7 min read
Should I Buy a New Folder-Gluer or Invest in Packaging Equipment to Improve my Productivity?
Written by: Marie-Soleil Boutet, 3 August 2021
Your folder-gluer has been running well, but it has reached its maximum potential.
You’ve tried everything you can to make your folder-gluer produce more output and faster output but it has hit its limit.
You want to reach higher packing speeds.
You want to produce more output.
You want more productivity.
with shorter setup times
and less manpower.
But you’re not sure how.
You are not alone.
In fact, most box manufacturers that we work with are in the exact same position that you’re in.
They want to produce more, faster, and with less manpower so that they can close more contracts and become more productive.
But they’re stuck.
At IMPACK, we’re committed to teaching box manufacturers how to unleash their folder-gluer’s full potential.
No — we are not folder-gluer manufacturers and folder-gluers are not our product.
But, we manufacture and install packaging equipment around folder-gluers, and our clients look to us for advice on everything related to folder-gluers.
Over the last 3 years, I have visited hundreds of production plants and conducted dozens of project analyses.
During this time, I saw what the most and least successful box manufacturers do in their day-to-day work. Those experiences have shown us how simple changes can help box manufacturers realize massive success in their industry.
This article will help you decide whether buying a new folder-gluer is right for your company or whether you should invest in packaging equipment.
Plus, I’ll tell you exactly what steps you need to take.
Is Buying a New Folder-Gluer the Solution to My Problem?
A graphical depiction of some of the most widely present folder-gluers on the market in alphabetical order (Ace Machinery, Bahmüller. Bobst, DGM, Eterna, Heidelberg-MK, KBA Duran, SBL, Vega)
Yes and no.
Many box manufacturers believe that buying a new folder-gluer is the solution to increase their productivity, and if you thought that too, you are not alone.
In some cases, buying a new folder-gluer is the best solution, and in other cases, it simply isn’t.
The first step to answering this question is to identify why the capacity of your current folder-gluer is limited.
In other words, where is the bottleneck taking place?
Is it at the gluing, packing, or feeding stage(s)?
Once identified, the second step is to collect data on your production and work methods.
Analyzing this data will rationalize why this bottleneck is taking place and how you can address it.
But more importantly, this data will be your stepping stone to knowing where you are today, where you want to go, and how you will get there.
🔍 Related: Not sure how to identify your bottleneck or analyze your data? We’re here to help! Request a free productivity analysis from IMPACK’s experts. No commitment required.
Buying a New Folder-Gluer Could Be a Bad Decision
It is important for you to know that getting a new folder-gluer does not mean a simple hands-down investment in a gluer, period:
You need space which is a privilege in this industry.
You need another operator — another privilege.
You need to train those operators which is time-consuming.
You need other workers around the packing stations where job turnovers are very high.
You need equipment to manage the output/palletization — which can become expensive, and take up space, fairly quickly.
So, adding a new folder-gluer is not an overnight decision where you call your folder-gluer supplier and excitedly welcome the arrival of your new gluer to only then realize that you have very limited space, unproductive operations, or worse: Your new folder-gluer did not improve your productivity.
No one enjoys regretting a purchase, especially with high-ticket items that require a substantial investment from your company’s hard-earned money.
How Can I Increase My Output & Boost My Folder-Gluer’s Productivity?
After you've identified where the bottleneck is taking place and collected data that explains why this bottleneck is taking place, you’re now ready to address the problem.
👉 If your bottleneck is at the gluing stage, this means that your folder-gluer has hit its maximum speed.
Adding more packing staff won’t make your gluer run faster, or better, since it has reached its maximum potential.
Neither will adding packing help/aid machines like the popular Collecting Tables on the market.
To check whether your folder-gluer is the bottleneck or not, attempt this quick exercise:
Imagine that you were to allocate 4 to 6 people behind your folder-gluer for an hour to push your gluer’s speed to its maximum possible speed.
