plastic packages

Best Practices for Using Plastic Packages in Automated Systems

At Logistic Packaging, we believe that the recipe for success is a smart combination of professional plastic packaging and automated systems. The ideal for efficient logistic operations is minimal human labor. Your employees’ job should be to supervise machines and satisfy your customers’ demands, not to carry heavy loads and handle large plastic containers.

However, we also understand that it is not easy to find the best combination of adequate packages and logistic equipment, such as conveyor belts, manufacturing robots and loading/unloading devices. Using the wrong plastic packages on these automated systems can lead to expensive damages both to the packages and the systems.

We Can Help You Tackle This Issue Correctly

The packaging specialists at Logistic Packaging have worked with many clients on complex product implementations. We are aware of the technical requirements for the packaging materials that can be safely used on conveyor belts and automated order picking systems.

Our experience has allowed us to develop a list of best practices that we use when we analyze a customer case and prepare to make a recommendation. In this article, we will share some of these best practices with you.

1. Understand the Way an Automated System Works

The producer of the automated systems can offer you valuable information about the precise functioning of their product. They can explain the mechanics of the movement of a robotic arm or the way in which the rollers on a conveyor belt interact with the bottom of a plastic container or pallet.

We found many cases of damaged plastic pallets or crates because they were placed on the conveyor belt the wrong way. These products had already been cleared for use on automated system. But the physics behind the movement of a plastic package along the conveyor belt is different if it is placed in a perpendicular or parallel position to the rollers.

2. Know About the Tolerance Levels Required by Logistic Equipment

Equipment producers will specify the minimum and ideal tolerance levels of the plastic packages that work with their equipment. These tolerances include clearance from ground, dynamic load, stack load, etc.

You may be tempted to err on the safe side and order packages with superior tolerance values to the recommended ones. Technically speaking, this is not a bad thing. But it will cost you more. There is a significant difference of price between a regular closed deck plastic pallet and a heavy duty plastic pallet with reinforced skids. Remember that manufacturers of automated systems are knowledgeable about the professional packages used on their products, so they will give accurate information you can trust.

3. Do Not Invest in Custom Packaging When Standard Products Can Handle the Job

As producers of professional plastic packages, we have seen many orders for customized packaging materials that were finally solved by a product in our standard range. Customized packages take longer to make and are more expensive.

What you need to do is give your packaging suppliers full details about how you will use the product, including the automated machines you have. For example, a non-Euro stackable container will fulfill your need for a custom sized footprint, but you will purchase it at the price of a standard packaging product.

4. Get Your Packaging Supplier Involved in the Process

If you are about to implement an automated system, it is recommended to discuss this project with your packaging provider, as well. At Logistic Packaging, we have extensive knowledge of how well our products interact with such systems.

Some of our products, such as VDA-KLT containers and Euro containers, are designed especially for use on conveyor belts and handling by robotic arms. Thus, we can recommend you the adequate products for the envisioned automated systems and find ways to repurpose your existing plastic packages in other logistic operations.

5. Make Sure Your Employees Learn How to Work with Automated Systems

Human error is still one of the leading factors for accidents and damages involving packaging materials and automated systems. Make sure that all the employers who will work with or around these systems know the safety procedures and comply with them.

These accidents sometimes cause more than material damages – they also lead to serious injuries. It is important that everyone is aware of their responsibility to protect themselves and their colleagues.

At Logistic Packaging, we are your partners in finding and implementing the adequate plastic packages for your logistic operations. Send us an email or schedule a live Skype chat with one of our packaging specialists!