When running a manufacturing company, the key is to provide the best service and product, while ensuring that operations are running as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our recent article explored 10 ways automation can help food and beverage manufacturers increase productivity and grow their businesses, and this article will explore how automation helps manufacturers achieve that goal through saving on materials.

Packaging materials are expensive and a big part of production costs. When looking for ways to reduce waste and production costs without sacrificing product quality, packaging materials is a great place to start. Orfer helps their clients to save valuable packaging materials and to decrease the amount of damaged goods delivered to your clients by leveraging automation in the packaging and palletizing process at the end of the production line.

Wondering how automated packaging and palletizing is different from manual packaging?

Keep reading.

Type and Cost of Materials

The first difference between hand folded and automated packaging is the type and cost of material required to achieve a stable and resistant package.

Hand folded packages require extra layers and flaps to maintain their shape and stability. These extra layers and flaps increase the amount of cardboard required per package. Since the packages need to sustain being handled and folded while maintaining their resistance, this type of packaging usually utilizes higher value materials which are also more expensive. Once the flaps are folded and the package is formed, these packages are either sealed with glue or by taping the flaps.

Packaging machines utilize different types of cardboard materials that leverage die cut packaging instead of flaps. Die cutting is a specialized process that allows manufacturers to produce custom packaging at a larger scale and at a fraction of the cost. Packaging machines e.g., Orfer HMA and HMY series use glue to close the boxes, retaining shape and stability without requiring the extra layers and flaps. Die cut products are simpler to manufacture and are less expensive. On average, boxes that are made by packaging machines use up to 20 % less material.

Space, stability, and logistics

Hand folded and automated packaging also differ when it comes to space, stability, and logistics.

Hand folded packages take up extra space in the production line and storage as the cardboard packages are bigger and larger to include the flaps. Die cut boxes are smaller and thinner, saving space on your production line.

One of the main advantages of automation in packaging is the ability to optimize space and number of products being placed. Wrap around boxes and trays formed by packaging machines like Formeca Wrap Around Series group products and wrap the cardboard around them before closing the box with glue. Since they utilize high-speed machines that don’t need extra wiggle room, these machines can fit the most goods into the box, leaving minimal unused space. You can see an example of a wrap-around machine in action here.

In practice, boxes made by machines are also more stable than hand folded boxes and can be utilized in better pallet patterns. This leads to a more efficient shipping process and decreases the risk of product loss due to packaging rupture.


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Orfer – Formeca Wrap Around Machine

Real world example: Michael Foods

Michael Foods is a food manufacturing company headquartered in Minnesota with facilities across the USA. They provide a variety of products, including liquid eggs. The company identified the need for a packaging solution that ensured highest efficiency and productivity in their production lines and partnered with Orfer to find that solution.

Michael Foods was looking for consistent and customized packaging solution that could be adapted to a variety of products. They also had a high standard of hygiene to be adhered to and required a solution that allowed for safe handling of fragile items.

The wraparound packing machines from Orfer were the perfect solution. These machines used less cardboard than a standard box, which provided the company with the quality and high standard packaging they needed, while also promoting saving on materials and increasing productivity.

According to Howard Weaver, Director of Corporate Engineering at Michael Foods: “When we purchased the wraparound case packers, reliability was the main driver. They are less likely to jam up than the drop packers we had before, and they have a higher throughput rate. The machines are quite self-sufficient and do not break down often.”

To learn more about how Orfer’s wraparound packing machines supported Michael Foods with their packaging needs, click here.


Beyond offering economic savings on cost of materials, logistics and storage, automated packaging also makes your manufacturing facility more sustainable. Automated packaging is an environmentally sustainable alternative to hand folded boxes, as it achieves more with less material, without sacrificing quality. With this investment, your manufacturing facility can increase productivity, maintain quality, and leave a smaller environmental footprint. Automated packaging also contributes to your organizational social sustainability, as it reduces strain from employees having to manually fold boxes, while increasing output and efficiency. Sustainability is one of Orfer’s pillars and is also a promise from us to our customers.


Automation of your packaging process is a key strategy to increase productivity and reduce waste in your manufacturing facility. Automated packaging brings more consistency and quality to your packages, improving successful delivery rates. Automation also reduces the cost of packaging materials as die cut boxes utilize 20% less cardboard than hand folded boxes.

Learn more about how Orfer can provide the right solution for your production line!



Schedule a meeting to learn how you can leverage automation for business growth