Transforming Furniture Packaging with Panotec Automation

Furniture manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to boost efficiency and reduce costs, yet surprisingly, the packaging process often gets overlooked.

Countless furniture manufacturers are currently grappling with a range of packaging problems that not only impact their operational efficiency but also have significant financial implications. Perhaps the most pressing concern among these challenges is the need to prevent transit damage. When your furniture arrives at its destinations in less than perfect condition, the costs incurred can be hindering, not just in financial terms, but also in terms of the reputation of your company. As much as 11% of unit loads arriving at a distribution centre have some level of packaging damage.

Adding to this is the reliance on traditional packaging methods that have long been in use within the industry. These conventional approaches, while deeply ingrained, often prove to be surprisingly wasteful. They also may demand a significant level of skill from your employees, presenting yet another challenge. Whilst these are just a few of the common faults from across the industry, it shows how important it can be to ensure your packaging quality remains consistent while packaging a wide array of different furniture, whether it’s antique dining sets, flatpacks, or large beds.

The Need for Innovation

To overcome these challenges, manufacturers often turn their attention to automated packaging solutions.

The industry is vastly adopting automated solutions, and the initial concerns surrounding quality and adaptability have been removed. Leading machinery, such as Panotec automation, now offers innovative solutions that transform the way furniture is packaged.

One of the key advantages of automation is its ability to reduce the need for specialised skills in furniture packaging. The automated processes make it accessible to a wider range of operators, with minimal training. This not only simplifies the process but also addresses the issue of skilled labour shortages, which has been a growing concern in the manufacturing industry with statistics from ONS showing manufacturing vacancies are still higher than pre-pandemic.

Transition to Automation

Manufacturers can start by assessing their current packaging processes and identifying pain points. This initial step provides a clear understanding of where automation can make the most significant impact. Once the areas in need of improvement are identified, manufacturers should research and choose the right automation solution for their specific needs.

Customisation and Flexibility

One of the key advantages of automation in furniture packaging is the ability to customise solutions to meet the unique requirements of each manufacturer. This flexibility means that manufacturers that use automated packaging systems no longer need to rely on one-size-fits-all packaging.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is at the heart of any manufacturing process, and automated packaging solutions are designed to excel in quality control while reducing the potential for human error. With Panotec automation, furniture manufacturers can enhance their efficiency and reduce costs while maintaining the quality and reputation of their brand with consistent packaging.

This technology is a new era of furniture packaging, and manufacturers who embrace it will be well positioned for future growth and upcoming trends. If you want to speak about your packaging needs in greater detail, call us at Ribble Packaging on 0161 284 9000. With over 80 years of packaging expertise, we help streamline your packaging processes to reduce waste and restore profits.

Why Are Manufacturers Using Custom Boxes For Products?

With so many competitors, it can be hard to stand out in your field, especially when your product has lots of similar competition.

Your brand needs to be unique and stand out for all the right reasons. One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is through your packaging. Custom boxes are an excellent way to break from tradition and give your product a fresh and exciting look. However, there are many reasons why manufacturers are thinking out of the box with their custom boxes for products.

Seven reasons why manufacturers are using custom boxes for products

  • Extra protection

Traditional boxes sizes may mean there are gaps and spaces around the product. This could result in damage and make transportation difficult due to the weight distribution. With custom boxes, you have a box that is the perfect shape for the product so that it fits snugly inside.

  • No need for box filler

As custom boxed can ensure your product fits inside snugly, you do not need to use packaging filler in the box. This can save you money as you no longer need to keep box filler in stock, but it’ll also save your space on your production line too. Furthermore, the time it takes for packaging will decrease, and productivity of workers will increase too.

Reducing the requirement for box filler will also help to cut waste, helping you to become more eco-friendly and sustainable as a business.

  • Branding

In a fiercely competitive market, you need to stand out. Custom boxes allow you to position yourself in the market and stand out. Custom boxes will enable customers to pick out your product with ease. By having custom boxes, you show that you are an established company who has put thought and attention into the product and the packaging. It can help to bolster your reputation and shows your integrity. Custom boxes can even instil customer trust with your brand.

