The Value of Automating Your End-of-Line Processes

Posted: January 12, 2024

  Robot on conveyor scanning packages

As demand for products increases, companies are seeking ways to make their end-of-line production process more efficient and cost effective. Why is this beneficial to you? Automating the final stages of your packaging operations can help boost your overall production output. Whether you are looking to reduce costs, increase productivity, or help fill labor gaps, end-of-line automation is an investment worth exploring. 

Let’s take a deeper look at end-of-line automation and how it can be beneficial to your warehouse and packaging operations. 

What is End-of-Line Automation?  

End-of-line automation is the technology used at the end of your production line to ensure your product is picked, packed, and prepared for delivery. This process can include scanning, product inspection, weighing, labeling, packing, and palletizing products before they leave your warehouse facility. 

Types of end-of-line automation include:    

  • Labeling: Since manual labeling is slow and can lead to many errors, automating this process can improve the precision and speed of label placement. The process also guarantees labels aren’t missing any characters, dates or other important numbers.  
  • Packaging: Using robots and other automation to pile, sort, package, and seal your productions can lead to fewer errors. These systems can be flexible to meet your varying packaging needs.
  • Palletizing: Using automation to palletize packages has made loading, lifting and sorting packages faster and easier by taking over the heavy lifting. Moving heavy loads is now easier and quicker using automation instead of people manually transporting loads throughout the facility.  
  • Inspection and Testing: Proper inspection to ensure quality of your products takes time, often causing bottlenecks in shipment. Automating this process can speed up inspections allowing faster processing of your products. Using machine vision and robots, inspections can easily detect foreign objects or potential contamination issues. Additionally, robots can be used to test your products for defects.

What are the Benefits of End-of-Line Automation? 

End-of-line automation can help improve accuracy and save time in your final packaging processes. While there are many benefits to end-of-line automation, here are four ways it could be the most impactful.  

  • More effective labor utilization: In the past, final packaging processes such as case packing, wrapping, and palletizing have been very manual. By automating these tasks your employees' time can be utilized for more valuable activities. In addition, adding automation can help to fill in gaps in your process where hiring or maintaining labor may be challenging.  

    Types of automated machinery that can save labor include:

    • Case packing
    • Palletizers and Depalletizers
    • Stretch wrappers
    • Case erectors
  • Increased efficiency: You can significantly improve your production speed and efficiency with the proper automation solution. With automation, products can be packed faster, safer, and more accurately then manual labor. 

    Additionally, automated equipment can run for much longer periods of time, don't need breaks, and are less prone to injuries than human employees. This means your orders can continuously flow through your facility.

    By implementing the right automated machinery, you can greatly improve the output of your packaging production.

  • Improved quality and consistency: The consistency and accuracy of robotic automation leads to less product damage, which results in fewer product replacements and a more consistent product. 

  • Return on investment (ROI): End-of-line automation has a high return on investment. Not only can automating your end-of-line packaging processes increase your output, but it can optimize operations to reduce costs. In general, automated equipment is more efficient than manual labor, which benefits your ROI over time. Automation increases workplace safety, which ends up saving you time and money from costly injuries or production downtime due to staffing shortages. 

Why should you choose end-of-line automation?

Automating the end-of-line aspects of your production can assist with slow production rates and keeping up with high demand. It can help you to increase output while reducing costs leading to a boost in profitability for your business. As labor challenges continue and business objectives shift, adding automation to your end-of-line packing operations can help take your business to the next level. 

If you're looking to make your end-of-line production more efficient and cost effective, our experts are here to help you get started. Speak with us today to explore custom automation solutions to boost your business.