What to Expect from the 2018 PACK EXPO International

Within the secondary packaging automation and consumer packaged goods industries, few events, if any, rival the significance or stature of the annual PACK EXPO International. Being such an important event within our industry, INSITE and its associated corporate partners have always attended and maintained a vested interest in all things PACK EXPO. But this year we’re taking our involvement a step further. For the first time, we’re thrilled to announce that INSITE will have its own booth at the 2018 PACK EXPO!

You can find us in the Upper North Hall at booth N-5129. We’re approaching this year’s PACK EXPO as a coming out party of sorts. While we have been working on the business for a few years, we’re taking this opportunity to fully display our products, technologies, and business to all in attendance. Read on to learn more about the 2018 PACK EXPO and what insights you can expect to gather from INSITE at the event.

A Brief Profile of the 2018 PACK EXPO International

The PACK EXPO has been considered the premier networking, thought leadership, and showcase event within the greater consumer packaged goods industry since its inception. This year’s event will draw in 2,500+ exhibitors. If you’re looking for an opportunity to see the latest packaging equipment and technologies up close, then this is the event for you.

From new industrial packaging machines yet to hit the market to packaging automation tools, attendees will find a wide berth of packaging solutions both profiled and demonstrated at the event. And alongside these new technological advancements, those in attendance will have the opportunity to interact with the C-level executives, engineers, plant managers, research and development personnel, brand and marketing managers, quality controllers, specifiers, purchasers, and packaging designers from the top consumer packaged goods companies and retailers within our industry. INSITE’s very own Director of Business Development, Andy Quist, will be present at this year’s event along with a host of accompanying INSITE team members.

New Additions to the 2018 PACK EXPO International

Each year, the PACK EXPO International grows. As the industry evolves and consumer demand shifts, the EXPO always adapts to show off the latest advancements in the consumer packaged goods industry so that those in attendance can work to refine their internal processes and meet market demands.

This year, one of the highlights of the EXPO will be an all-new attraction: the inaugural Technology Excellence Awards. This will be the first time that the weekend-long event includes an award show, and audiences are vying for a chance to see this all-new attraction hit the showroom floor. At the beginning of the month, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) unveiled the finalists for this year’s competition. The completed list of finalists spans across seven categories and is comprised of 22 nominees. The categories being:

  • Baking and Snack
  • Beverage and Dairy
  • General Packaging
  • Meat/Poultry/Seafood
  • Personal Care/Cosmetics
  • Pharmaceuticals/Medical Devices
  • Prepared Foods

Earlier in the year, Laura Thompson, senior director of expositions, PMMI, was quoted stating “PMMI believes these awards are another way to drive the industry to keep innovating and meet the ever-growing needs of consumer packaged goods companies. We are amazed at the response and quality of submissions that we received for this exciting new program.”

While the finalists were selected by a highly qualified batch of individuals, such as Stephanie Neil, Editor-In-Chief, OEM Magazine and Jane Chase, Executive Director, Institute of Packaging Professionals, the winners for each category will be chosen by the attendees of this year’s convention. Voting will open at 9 am on October 14th and will run through noon on Tuesday the 16th with all PACK EXPO and Healthcare EXPO attendees urged to cast their vote after walking the convention floor.

The Healthcare EXPO is another new addition to the 2018 PACK EXPO. While the Healthcare Packaging EXPO has been running for a few years, this will be the first year that the two events will be held jointly, making up an exhibition weekend that will be comprised of over 50,000 attendees in over 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space. To say that this will be the largest U.S. PACK EXPO International would be an understatement.

Find INSITE at the 2018 PACK EXPO International

As mentioned above, this will be the first time that INSITE will have its own exhibit at the PACK EXPO! While we’ve attended the event many times, we’re excited to see what the view is like from the other side of the table. Visitors can expect to see our E20T up and running for live demonstrations in our booth. This advanced, yet simple machine, is one of our most popular models. It combines our simplified SCARA opening and transfer sequence with an elegant active squaring feature to process up to 20 perfectly square cases per minute. We look forward to reconnecting with old acquaintances and forging new connections at this year’s event.

Nestlé Discovers Sugar-Reducing Scientific Breakthrough

Who doesn’t love a sweet treat at the end of the day? But with American obesity rates rising and continuous pressure from a new health-conscious generation breathing down the necks of the food industry, companies have been forced to evolve their traditional sweet offerings. Whereas in the past you could easily find Kinder Surprise Eggs and Dunkaroos in the checkout aisles to tempt weary shoppers, today you’re more likely to find healthier alternatives such as Kind bars or Unreal chocolate alternatives. And someday soon, you may even see the all-new Milkybar Wowsomes if you live in the UK.

