Cartoner OR Case Packer, Distinction, various types and their manufacturers:


Cartoner & Case Packer sound pretty similar and sometimes we interchange their names. I often wonder as to why this happens…

Cartons are generally made of flat board and sometimes of corrugated fibreboard and usually smaller than cases. Cartons may contain one or more product and can be used as primary & secondary packaging.

The cases are generally made of corrugated board and often larger than cartons. Cases are mostly used to contain multiple products, may be many cartons.

A Cartoning machine or Cartoner, is a packaging machine that forms a carton blank into a carton by erecting, closing, folding, side seaming, filling and sealing cartons.A Cartoning machine can vary dramatically in size and scale, with some units designed to produce only few cartons a minute, whilst others can fold and pack hundreds/min.

Depending upon how many functions out of the above are done automatically OR manually, the machine is termed as automatic or semi-automatic. Modern Cartoners have benefited from the introduction of servo driven subassemblies, PLC’s (programmable logic controllers) and even computers which allow the machines to be size changed automatically and synchronized using software rather than mechanical transmission components. However, all these features come at extra cost and often a combination of old and new technology can achieve the desired performance.

Cartoning machines can be divided into two types:

  • Horizontal Cartoning Machines

A cartoning machine which picks a single piece from stack of folded carton and erects it, fills product horizontally through an open end and closes by tucking the end flaps of the carton or applying glue or adhesive. The product might be pushed in the carton either through the mechanical sleeve or pneumatically. For many applications however, the products are inserted into the carton manually. This type of Cartoning machine is widely used for packaging foodstuffs, confectionery, medicine, cosmetics, sundry goods, etc.

  • Vertical cartoning machines

Vertical units orient the boxes so they can be loaded and sealed from the top. These machines erect a folded carton, fill with a product or number of products vertically through an open end and close the carton by either tucking the end flaps of the carton or applying glue or adhesive.

This type of Cartoning machines are widely used for packaging bottled foodstuffs, confectionery, medicine, cosmetics, etc., and can vary based on the scale of business.

Case Packers:

The most common Case used in packaging is the Regular Slotted Case (RSC), apparently the most cost effective style of case. Wrap Around Case Packer, All Flaps Meet (AFM), Half Slotted Case (HSC), RSC bottom with top folding flaps, many other hybrid & display Case types are also quite common in the industry.Case Erection, Case Packing and Case Sealing are three functions which can all be done on a single machine automatically or one or more functions can be performed manually in semi-automatic machines. The way the case packing is performed usually determine the machine type.Case Packing Machines can usually be of the following types.

Side Loading/ End Loading / Horizontal Load:

These types of Case Packers are useful where the product confirms closely to the shape of the case. The formed case arrives in at the case packing station in vertical or horizontal orientation. The open end of the case is aligned with the loading station and product is discharged.

Vertical Placing:

This can be done with traditional pick & place method or by robotic means.

Drop packing:

Drop Packer consists of a collating and staging station above a case positioning system. This system is pretty similar to Vertical placing where the product will be dropped down through the station.

Down Packing:

It is a hybrid method of packing and combines both vertical packing and drop packing.

Rotary Case Packers:

A continuous-motion rotary case packer is deployed for high-speed applications. The machine consists of rotary turret with a series of case packing heads / product discharge system and the product is gently lowered into the case.

 Packer OR “Wrap Around Cartoner” OR “Wrap Around Case Packer

This is a term which is used interchangeably and often means wrap around solution for case packing. The carton blank is fed to the machine and there are many ways by which the blank can be wrapped around the product.  The synchronization between product infeed, collation, segregation and box formation is very important in this and very high speeds are possible with help of servo controls and refined PLC programs.

Wrap around packaging equipment significantly reduces the amount of corrugate overlaps while still providing a strong case that delivers superb strength for palletizing and distribution.

The machine that’s ultimately best for you is dependent on what industry you’re in and, perhaps more so, what product you are trying to package.

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