Top 5 Challenges in Cardboard Packaging Production and How to Overcome Them

Cardboard Packaging Production

8 out of 10 packaging companies we interact with face one or more of these 5 inescapable challenges.

As Director of Sales and Marketing at IMPACK, I hear about these challenges every day.

These challenges can vary by business in terms of severity, intensity, and urgency.

However, at the end of the day, no matter what market or business you are in, these challenges can all be boiled down to these 5 big points:

The increasing complexity of custom boxes.

Increasing variation in the number of boxes.

Increase in unplanned orders.

Increase in seasonal orders.

Rising cost pressure.

At IMPACK, we specialize in analyzing the working methods of cardboard and corrugated box manufacturers, as well as in the design, manufacture, and installation of packaging equipment for folder-gluers.

We closely and continuously assess the challenges of the packaging industry and adapt our solutions to support and advance the most ambitious production goals of box manufacturers.

We’re going to take a closer look at these 5 challenges and what they mean for you as a box maker.

And most importantly, we are going to tell you exactly what steps you need to take to overcome these challenges.

Challenge #1: A rapidly growing demand for personalized boxes

The current cardboard packaging market increasingly requires customization of boxes in shapes as diverse as they are varied.

This requires not only ever more versatile folder-gluers but also more flexible box manufacturers, able to adapt quickly to the needs of their customers in a market where everyone is in fierce competition for the same objective: a greater number of customers.

Custom boxes are fast becoming the norm. This is the reality of today’s packaging industry.

And what this means for cardboard box manufacturers is to be both flexible and nimble enough to efficiently produce innovative bespoke boxes while maintaining the lowest possible cost per box.

In other words, it is necessary to optimize the quality/price ratio.

And to do that, you need to maximize the productivity of your folder-gluer.

How? ‘Or’ What?

By optimizing your production capacities.

One of the most effective ways to maximize your production capabilities is to integrate folder-gluer packaging equipment.


Folder-gluer packaging equipment will allow you to achieve higher packaging speeds, reduce your labor, and increase productivity.

And the way they let you do that is by partially or fully automating your packaging process so your folder-gluer can produce more – in less time – and with fewer packaging staff.

At IMPACK, we develop and manufacture different types of packaging equipment for folder-gluers with different levels of automation. This includes manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and fully automatic folder-gluer packers and peripherals.

“But, what is a folder-gluer packer!”

A packer is one of the 4 main folder-gluer packaging equipment that can be integrated into a folder-gluer line.

A packer is a system that is installed downstream of a folder-gluer exit belt that allows you to automate your packing process.

The level of automation offered by a bundler always depends on the model of bundler you choose and its configuration.

For example, the best-selling machine at IMPACK among all our packaging equipment is the Ergosa Packer.

The Ergosa is a semi-automatic folder-gluer packer with the performance of an automatic packer. Compact, highly versatile, and offering multiple packing modes, the Ergosa is a universal packing machine that combines flexibility and performance at an affordable price.

Challenge #2: Growing demand for orders with no minimum quantity

Many box manufacturers are increasingly offering their customers the option of placing orders without a minimum quantity.

Whether their customer requires 1 box, 10 boxes, or 30,000 boxes, they can satisfy and adapt quickly.

So, to survive in your industry as a box maker, you need to be flexible enough to offer the exact amount of products your customers demand.

If you don’t, your competitors will steal market share from you.

Whether you are producing small or large runs, single box type or mixed production, easy or more complex products, IMPACK’s Ergosa Packer allows you to run any box through your Folder Packer- splicer with short set-up times and packaging speeds that can exceed 100,000 cans per hour.

Want to know more about the Ergosa packer and the benefits it offers? Find out what Ergosa Packer is and how it can improve your packaging process in this easy-to-read article!

Challenge #3: Last-minute orders are becoming more common

Last-minute orders are one of the toughest challenges box makers face all the time.

A sort of vicious circle of love and hate for cbd box makers.

On the one hand, last-minute orders generate more profits and business, but on the other hand, last-minute orders mean more stress and tighter deadlines for everyone.

Last-minute orders are those that arrive at the end of the day – completely unexpectedly – and need to be processed first thing the next morning.

With these types of requests, your obligations remain the same and your customers’ expectations do not change: You must deliver high-quality boxes that meet their needs, on time.

To handle unexpected last-minute orders without risking losing those contracts, or your sanity, you’ll need a capable machine that lets you do what a human can’t:

The power to produce more with fewer packaging personnel and faster production time with shorter set-up times.

And this powerful machine is nothing more than a folder-gluer packer.

IMPACK’s folder-gluer packers allow you to achieve faster packing speeds, higher throughput, less labor, shorter set-up times, and ultimately, to realize the full potential of your folder-gluer.

Challenge #4: Losing contracts on unique and seasonal orders

Some products are produced on a regular and repetitive basis, while others are small, one-off production runs.

Take the example of seasonal products that are produced for Christmas, New Year, St. Patrick’s Day, or during special trade events. These products require frequent production changes on your folding-gluing line.

And for these seasonal orders, it is often difficult to justify an investment in a folder-gluer packer, since it would not provide an attractive return on investment.

Unfortunately, this causes many box makers to forgo contracts for seasonal orders, simply because it’s not a worthwhile investment.

And what happens to those customers?

They go to someone else, to one of your competitors.

Sometimes a simple optimization of your fold-glue line is all you need.

Whether due to the specific style or format of these seasonal boxes, the orientation of the boxes packed in the crates may vary and require adjustment.

For these seasonal orders, it is sometimes sufficient to integrate a tablecloth indexer such as the IN3 indexer from IMPACK or the other tablecloth indexers on the market.

The IN3 can be installed directly after the compression belt of your folder-gluer and before your packer. It offers you the possibility of turning your boxes 90° to the left, 90° to the right, or passing them directly before packing them in the crate.

The IN3 tablecloth indexer is the most sophisticated version of the IN series. It allows you to return all formats and types of boxes according to the desired orientation. Ideal with an automatic packer, the IN3 remains stationary regardless of the chosen packing orientation.

Challenge #5: Keep costs low


All players in the packaging industry are vying to reduce production costs.

Lower costs imply higher price margins.

Higher margins mean bigger profits.

Higher profits allow for business expansion.

Business expansion means happy bosses.

Happy bosses lead to salary increases at work.

And what more could you ask for when everyone is happy!

But the question is: how can you reduce the cost of your production while continuing to improve your productivity?

The answer is this,

Reduce non-value added activities

Maximize efficient use of machinery

Reduce the number of employees per team

or start automating your packaging process.

The last point is the one that will have the most impact on your costs and productivity.

Partially or fully automating your packaging process offers a host of benefits.

Typically, automation results in a reduction in the cost of your production, which leads to an increase in your productivity and a higher net profit.

“But should I opt for semi-automation or full automation?”

Excellent question! In truth, there are other solutions than semi-automation and full automation.

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