Why this shift to healthier sweet alternatives, what is a Milkybar Wowsomes, and why should you care? We’re glad you asked. At INSITE, we always have our eyes peeled for industry-relevant news. Being a major player in the secondary packaging automation field with our case erectors and sealers, we know the impact that introducing a new product can have on a company. These new Milkybar Wowsomes are poised to make quite the impact on the larger food industry and are a signal to all that the tide is turning when it comes to the creation of snack foods and treats.

What is a Milkybar Wowsome?

Some have been referring to Nestlé’s latest invention as “designer sugar” or “cotton candy tech,”  but what exactly is all the hype about? While Nestlé has, in fact, released a new candy bar called the Milkybar Wowsome, the true star of the show is the bar’s unique sugar structure.

Nestlé first came up with their new sugar structure approach back in 2016, but the Milkybar Wowsome will be the first time that the 30%-sugar reducing method of production will be implemented in the company’s widely popular sweets. The team at Nestlé discovered that by creating an aerated, porous sugar that dissolves more rapidly in the mouth the product which contains that new variation of sugar would be able to have 30% less sugar than the standard candy bar.

While traditional sugar is made of crystals, Nestlé’s new aerated sugar is amorphous, meaning it has no defined shape, which allows it to dissolve in the mouth faster. It’s the same approach that is used to make cotton candy, thus the loving nickname of “cotton candy tech.”

Nestlé’s goal was to create a sweet that contained only natural ingredients and that would in turn appeal to health-conscious consumers. This new amorphous sugar has the potential to reduce sugar by up to 40% in Nestlé products. The new Milkybar Wowsome contains no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors, or flavorings, can be a good source of fiber, and is gluten-free.

How Nestlé Has Continued to Evolve

This latest advancement by Nestlé further demonstrates how the food industry is shifting to adapt to a new, more health-conscious market. To date, Nestlé has removed “more than 60 billion calories and 2.6 billion teaspoons of sugar from across our food and drink portfolio in the last three years.” stated Jas Scott de Martinville, Global Lead for Nestlé Confectionery Research and Development in a recent news release on the subject. And when it comes to what does Nestlé own, the list includes many popular names such as Wonka, Nerds, Dreyer’s, Laffy Taffy, and more.

The new Milkybar Wowsome will only be available in the UK, but we can expect to see the ripple effect of this breakthrough disturb the waters of the food industry all around the globe.

How Consumer Demand Has Changed the Confectionery and Greater Food Industries

Over the past 20 months, 17 CEOs from some of the largest food companies have stepped down, or been forced aside, and have made room for new thought leadership in one of the most impactful industries in our world; food. As retailers shift to make their brick and mortar locations revolve around the consumer, not the product as traditional thinking would suggest, big food companies have been forced to reevaluate how they grab the ever-wandering eye of their target demographics.

In 2017 we saw a significant rise in demand for plant-based food, with relatively new companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat experiencing enormous growth. But a demand for healthier alternatives for classic favorites isn’t limited solely to entré items like burgers. Today’s consumers, especially the younger Millennial demographic, seek products that offer transparency when it comes to their ingredients and impact on the world at large.  

This desire for more health-conscious products has prompted a wave of change within the larger food industry. Decades-old companies rooted in creating delicious, but not necessarily healthy foods, have become forced to adapt to the whims of today’s consumer. Which means that giants within each sector of the food industry, even companies as large as Nestlé, now need to dedicate time and resources to either modifying their current offerings to meet this new healthy demand or create entirely new offerings.

While Nestlé is the first to debut this extraordinary sugar-reducing breakthrough, we can expect to see many of its competitors rolling out their own versions of healthy alternatives in the coming months and years. This is one trend that appears to be here to stay.

Stay in the Know with INSITE

Nestlé is always on our radar; as well as P&G, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and every other titan within the consumer packaged goods industry. From new secondary packaging automation news to consumer packaged goods breakthroughs, you can count on INSITE to provide you with the industry news you need to stay sharp.

Potential Impacts of Unilever’s Move to Rotterdam

In years past, it would be nearly unheard of to see a company move its corporate headquarters. Towns big and small rose up around these vital buildings of commerce and companies invested heavily in their surrounding area to maintain their welcome in the destinations they chose to inhabit.

But within the last five years, we have seen a large number of huge enterprises not only contemplate moving their headquarters but actually follow through and relocate to new cities or even new countries. Apple has moved to Cupertino, California in their new iconic “spaceship building,” Amazon is vetting it’s 10 headquarters finalists, and Unilever has announced their move to Rotterdam.