  • Presentation

Without a doubt, a custom box can work wonders for the presentation of your product. By putting thought, attention and creativity into the design and shape of the box, you will have a product that is packaged beautifully. The power of presentation helps to boost the first impression and can then be reused in the future. With eco-conscious customers, the fact that they can reuse your packaging may help to increase your sales.

  • Eco-friendly

With custom boxes, you can ensure they are made from recycled material and that they are fully recyclable in the future. Furthermore, custom boxes can fit your product, which can help to eliminate the need for wasteful material. With a focus on reducing waste and going greener, your custom box design can help to show your committed to Corporate Social Responsibility and show that your brand cares about the environment.

  • Automation

An increase in packaging technology has made it much easier for the production of custom boxes. With machinery able to create bespoke boxes for every product, it has made it much easier for firms to adopt custom boxes for all of their products. Furthermore, an increase in automation means it is easy to handle reverse logistics. If you have returns in damaged packaging, you can simply switch the product into a custom box and be able to resell the product right away.

  • Save money

Custom boxes can help your brand to save a considerable amount of money. Firstly, custom boxes are designed to fit, meaning you are saving money on the amount of packaging material you need, as well as a filler. Secondly, the ideal box size will reduce the risk of damage to the product, which means less costly returns and refunds.

As well as this, having custom boxes can help to reduce your logistics costs. Reducing the size of boxes can help to increase the number of products that you can distribute via freight as well as assisting with the amount of fuel you use. It can also help reduce the postage and shipping costs if you use a logistics provider.

With a custom box, your business can save money, increase productivity, further automation and reduce waste and storage of packaging. As well as this the customers benefit from stand-out packaging that reduces waste and makes it easy to recycle or dispose of. Retailers are also happy as your products will look inviting and unique which can liven up their shelves.

Is it time your business opted for custom boxes for your packaging needs?

The Box Manufacturing Process Explained

The humble cardboard box is one of the most used packaging materials. It is a core product in packaging manufacturing. It not only fills the shelves, but it can be seen all throughout the supply chain too. When looking at a cardboard box, typically printed and branded with inviting colours and wording, it is hard to imagine it started life as a tree. We discuss the box manufacturing process step by step.

As consumers, we often forget to consider how items came to be, but we think the packaging should be celebrated. So, how does a tree finally become a box?

The steps of box manufacturing

1.     The tree

While we ideally look for recycled cardboard for box production, at one point, a cardboard box started life as a tree. Typically, the trees used for box manufacturing are softwood trees such as pine and fir tree. The reason they are chosen is that they have long fibres which can help to create a smooth finish for the cardboard as well as creating tension which increases the strength.

Many manufacturers will choose wood from sustainable and managed woodland; this means that any trees that are felled are replaced to help maintain the ecosystem of the forest. The paper and cardboard created will have a different colouring depending on the tree used. For example, silver birch trees will produce a dark colour, while a spruce will create a light brown colour.

2.     The pulp

From felling the tree, wood chips are made. These wood chips are then broken down into pulp. This can be done through grinding the wood against a stone or chemically cooking the wood chips. With this, you can add chemicals such as sodium sulphate to increase the strength of the pulp. For most cardboard, the pulp is left as the same colour. However, it can also be bleached to create a white appearance.

3.     Corrugation

Once the pulp has been dried, you can then start to create cardboard. For corrugated cardboard, it requires two pieces of paper or card called liners and a portion of fluted cardboard, which sits in between the liners. To fluting helps to give the cardboard further strength and a higher level of protection against damage.

Rolls of the paper made from the dried pulp are fed through a corrugated roller, which flutes or ruffles the paper. Depending on the quality of the box being made will depend on the level of fluting required. As increasing the fluting leads to higher use of material and therefore increased strength, this is used for high-quality boxes. For cheaper boxes, less fluting can be used which can help to create space-saving, a reduced amount of material used and can lower the carbon emissions.