And, let’s assume that you still receive well-glued boxes. What will the outcome be?
Will your gluer run faster and produce more output in a shorter period of time?
Or will you face quality problems as soon as you start running at higher speeds on your gluer?
If the latter is true, then your folder-gluer is the bottleneck.
This means you have one (or more) of the following 3 problems:
❓ Problem #1: Your boxes cannot be glued faster without damaging them.
- Solution: Your folder-gluer might be outdated and a new gluer could glue them faster but this needs to be analyzed in detail to avoid wasting money on something that won’t solve the problem.
❓ Problem #2: Your boxes are well folded and glued but the glue is not sticking as it should.
- Solution: Many clients change the type of glue they use to one that offers a quicker and stronger bonding.
❓ Problem #3: Your boxes are well folded but there is not enough glue or the glue is missing.
- Solution: You can solve this problem with an upgraded gluing and glue inspection system. This will make sure that your boxes are well-glued even when your folder-gluer is running at higher speeds.
👉 If your bottleneck is at the packing stage, this means that your folder-gluer has not hit its maximum speed.
You know that your gluer can produce more output or run faster, but you’re not sure how.
This means that you have one (or more) of the following 2 problems:
❓ Problem #1: You have not tuned your folder-gluer to its most performant level.
The process of tuning a folder-gluer is more akin to craftsmanship than automation.
- Solution: Increasing the output of your folder-gluer is never as easy as cranking up the speed dial of your gluer. There are certain steps that you must follow to master your folding-gluing process. Learn about the Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Folder-Gluer Productivity (Zero Investment Required).
❓ Problem #2: You have tuned your folder-gluer to its most performant level but your packing staff can no longer keep up.
So, you have already implemented the top 5 ways and mastered your folding-gluing process but your packing staff can no longer keep up.
You will now deliberately have to slow down your folder-gluer and purposefully reduce your productivity.
It is inevitable.
There will come a point where your folder-gluer will hit its maximum potential and there is nothing you can do to make the gluer produce more (or at a faster rate) without investing in additional equipment.
But again, knowing that you have to invest in packaging equipment is not the “ultimate solution.”
Solution: There are specific steps that you should take, and in a particular order, if you want to get the highest payback off of your investment in packaging equipment. Those steps are the 7 Most Effective Ways to Maximize Your Folder-Gluer's Productivity With Investing.
So — Should I Buy a New Folder-Gluer or Invest in Packaging Equipment?
Here is how to decide:
Step 1: Determine why the capacity of your folder-gluer is limited by identifying where bottlenecks are taking place.
- Are you facing bottlenecks at the gluing, packing, or feeding stage(s)?
Step 2: Collect data on your production and work methods.
Step 3: Analyze this data to discover why your folder-gluer’s productivity is limited.
Step 4: If you find out that your bottleneck is at the gluing stage, this means that your folder-gluer has hit its maximum potential and you’d need one (or more) of the following:
- A new folder-gluer.
- Better gluing material with stronger bonding.
- An upgraded gluing and glue inspection system.
Step 5: If you find out that your bottleneck is at the packing stage, this means that your folder-gluer has not hit its maximum potential and you’d want to follow those steps:
- Consistently tune your folder-gluer until you’ve mastered your folding-gluing process.
- Implement the top 7 tips to maximize your folder-gluer's productivity.
- Begin exploring your options of folder-gluer packaging equipment.
Your Next Steps:
Want to learn how to master your folding-gluing process but not ready to invest?
Already applied the top 5 ways and ready to take your productivity to the next level?
Considering packaging equipment but not sure if it’s the right decision for you?
👉 Find out by reading “Do I Need to Invest In Packaging Equipment to Reach Higher Packing Speeds?”
Still looking for answers?
If you’ve got more questions that you want answers for, contact us today!
IMPACK’s experts would love to help and maybe even show you some of our machines LIVE in action 😉.
How to Maximize Your Folder-Gluer Productivity
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