Cardboard cases and trays are the most common and proven method for getting products to the end user.
This may be cans, jars, bottles, boxes or bags. The cases and trays are primarily corrugated cardboard.
The cases and trays come flat ( knocked down -KD) for easy handling and storage. They are of RSC or HSC format
The typical packaging line consists of a Case Erector which takes the flat (KD) material and pulls it open into the shape
of the case and tray. The case then procedes to the Case Filler station where the product is loaded. The last station is the Case sealer where the case is closed,
Depending on the requirements, the whole line, in particular the case filler, may be customized.
This is particularly true for high volume production of similar product shapes.
Standard, stand alone, case erectors, case fillers and case sealers are availble from a number of manufacturers. Some of the models listes come with
a case errector and some even seal the case after filling. Hotmelt glue is used to set up and seal the cases and trays.
The filling method may be one of the following:
1. Drop pack. This is the simplest method. The product is arranged in the load pattern and is then dropped freely into the case.
2. Multi Layer. Here the product is arranged into the load pattern and is the lifted or pushed into the case.
This method may have a mechanism which inserts a divider before the next layer is loaded.
3. Side or horizontal load has the opening of the case on its side and the product is pushed in from the side.
4. Top load. This method collects the product in the required pattern. Then a grab mechanism picks
the product and places into the case. The loading mechanism may be gantry or servo driven. This method may be single or multi layer.
5. Vertical loading can be top load or a design where the case drops over the product once the product pattern is in place.
6. Robot, pick and place, is the most advanced technology. It uses a single arm to pick up and place the
product into the case. It is prefered for fragile products, or where quick product changeovers are needed.*
7. Wrap around design does, as the name suggests, wrap the case material around the product once the product pattern is collected. The wrap method is often used to fill trays.
* Buying a robot loading unit has the advantage that the manufacturer is in the packaging business and understands need of the customer. The robot usually is made by one of the companies listed in the robot section and adapted for the specific application.