production runs. Companies should weigh the costs of human labor for folding and packing against the cost and added productivity of cartoning equipment before deciding to make this investment.

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