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Top 5 Problems During Folder-Gluer Packer Commissioning (& How to Avoid Them?)

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If you're looking to install a folder-gluer packer or folder-gluer stacker onto your folding-gluing line, and have spoken to someone who owns a folder-gluer packer or stacker, you've probably heard of some of the problems that can happen during the commissioning process.

And if you've read some of the articles on our Learning Center, you know that at IMPACK, we never shy away from being blatantly transparent about what different types of packaging equipment can do, what they cannot do, and the common problems involved.

Whether you’re a company director, a plant manager, a folder-gluer operator, or a gluing hall specialist, it is important for you to know the top problems that can happen during the commissioning of a folder-gluer packer or stacker.

This will allow you to avoid those problems, avoid unnecessary costs, and reduce the time needed until your company realizes productivity and speed gains.

The purpose of this article is to address, with full transparency, the 5 most common problems that can happen during the commissioning of a folder-gluer packer or stacker. 

And this applies to all folder-gluer packaging equipment whether you're considering IMPACK or another supplier.

Here are the top 5 most common problems that happen during a folder-gluer packer or folder-gluer stacker installation:

Problem #1: Lack of Preparation for the Commissioning  

It might be surprising to you, but one of the most common problems that we have seen starts not during, or after the commissioning, but right before the commissioning has ever begun.  

This problem stems from the lack of sufficient preparation for the commissioning.  

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The level of preparation you have before the experts go on-site can make a significant difference to the level of payback you receive from your investment. In other words, if you are not as prepared as you could be, and improvise the start-up while the experts are on-site, you can be confronted with unnecessary problems that can delay (or even prevent) you from getting your new machine running as soon as you could.  

🔍 Recommended: Wondering how long it would take to get your return from investing in a folder-gluer packer or stacker? Take a look at "How Long Will it Take to Get My Return From Investing in Packaging Equipment?"

What causes those delays?  

Those delays are most often caused by unintentional faulty logistics planning. This can include things as simple as preparing the electricity, pneumatics, internet connection for the remote assistance, or having a well-equipped crew.  

The truth is, those mistakes are very common yet very easily avoidable.   

What’s the solution?  

Having a detailed pre-installation plan. Sounds simple, right?

Well, easier said than commonly done!

Planning prior to the commissioning process of your folder-gluer packer or stacker is crucial to maximizing the chances that the commissioning process goes smoothly. We understand that having a plan of action for your team to implement can be challenging, especially when dealing with new, complex machines.  

It can be a flat learning curve and quite difficult to anticipate. There should be a mutual collaboration between you and your packaging equipment supplier to successfully, and effectively, set up your pre-implementation plan. 

At IMPACK, for example, we send our clients an extensive pre-installation guide that includes everything they need to know to prepare for the installation. This includes what they should prepare, how they could prepare, and how to plan for their folder-gluer production.

Let’s be honest here...manuals aren’t fun to follow, but having that easy-to-follow guide can make things much easier to anticipate with a known start-to-finish plan that the entire team is educated around.  

Yes — the pre-installation manual does not guarantee that every commissioning process of a folder-gluer packer or stacker will be a flawless process; however, a properly prepared crew that closely follows the points outlined in the pre-installation guide will be capable of recognizing and avoiding the most common mistakes that can happen.  

🔍 Recommended: Want to prepare yourself for the commissioning of your new folder-gluer packer or stacker? Check out our step-by-step guide: "How to Fully Prepare For My Commissioning Process" (Coming Soon). It outlines everything you need to know to be fully prepared for a successful commissioning process.

Problem #2: Inefficient and Old Folder-Gluers 

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We have good and bad news about folder-gluer packers and folder-gluer stackers.

  • The good news: Adding folder-gluer packers or stackers to your already existing folder-gluer can help you push your gluer to the limit without going broke: A simple, economical, and versatile solution. 

At IMPACK, we manufacture and install Manual, Semi-Automatic, Automatic, and Fully-Automatic folder-gluer packaging equipment and peripherals on, and around, folder-gluers. Because our machines are modular, we can be the ideal solution to those looking for add-on modules to their already existing folder-gluers.

  • The bad news: Remember when we said “perfect”?

Well, those packers and stackers can be not so perfect if your existing folder-gluer is not working properly.  

The problem is that all manufacturers and installers of packing systems (folder-gluer packers and stackers) are fully dependent on the working capabilities of your existing folder-gluer. So, if your gluer is outdated or not working as it should, it might not be able to operate with the flexibility, scope, and operational efficiency as they could. And this may lead to problems in the future.