The corrugation machine uses hot steam to create the flutes. At the same time glue is rolled down each side of the flute, so that is sticks to the liners. Once corrugated cardboard is formed, it is then trimmed to provide straight edges.

4.     Cutting

Now that you have complete corrugated cardboard, it is time to cut the card to size, depending on the box requirements. There is a comprehensive guide, and many of the machines are programmed to cut the cardboard to scale automatically depending on production demand. Once the basic outline has been cut, the card is then sent to a trimmer.

The trimmer is designed to deal with intricate aspects that the cutting machine cannot handle. A trimmer can add handles to boxes and cut flaps that are needed to construct the box. The trimmer also scores the cardboard, making it easier to fold when the box is ready for assembly.

5.     Assembly

Assembly will depend on the requirements of the box. The use of flaps and slots may be best for business who want to construct their boxes on demand. As well as these, boxes built with tape are often efficient to be constructed as and when they are required. Usually, for more robust boxes, glue and stitching are used to fold sections together and keep the box secure.

Specific innovative machinery can construct boxes for you on demand. For example, Ribble Right Size is an on-demand box making machine. It creates the perfect size box depending on your needs to reduce waste and ensure the best fit. The box is constructed for you which can significantly reduce packing production time.

After assembly, offcuts can be recycled to continue in the chain of box making. After the boxes have been branded, printed and utilised, they can be recycled and create a continuous cycle of recycled box manufacturing.


5 Easy to Implement Manufacturing Product Packaging Solutions

When you’re focusing on the quality of the product, you need simple product packaging solutions that take the stress away and allows you to concentrate on the central aspect; your product.

1. Flat pack solutions

Flat pack furniture came about when a Swedish draughtsman had to unscrew the legs off a table to fit it into his car. The experience made him wonder about developing a system where furniture could be manufactured in a kit form. The Swedish legacy lives in one of the largest flatpack furniture retailers that have stores across the globe. While the concept of flat pack relates to the design and manufacture of the furniture, it has generated an entirely new process in packaging. Flat pack furniture comes unassembled. It is therefore packaged with sometimes hundreds of small bits and pieces as part of the greater package.

This has led to the necessity for product specific flat pack packaging, where the goods are packaged as tightly and with as much space economy as possible. The consequence is that people can fit an entire bedroom’s furniture into the back of their car. The need to design boxes that fit into boxes to take advantage of all interior space came with the advent of flat packed products, and innovative furniture packaging has led to the development of newer solutions. These solutions, however, have not left the flat pack in the corridors of obsolescence. It could be argued that the special economics of flat pack packaging is the grandparent of modern compact packaging solutions.

When retailing larger products particularly, furniture flatpack makes storage and sales implementation a dream.

2. Automated solutions

Automated packaging comes in all different shapes and sizes and can be varied depending on your requirements. This type of packaging can be used for both perishable and non-perishable products, but is also useful, with small furniture items. Flatpack designs have now become so flexible that they form part of automated packaging systems. While flat packing is an innovative packaging method, it marries well with automation to offer an easy production line solution in manufacturing. While automated packaging saves time, it is the precursor to what has become the packaging method of preference in large warehousing operations – on demand packaging.

In situations where a business warehouses its stock, automating the packaging process makes sense. There are times when combining one other or all of the methods mentioned in this post can form part of the automation process and automation makes sense, particularly when running a twenty-four-hour operation.

When a product line can be assembled in a uniform size and shape, automated packaging usually makes sense. It must be noted however that automated and on-demand packaging are two different processes.

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3. On-demand product packaging solutions

On-demand packaging is probably one of the most versatile and innovative product packaging solutions developed yet. On-demand machines package, according to the size and shape of the products placed on the device. In other words, every product can be different, and the machine will wrap the item according to its weight and dimensions. Apart from saving space in transit, this type of packaging saves time and labour costs. The on-demand packaging also means that items can be packaged when and where the warehouse wants it to happen.

