Have you ever placed an online order for a small item and then been furious when the item showed up in an enormous box loaded to the brim with bubble wrap, paper inserts, or air cushions?
In particular, when it comes to excessive packaging, consumers are ready to voice their disapproval. They fail to recognize that an online store may not be able to support the added expense of stocking ten various box sizes or possess an automated system that can handle a range of sizes. The obstacles that firms must surmount in order to improve the sustainability of their packaging are unimportant to consumers. However, nothing is ever that easy. Rethinking packaging to render it more sustainable is a very difficult process, whether it involves shifting from rigid to flexible packaging, thin-walling, lightweighting, adding recycled content, switching from multilayer to monolayer material, or changing from plastic to paper.
Businesses are considering how automation might be beneficial to them. What part does automation play in promoting environmentally friendly packaging? Let us learn. Here is how:
1. Supporting circularity
Since circularity is a key concept in sustainable packaging, it is only fitting that this article ends where it began. Oversized cartons and unnecessary fillers might soon be a lot less common thanks to sophisticated control and automation. In order to ensure that your items are delivered in the proper-sized box, newer technologies help in developing cartoning platforms based on motion control platforms. These platforms allow cardboard boxes to be “made-to-measure.”
Although switching to packaging with a lower environmental impact is rarely easy, it is possible thanks to cutting-edge control and automation technologies that facilitate flexibility.
2. Promoting smart temperature control
The major challenge with sealing is controlling the temperature. Since recycled films vary in quality, operating the sealing systems at a constant temperature will produce flaws since thinner films are more prone to burning. Utilizing AI to offer dynamic temperature management is one approach to this problem. When it encounters variations in the material, an adaptive algorithm in the control system will automatically change the sealing temperature, thanks to a sensing element on the sealing bar.
The potential benefits of AI-driven dynamic temperature management extend beyond flexible film production lines to any packaging application requiring heat and diverse materials.
Due to the difficulty of making lighter weight bottles with recycled content, many brand owners are choosing to outsource blow-moulding. Even a small change in the composition of the resin may result in significant quantities of rejections. The solution to this issue is closed-loop temperature regulation.
Manufacturers are converting to more environmentally friendly packaging techniques across the board, not only in primary packaging activities. Palletizing and cartoning are two examples of secondary processes that are changing.
3. Automation lowers waste and scrap
If manufacturers want to stay competitive, they must seriously consider reducing additional junk and waste materials. The handling and packaging of goods can be done more effectively and reliably with automation and robotics in general. Automated handling is inherently more dependable than human handling and reduces scrap.
Manufacturers will need the simplest and quickest means to switch from one layout to another with all of the ecologically friendly packaging that is entering the market. Manual labor and fixed machinery just can’t keep up. Robots equipped with a variety of end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) abilities can quickly adjust to changes.
According to industry experts, “Flexibility is crucial to getting the most of the automation.” “Packagers may maximize the usage of their robots using EOAT tailored for specific jobs and tool changers to promote safe, quick, and precise changeovers.” More flexibility is also possible with smarter tooling. One example is grippers, which have simple programming, the capacity to store a wide variety of programs, and configurable grip force to handle varying part sizes.”
Packagers must use space and time as efficiently as possible in order to reduce their environmental impact. Manufacturers can produce more quickly because of flexible automation’s many configuration possibilities (ceiling-mounted robots, numerous EOAT, etc.).
4. Automation helps preserve, protect, and prosper
Finally, manufacturers must strike a balance between their own economic development and the ideals of preservation and protection. Businesses must optimize their packaging efficiency regardless of how the economy is doing. This will assure economic growth. A thorough evaluation of how a business is utilizing its current production space is crucial to combating the rising expenses of manufacturing.
Maximizing valuable floor space is a practical way to maintain profitability. It forms the basis of the lean manufacturing idea. The potential for profit increases with the amount of product one can generate in a given area.
As the economy changes away from employment requiring less physical work and toward ones requiring more cerebral labor, the composition of employees has been evolving toward a more knowledgeable resource pool. Manufacturers will need to discover ways to improve production without hiring more workers as labor costs rise and package diversity increases as a result of new eco-friendly packaging. Manufacturers and packagers may be able to boost productivity and flexibility with flexible automation. GPA Global, experts in sustainable packaging solutions, uses automation to streamline their processes to not just make them more efficient, but to also drive a more sustainable future.
5. Automation supports product protection and safety
Approximately 48 million individuals get sick from foodborne illnesses each year, most of which are caused by viruses and other germs that are spread through direct or indirect contact with infected people, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Include the impact of product tampering (for example the Tylenol poisonings) and you will realize the danger of direct human handling of the packaging. Manufacturers and packagers must carefully consider all strategies for protecting both their staff and their goods.
Humans are unquestionably inherently disease-carriers. Employee exposure to items, especially those that are consumable, should be minimized. This not only makes consumers safer, but it also spares packagers and manufacturers the expense of product recalls, which can sometimes harm a company’s brand. Automation of product contact can assist in lowering the human touch factor and lowering contamination occurrences. Having fewer human interactions also makes product manipulation less likely.
In addition, repeated stress disorders are more prevalent in laborious occupations like picking and packing goods. Automation can complete these pick-and-place activities more quickly and effectively, safeguarding workers and saving firms money on expensive medical compensation.
GPA Global is dedicated to supplying specialized packaging solutions that decrease waste generation and severe environmental effects as well as promote sustainability. You can be confident that their packaging alternatives consider the entire lifecycle of the product, any environmental effects, and employ data-backed materials and methods.