Let’s face it: No one wants to make a big investment in a product that will take a blow. 

🔍 Recommended: If you're conflicted about whether you should invest in a new folder-gluer or a packing system, read the article "Should I Buy a New Folder-Gluer or Invest in Packaging Equipment to Improve My Productivity?"

What’s the solution?  

Some forward-thinking!  

It is important to ensure that your folder-gluer is healthy and operating at a capacity that will ensure its durability so that your return on investment can be worth the investment.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.  

At IMPACK, we host our own specialized design and engineering departments with highly sophisticated experts. Our experts do not merely install your folder-gluer packer or stacker, but instead, we get involved at several different levels.  

This includes analyzing your existing folder-gluer(s) and finishing department’s performance, determining your production’s capabilities, designing standardized and (or) specialized equipment, conducting inspection and quality-control procedures, and providing complete training and coaching for your operators to help you maximize your folder-gluer's productivity.

Problem #3: Lack of Sufficient Operator Training 

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Francis, IMPACK’S Assembly supervisor, working on the MFA Batch Inverter. 

Remember problem #1 (the lack of preparation for the commissioning)?  

Even when clients have a carefully planned pre-installation process, an easy-to-follow pre-installation guide, and high-performing folder-gluers, a common problem that often happens is that the operators are not well trained to utilize the equipment as efficiently as they can.  

Why does this happen?  

👉 There are 3 main reasons to why your operators may not be working at their optimal efficiency: 

  1. Lack of immediately available resources.  

  2. Poor shift-planning. 

  3. Lack of preparation for changeovers.  

Most frequently, this happens due to a lack of readily available resources.  

That is to say, the expert arrives on-site to begin training the operators, but rather than doing so, they are delayed due to having to wait for electricity, internet, or power.  

Without power, the expert cannot make the machine run, and without making the machine run, the expert cannot begin the operator training.  

Yes, it is possible for experts to give training on an offline machine, but it is certainly not nearly as effective or demonstrative as that of a live, working machine. As a result, the expert cannot train the operators, or the operators receive very limited training that they could have capitalized on to their advantage had those resources been prepared.   

Another reason for insufficient training is poor shift planning.  

So often we encounter companies that operate on a 24/7 basis and not all members of the crew get the chance to receive training or even meet the expert on-site. This is usually because they work overnight or because their schedule is not in alignment with the schedule of the expert.  

Another simple, but easily avoidable, problem that can be very costly and detrimental to pushing your folder-gluer to its maximum capacity.  

The third cause to why we see this happening is the lack of preparation for changeovers.   

Put simply, a lot of the time we see operators having only limited boxes to run on their new folder-gluer packer or stacker. This is great in terms of the idea that it makes the training much easier for everyone, but not so great when you factor in the fact that changing the box types, sizes, shapes, colors, and thickness of the material is then left to each operator to figure out for themselves.  

This only takes away from your setup time, productivity, and extends the time needed until your company realizes productivity and speed gains.  

What’s the solution?  

Put simply, 

  1. Assessing your resource availability for the commissioning process.  

  2. Integrating your crew’s shifts in conjunction with the expert’s training schedule.  

  3. Ensuring adequate preparation for changeover of boxes so that you, and your crew, can get the chance to see setups of the machines for different boxes. 

Problem #4: Bottlenecks Obstructing Efficient Folder-Gluer Production

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With the installation of foreign machines, such as folder-gluer packers or folder-gluer stackers, on your existing folding gluing lines, the introduction of new training, and migrating to a semi-different way of operating, there are a lot of changes happening.  

Change is necessary but can also be challenging to adapt to.  

When your packer/stacker is first installed, everything is fresh and there is only so much that your operators can retain, understand, and repeat by themselves.  

Granted, you can operate up to a certain level, but after the folder-gluer packer or stacker has run for a few weeks (or a few months) most clients we have dealt with begin to realize specific problems obstructing efficient folder-gluer production. And, they get stuck.   

What’s the solution?  

Understanding that this happens, and is rather common, is vital for you to implement preventative measures for bottlenecks and learn how to maximize your folder-gluer's productivity.

This is where the significance of the relationship between your company and the packaging equipment supplier comes in. Cultivating a strong and long-term partnership with your packaging equipment supplier is critical to support and advance your production capabilities.

Thus, it is important that you carefully assess your options of packaging equipment suppliers with some forward-thinking!  