On-demand machines will build the custom packaging for a particular product in real time, saving storage space, packaging materials and make reverse logistics a much easier process – the perfect packing solution.

4. Hexacomb packaging

Hexacomb packaging is extremely lightweight cardboard packaging constructed with a typical honeycomb design. The honeycomb design provides immense strength while reducing the amount of weight that conventional strips of packaging would to the end product. When products such as furniture are heavy, this product has done its duty to reduce even more potential weight to the fully packaged product. This packaging can also be cut and shaped to snugly fit into vulnerable furniture parts keeping them safe in transit.

This kind of packaging usually forms part of a greater product packaging solutions strategy and demonstrates a solution for otherwise difficult items to ship.

5. Protective packaging

Protective product packaging solutions come in a variety of shapes and forms. It is most commonly identified as packaging that is designed to fit over sharp corners of furniture such as on tables and cabinets. Often surface protection is also provided for polished wooden tables. In the past, polystyrene was consistently used for its protective packaging properties, however, as environmental factors have become a consideration, it is now more common to see these packaging products made with recyclable corrugated cardboard.

These pieces of additional protective packaging not only serve as protection for the item to which they are attached but also as a safety precaution to prevent damage to vulnerable items that are transported with them.

Want your packaging simplified?

If you want to make packaging your products easier with, then talk to the leading product packaging experts in the UK. Our friendly advisors will help you to keep costs and time down with the best sustainable packaging solution for your needs.

5 Benefits of Manufacturing Packaging Solutions: More Efficient Shipping

5 Benefits of Manufacturing Packaging Solutions: More Efficient Shipping

When you have spent time manufacturing a piece of furniture, there is a good chance that you will want to make sure that it is packaged and shipped securely. The trouble with packaging materials is that they can often be expensive, not to mention difficult to find the perfect size to match your furniture. The packaging industry has struggled to tackle this problem for manufacturers.

We have put together a list of the 5 lesser known efficiency benefits furniture manufacturers can draw on for more efficient shipping of your products:

  • You will use less corrugated cardboard and corrugated packaging
    Any business that ships out items will know that corrugated cardboard adds to the gross margin of products. By using boxes that are closer to the size that you need, usually smaller than a standard box, you will be cutting down the amount of corrugated cardboard that you use. In turn, the amount of money you spend on packaging supplies.
  • You will also use less void fillers and protective packaging
    You minimise the need to fill empty space in a box. The materials that are often used as void fillers are usually unsustainable, which means that they are not having the best impact on the environment. Something becoming increasingly important for end users and businesses alike.
  • You don’t have to worry about ordering boxes
    Finding the process of making sure that you always have boxes, as well as a variety of sizes, a little tiresome? Right Size packaging means you don’t have to worry about ordering boxes, print boxes only as and when you need them.
  • You will have more space
    Boxes, even when they are flat-packed, take up space. Space that you could be using to store your products. A dedicated custom packaging solution means that you don’t have to have boxes stacked up in your warehouse. Instead you can use the space saved to store more of your amazing products instead.
  • The order process will be much quicker and require less people
    When you are able to create a box that is the perfect size for your needs, you should find that the process is much quicker. Not only this, but you may find that you need less people to get the item packed and ready to be shipped. Saving you money in the long run and allowing you to redistribute these employees to other parts of your business.

This is where manufacturing packaging solutions can help. Custom packaging solutions just like those that are available at Ribble. Right Size offers on demand, perfect fit packaging. Just what furniture manufacturers need when packaging products.

Find out about the manufacturing packaging solutions we provide: Ribble Automate

Ribble Right Size allows you to create boxes to your products dimensions, all thanks to a specialised on demand box making machine. 1 box, or a batch of 1000 boxes. Ribble Automate will help you reduce your shipping costs and packaging material costs.

Want to know more about manufacturing packaging solutions and how it can help your business?

Find out more about Right Size packaging solution. Or get in touch with one of experts to discuss your manufacturing packaging needs where we can answer any Automate questions you might have.

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