As products are prepared for shipping within a warehouse or storeroom, first they are picked and then prepared for packing. The picking process can be automated using robotics within a warehouse where the storage layout is optimized for access by picking robots, able to retrieve and move properly labeled goods across the warehouse floor.
Once the correct items have been picked, they move through the end-of-line packaging process. At the end of the line, any additional required protective materials are added into the box, which is then sealed, sorted, and placed on pallets and shipped out to customers.
What is Warehousing Automation?
Packaging automation is the process of replacing repetitive tasks with automated systems, with the goal of eliminating tedious and demanding duties. In the process, this frees up workers to focus on more strategic tasks.
Tasks such as box-assembly, inserting void fill, cushioning, or padding, reducing box height or sealing box lids are all things that a person might not want to spend time on, but warehouse automation can manage to do quickly, accurately and without risk of injury.
How Warehouse Automation and Intralogistics relate to each other
Innovative technologies including computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence allow robots to perceive and interact with the complex warehouse environment, helping to optimize the processes that bring goods through the warehouse in what is known as intralogistics.
What is Intralogistics?
Intralogistics refers to the processes used to manage the data, materials, and labor moving through a logistics site. The main aim is to optimize productivity through a combined and improved use of technology, labor and equipment. Automation can impact multiple elements of intralogistics, helping specific processes become more efficient and work better together.
- Reduced overall costs
- Minimizing inventory and errors
- Increase productivity and throughput
- Faster speed to market
- Safer working environment
- Improved flexibility
- Future proof operations
How Does Warehouse Automation
Work with Last Mile Delivery?
Many companies rely on third-party logistics providers, commonly referred to as 3PLs, to manage their last mile logistics. Given the fact that it is typically a more precise and complex process than delivering products en-masse to a warehouse, it makes sense for many businesses to outsource the logistics of last-mile delivery.
What is last mile delivery?
Last mile delivery is the process of delivering a product from its warehouse location to the destination where it will be enjoyed by the end-customer. It’s the last step in logistics that a business needs to get right, as well as the first step that your customers will see when they receive their products. Within many cases, it’s also the most expensive leg of the product journey.
Automation can help to create the smallest-effective parcels and packages, in some cases helping reduce a package size from a box to a mailer, which saves on costs. By reducing the size of packages, shipping processes also become more environmentally friendly—lower profile packages require less room, meaning more can be shipped while reducing the number of trucks on the road.
The calculation of shipping costs often relies on Dimensional Weight (Dim weight for short). Dim weight takes into account the weight and volume of a package, meaning that a small but heavy item will cost more to ship in a larger box instead of one that is fitted to its actual size. This means that there are significant cost savings associated with optimizing package sizes for the last mile.
Consumer Trends shaping the future of
Automation systems within the warehouse and packaging environment are currently in a period of rapid technological advancement. Technology, as well as macro trends are all important to consider when selecting the right automation solutions for a business.
- Consumer preferences for sustainable packaging
- Focus on the aesthetics of the unboxing moment
- Mailer-packaging and the convenience of receiving smaller packages
- Curbside recyclability of packaging materials
- Impact on Environmental, Sustainability, and the Governance metrics
What are the Benefits of using automation in the Packaging industry?
The benefits of warehouse automation include improved efficiency of production, ergonomic improvements in the workplace, and optimized materials usage.
Automated packaging machines can help increase throughput on the production line up to 6x manual packing.
In a typical warehouse packaging environment, space must be efficiently used. Products, personnel, equipment, and packaging materials all require room, and the most effective solutions with the most optimized footprints will offer a competitive edge.
Automated solutions can lead to a substantial reduction in the number of packing stations required within the warehouse layout, allowing you to create a more ergonomic working condition that can help you lower stress and remove hazards from the warehouse.
Combating Labor Shortages
Successful employers realize that their employees crave engaging work where they are empowered to make strategic choices. Replacing manual elements of the packaging process with workflows streamlined by automation provides opportunities to reallocate labor to higher-skill roles and to make more strategic decisions.
Lower Logistic Cost
Some ways that automation systems designed for warehouse packaging can help cut costs include eliminating or significantly reducing voids within packages. By reducing voids size, less materials are needed to protect and secure products within a box. By preparing size-optimized packages, businesses can save on shipping costs. Optimized productivity and training can help manage labor costs, keeping a smooth and scalable level of production within the warehouse during peak seasons.
Packaging automation typically accelerates already existing processes, providing more efficiency in the warehouse. Automation can be used to measure a box against the products within it and seal it at the point of highest filling makes packaging fit better, saving space in shipment and improving sustainability.
By choosing automated packaging systems that use sustainable materials, it’s possible to improve the circularity of the packaging process instead of accelerating a polluting packaging lifecycle.
With the use of a box height reduction machine, such as a Cut’it EVO, you’re able to reduce the size of secondary packaging, which helps cut down on shipping costs and reduce unnecessary packaging while offering additional product protection.
DIM Weight Reduction
Using the smallest box possible is the simplest way of reducing DIM weight charges. With our automated box folding machine, you can get the right sized box and lower costs of your packages.
Using packaging equipment to reduce volume of materials and unnecessary voids in each parcel can save up to 25% more space on a pallet, reducing the need for more trucks on the road.
Automated Void Fill
AutoFill determines the size of void, positions the box, and distributes the precise amount of paper required, providing the perfect fill every time.
Our Form’it!™ Case can form boxes with speeds of up to 25 cycles per minute on the packaging lines. By loading blanks, folding the open flaps and closing the sections by applying hot-melt gluing or tape sealing, Form’it completely automates the full process of box erection, saving time and resources.
Small Product Protection
Create boxes the size of your product to provide superb protection while reducing the average parcel size and lowering shipping rates. The Flap’it! keeps products in position, eliminating the need for additional void fill or cushioning material.