Once packagers plan, design and market their products, they inevitably need to ship those products. With the global demand for packaging machinery projected to advance 6.5% per annum through 2019 to $52.5 billion, according to The Freedonia Group, case packing machinery is bound to be a large contributor to that number.

Product sales will be driven by market growth in China and other industrializing nations, where demand for processed food and beverage products and other manufactured goods is expected to post the strongest increases as personal incomes and consumer spending rise.

In the world of shipping, there is a balancing act between speed and dependability, and then the less predictable variables of customer demands. Here are some of the latest innovations in case packing machinery that have stepped up to the plate, meeting demands for flexibility and reliability.

3M’s (3m.com) new case packing line, 3M-Matic™ Case Sealers, is designed with interchangeable tape heads rugged dual extruded columns and 3M’s signature quality and service. For suppliers with unpredictable box sizes, the 3M-Matic Random Case Sealer 7000r Pro handles up to 24 different case sizes per minute. A combination of small and large boxes won’t confuse the photo eye detectors and electro-mechanical height adjustment features, which keep the 7000r Pro taping heads on target and get customer orders out on time.

If the need for speed outweighs size variability, an alternative is the new 3M-Matic Adjustable case Sealer 7000a Pro. The 7000a Pro allows for easily accessed manual side handle adjustments. It can consistently seal up to 40 cases per minute to keep pace with high demand cycles. A third new case sealer, the 8000a, also is designed to handle high volumes and is equipped with a side belt drive system which is ideally suited for sealing tall and tippy boxes.

Edson Packaging Machinery (edson.com), powered by Pro Mach, recently introduced the Raptor SL. As a high performance automated case packing solution utilized for small to mid-sized companies in the at-home and away-from-home tissue industry, the new machine enables tissue suppliers to boost production and support increased sales while lowering packaging line labor costs.

The Raptor SL is an all-in-one, fully integrated side-load machine that erects, packs and hot-melt seals up to 12 cases per minute of at-home and away-from-home bath tissue, paper towels, napkins and facial tissue. The Raptor SL will feature ProTech by Pro Mach™, a new cloud-based remote tech support and machine monitoring capability that ensures peak performance and throughput.

Key features and advantages of the Raptor SL include lowered end of line labor costs, achieved by reducing both the number of workers and overall time associated with case packing. Fast loading knock-down flat (KDF) corrugated cases onto the infeed conveyor, which is less labor intensive than many other automated case packers. With an optional extended infeed conveyor, over a half-dozen skids containing KDFs may be staged. Depending on the speed of production, the extended conveyor can potentially lead to hours of labor free loading. The Raptor SL automatically loads each new stack while continuing to run, promoting maximum uptime. Operators can easily select for KDF dunnage or zero dunnage loading from the infeed. This gives the operation flexibility in the use of KDFs.

Changeover between stock keeping units (SKUs) can be accomplished in as little as 15 minutes and does not require tools. Edson also offers an option based on servo technology that performs rapid, fully automatic changeover. This option was developed for packaging lines with numerous SKUs.

Operators can access vital machine functions and information from a touchscreen interface, including recipes for various SKUs, alarm settings, production data and maintenance documentation – print, diagram and video, and the Raptor SL offers fully integrated safety motion control.

Standard-Knapp (standard-knapp.com), a worldwide leader in the manufacture of innovative packaging machinery, announces the availability of its 939S Versatron™ Soft Catch Servo Case Packer, an ideal solution for case packing in the ever-growing craft beer industry.

Featuring a two-axis servo system, it allows the packer to gently catch the product as it lowers into the case. With its convenient push-button height adjustment feature, the lift table moves the case to the up position and waits until the bottle grid is full. Once the grid is full, riding strips shift to the side to initiate the bottle descent. While that’s going on, the lift table moves the case downward on a velocity curve, ultimately reaching the same speed as the bottles at the time of contact. This “soft catch” feature ensures the gentle handling of bottles, reducing damage and breakage, and therefore waste.

The 939S Versatron Soft Catch Servo Case Packer includes variety of options, including right-angle or counterflow casefeed, color touchscreen, flask handling, and label protection strips. Additionally, it is capable of handling plastic, corrugated, HSC, RSC, Tablock and tray case types.

MG America (mgamerica.com) has also recently launched an innovation in case packing. The GSL 10 Case Packer was ideally engineered to insert products of various types with regular shapes into shipping cases. Advanced technology which uses servomotors for the main machine movements and a pneumatic system only for secondary movements, makes this a highly reliable and easy to run unit.

The GSL 10 Case Packer does not require any change of parts for different case sizes and simple and precise adjustments can be made via hand-wheels. Other features include the ability to close cases with tape or hot-melt glue, depending on the user’s requirements and a color touchscreen for controlling machine functions.

New innovations in the case packing segment boost growth and innovation, offering customers the speed, flexibility and reliability they crave.