A detailed look at the packaging process in a manufacturing workflow
Hello again 👋.
Welcome back to the Manufacturing 101 series where I am giving you an introduction to the way manufacturing companies operate by taking you step by step through the manufacturing workflow.
In the previous parts of the series, I introduced you to the assembly workflow and explained in detail how the assembly process works for manufacturing companies, like Paper Joiners Ltd, the fictional company that we are following in this series.
In this part of the series, we will dive into more detail about the packaging part of the manufacturing workflow.
Before we move on, I would like to take a moment to introduce myself to anyone who might be new to the blog.
My name is Ken Bourke and I have worked as an automation professional for almost a decade. During this time, I have worked on large global projects in different industries around the world.
In the last year, I have started producing content online to share my knowledge through free blog posts and free or very reasonably priced courses.
If you get some value out of this post then consider checking out my courses, joining the mailing list using the form at the bottom of this page, or, if you’re feeling very generous, buying me a coffee using the Buy Me a Coffee widget on this page.
With that bit of shameless self-promotion out of the way, let’s get back to looking at Paper Joiner Ltd’s packaging process.
After being assembled, the complete staplers are put into packaging.
The individual staplers are placed into individual packaging containers or plastic clamshell cases like the ones shown below.
The piece of packaging that actually touches the product is called the primary packaging for the product.
Depending on the product, the primary packaging operation may be manual or automated.
After primary packaging, the individually packaged staplers are placed into cases. There are usually a fixed number of products packaged in each case.
A case is an example of secondary packaging for a product.
Very often, the secondary packaging process is automated. A case-packing machine will erect a case, place a fixed number of products in a case, and seal the case shut.
The completed case is ejected from the case packing machine ready for palletizing.
You can see an example of a side-loading case-packing machine in the video below from Sidel. This is called a side-loading machine because the products are loaded into the case from the side. Other types of case-packing machines include top-loading and wraparound machines.
Next, the packed cases are loaded onto pallets for shipping.
This process is usually automated because it is repetitive and strenuous. Palletizing is carried out by a machine called a palletizer. A common type of palletizer is a robotic palletizer which uses a robotic arm to transfer cases onto pallets.
You can see an example of a robotic palletizer from BW Integrated Systems in the video below.
Finally, the pallet is shrink-wrapped to prevent cases from falling off the pallet during transport.
Once again, the shrink-wrapping process may be manual, semi-automatic, or automatic depending on the size of the company and the number of pallets being wrapped per day.
In the video below, you can see an example of a semi-automated shrink-wrapping machine with manual loading and unloading.
After shrink-wrapping, the completed pallets are transported to a warehouse for storage until they are eventually shipped out to Paper Joiners Ltd’s customers around the world.
At this stage, we have followed the entire manufacturing workflow of Paper Joiners Ltd.
In this series, we have seen the receiving, manufacturing, assembly, and packaging operations of Paper Joiners Ltd.
By now, you should be able to describe the manufacturing workflow for a typical company, describe what happens and each step in the manufacturing workflow, and recognize some of the machinery that is used in manufacturing.
Now that we know what happens in the manufacturing workflow, I would like to tell you about who is involved. In the next few articles, I will explain the main roles that are involved in manufacturing.
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