If you want to ensure that you're prepared for the problems that can happen when operating a folder-gluer packer, check out the article "The 4 Most Common Problems When Operating a Folder-Gluer Packer & How to Solve Them."

At IMPACK, you can count on us to receive complete training for your crew during and after the commissioning process.  

We are always open to offering “refresher training” to our clients and are very flexible and adaptable to your schedule.  

In fact, after a few weeks of the commissioning, most of our clients reach out for a “refresher training” now that they have faced their difficulties in the folding-gluing process, identified the root causes, and can pinpoint exactly where they are experiencing them.  

This allows our experts to enter and leave the site with a better educated, better trained, and far more equipped crew that has now become experts of their own machines.  

🔍 Recommended: "The 4 Most Common Problems When Operating a Folder-Gluer Packer & How to Solve Them."

Problem #5: Maintaining and Servicing Your Folder-Gluer Packer or Stacker  

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Although modern machines have become smarter today and resemble human intuition, all machines can fail, breakdown, or come across issues. 

With the high-ticket that comes along with those packing systems, it is more relevant than ever to be well-equipped in order to act quickly and immediately before the damage becomes another problem of its own.  

Whether it be a broken shaft or a process failure, problems can, and do, happen sometimes.  

Issues can always be anticipated as a reality but preventing them from multiplying should also be embraced as a necessity. 

What’s the solution?  

When evaluating different options of packing systems, it is critical that you ask your packaging equipment supplier about past problems they have experienced when operating a folder-gluer packer or stacker, but more importantly, their involvement with fixing those problems.  

The answers you get will speak volumes about the only thing that truly matters in those types of relationships: Long-term trust.   

The best policy is to have responsive maintenance and support available from a well-trained repair technician.  

Despite the fact that we, here at IMPACK, are a Quebec-based business, we pride ourselves on having our own internal feedback processes from our assembly, production, and engineering departments.  

That is, we own departments that offer maintenance, service of spare parts, warranty, and customer service. Learn more here about IMPACK's Warranty and Service (Coming Soon).

No, we do not operate 24/7, given that our service team members are the development engineers that innovate the machines you get serviced at your production site, but we are entirely confident in the reliability and durability of our machines.

When you call service, you are not redirected to an independent customer service department. Instead, you get to speak directly, and one-on-one, with the engineer that designed your very own IMPACK machine. 

🔍 Recommended: Interested in learning more about IMPACK’s Warranty and Service? Learn more by reading What is IMPACK’s Warranty and Service?” (Coming Soon).

Are You Ready to Boost Your Folder-Gluer's Productivity?

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With the cardboard packaging industry growing at a monstrous rate, and the urgent need to quickly adapt to the complex requirements of the market, more and more manufacturers of carton board and corrugated board packaging are searching for folder-gluer packers and stackers to push their folder-gluer to its maximum potential.

However, this does not come problem-free.  

As we have seen, many challenges can happen during the commissioning process. Therefore, acknowledging those top common problems and leveraging this knowledge to your advantage is imperative towards optimizing a smooth commissioning after-commissioning process.  

Commissioning problems are common and okay. It is how you recognize them and what a company can do to fix them, and maintain that, is what truly matters.  

It is no coincidence that IMPACK has robust solutions for each of the identified problems. 

Your Next Steps:

👉 If you're feeling unsure about investing in a folder-gluer packer or stacker, here are your next steps:

  1. First, find out whether your company actually needs a packing system or whether it's a waste of money by readingDo I Really Need to Invest In Packaging Equipment to Improve My Folder-Gluer Productivity?

  2. Next, discover whether you should buy a new folder-gluer or invest in a packing system by reading "Should I Buy a New Folder-Gluer or Invest in Packaging Equipment to Improve My Productivity?

  3. And finally, learn "What Are Folder-Gluer Packaging Equipment & How to Know Which Machine is Best For You?"

👉 If you’ve decided that investing in a folder-gluer packer or stacker is the right choice for your company, here are your next steps:
  1. Find out whether you need a folder-gluer packer or stacker by comparing Folder-Gluer Packers Vs. Stackers."

  2. Next, find out whether you need a Semi-Automatic or a Fully-Automatic folder-gluer packer or stacker by reading "Semi-Automatic Vs. Fully-Automatic Packers: Which Is Better?"

  3. And finally, learn about IMPACK's 3 main machines and how to choose the best machine for your production by taking a look atWhat Are IMPACK's 3 Main Machines (& How to Choose)