The packaging industry is changing. The market demands smaller series, more variety, more customization, higher quality and faster delivery. In addition, international developments and the enormous growth of purchases via the Internet are making packaging processes increasingly complex. Can cobots be a solution to the challenges that the packaging industry is currently facing?
Challenges in the packaging industry
Several factors have caused the packaging industry to become more complex. Global events and changing market demands are often the cause of this. Below are 5 common challenges.
Several major international events have led to supply problems recently. One example is the rising demand for corrugated cardboard, while paper mills faced production interruptions. Or the blockade of the Suez Canal in 2021 that caused a scarcity of certain raw materials worldwide.
Packaging companies have been struggling for several years to keep up with the increasing demand for digitization. Customers increasingly expect to be able to digitally tap into existing processes. This requires modern technology and systems to support this new way of working.
The rise of e-commerce and other mail-dependent services, such as the increase in delivery services, has driven up demand for packaging products. However, this is highly dependent on the industry to which you deliver. Rising demand is obviously a good sign, but if you can't keep up with demand it becomes a problem.
Pressure on costs
Increasing demand for higher quality, quick deliveries, more customization options make the cost of production higher and higher. If the customer is not willing to pay these emerging costs and competitors can deliver the same quality cheaper, you lose out to the competition.
As in any industry, the packaging industry is facing personnel shortages. This problem is only going to get worse given the aging population and older generations retiring. Staff shortages can leave you unable to meet market demand and serve customers the way you would like to. Again, there is a chance that you will lose out to the competition as a result.
How cobots can help with these challenges
Cobots are flexible, mobile, cost-effective robots that can be easily and quickly deployed in a variety of industries. Here are a few reasons why cobots can solve challenges in the packaging industry.
The reason many companies choose cobots is the flexibility a cobot offers. Compared to traditional robots, cobots can perform different applications and tasks in the packaging industry and are not dependent on one application. For example, they can pack, sort and palletize and also switch between these different applications. The cobot can be deployed wherever it is most needed at the time. This makes a cobot a good long-term investment. As processes change over the long term, the cobot changes with the process.
Cobots are a new technology that fit into today's smart-industry era. As such, they can be seamlessly incorporated into new digital systems. Because they are easy to program, they can also easily adapt to rapid changes associated with digital interventions.
Cobots can work 24 hours a day and thus scale up the productivity of production. This allows you to keep up with increasing demand in a scalable way without hiring or outsourcing services externally. Also, by adding robots to the production process, you can get more out of the workforce, eliminating the need to keep hiring new people.
Example of cobots in the packaging process
In the packaging industry, stacking boxes on pallets is often a bottleneck in production. Palletizing is a boring, repetitive task that can demand a lot from workers. So it's perfect to automate. WiredWorkers offers an all-in-one palletizing solution that provides all the equipment and software to automate palletizing and is quick to deploy.