As printers look for ways to reduce costs, an area ripe for attention is the back end of finishing operations. Walking through plants, I am amazed at the number of personnel assigned to routine packaging tasks, such as stacking, cartoning, shrink wrapping, strapping, and piling down. There are numerous proven solutions now available to automate these tasks, at an investment level within reach of most printers. The payback is immediate, since most of these solutions are straightforward and carry minimal risk.
It is very challenging to staff these areas with qualified personnel at the right levels, and jobs can be delayed due to the extra handling requirements that require additional staffing for short periods of time. Automating these tasks eliminates the need to source personnel for short periods of time.
Equipment manufacturers have been able to develop solutions to automate most of these tasks. Palletizers, automatic cartoning machines, strappers, and fully automatic stackers are now available from numerous sources. If you haven’t given serious thought to this area, now is the time to do so.