Unilever is a prime example of a brand who shocked the world by announcing their plans to consolidate their corporate headquarters. All is not lost for London though; Unilever intends to base its beauty, personal-case, and home-care divisions in London even after the rest of the divisions move to Rotterdam.

As a leader in the secondary packaging automation and greater consumer packaged goods industries, INSITE has been following the unfolding story of Unilever’s move closely. Having provided many such corporations with the case erectors and case sealers they need to streamline their production, the potential of a new plant opening for one of the largest consumer goods manufacturer is of vast interest to us.

What Prompted Unilever’s Consolidation

Until 2018, Unilever was a dual-listed company as Unilever PLC and Unilever N.V., based in London, UK, and Rotterdam, Netherlands respectively. Unilever PLC maintains a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange as is a part of the FTSE 100 Index. Unilever N.V is likewise listed on the Euronext Amsterdam and is a part of the AEX index. And of course, Unilever is recognized as a lux on the Euro Stoxx 50 stock market index and as such identified as a supersector leader in the Eurozone.

Back in 2017, Unilever was able to fend off the single largest corporate bid ever made, but in doing so was forced to present investors with a comprehensive plan that would boost profits and reinvigorate the decades-old brand. As Britain’s third largest company, Unilever was understandably somewhat off-put by their perceived lack of support from the British government during this time. Unilever Chief Executive Paul Polman was quoted as saying in the weeks following off the failed takeover that Britain should “Do more to protect national champions.”

British unions have noted that Dutch companies appear to have stronger pull when it comes to fighting off unwanted takeovers, such as when Akzo Nobel was able to fend off a 26.3 billion euro bid from PGG Industries.

Being a company that relies heavily on sales through brick and mortar stores, a practice which is struggling to say the least in our modern digital-driven age, there’s no doubt that the prospect of consolidating in a location that would better support their long-term goals would be attractive.

And while Unilever Chairman Marijn Dekkers maintains that Brexit was not a motivating factor in their decision, citing that “The board takes a 30 to 50-year decision. We think both countries are highly attractive investment climates and we will continue to invest in both countries as a result of this,” one can’t help but speculate as to the correlation between the uncertainties posed by Brexit and Unilever’s sudden move out of London.

It should be noted that Unilever plans to maintain their location in London, but it will no longer be recognized as a headquarters and will now house only three of the company’s divisions. In theory, there should be no job loss due to this move from London, but residents of Rotterdam can expect to see potential employment opportunities in the coming months.

Why so Many Corporate Headquarters are Moving

Apple, Amazon, General Electric, McDonald’s, ADM; it seems like everyone is relocating their corporate headquarters of late. The question is why? According to some experts; one of the potential motivators behind this trend could be human resource needs.

In a world that is becoming more digitally-driven with every passing day, companies are needing to relocate to more attractive destinations to attract the talent they need to modernize their business. Take Young America for example. The direct-marketing firm called the town of Norwood Young America (previously just Young America) home and adopted its name as it’s own. For 42 years, the agency called Young America home and contributed mightily to the town’s development and prosperity. But in 2015, they shocked the world by announcing plans to not only move to downtown Minneapolis but also become known simply as YA.

The reason behind this move? Talent. The traditional marketing agency came to a point where they needed to attract high-level developers and designers in order to stay relevant in their industry, and they weren’t going to find that talent 40 miles outside of the city.

Many other corporations are facing the same challenges. They’re either running out of space in their current location, or they need to relocate to a destination that will draw the next generation of talent that they need to keep their business alive.

Keep Your Workforce Engaged with INSITE

At INSITE, we know all about appealing to a young, or transient workforce. We’ve created our case erectors and sealers to be easy to understand and use, saving you hours of training time.

Whether you’re staying in place or moving across the company, we have the machinery you need to keep your company moving forward. Make sure to stay tuned in to our blog to stay up to date with all of the latest CPG industry news.

Unilever Acquires a 75% Stake in Equilibra

2018 is shaping up to be a big year for multinational powerhouse, Unilever. Responsible for such brands as Axe, Clear, Dove, Hellmann’s, Lipton, and a multitude of others, the home and personal goods manufacturer has long held a place of prestige within the broader marketplace.

Being a seasoned player in the secondary packaging automation industry, we at INSITE pay close attention to the happenings of such large conglomerates that rely so heavily on secondary packaging automation. With over 2.5 billion consumers utilizing a Unilever product on any given day, the company understandably utilizes a secondary packaging system that includes state-of-the-art case erectors and sealers to distribute their wares to the global market. And with the addition of a 75% stake in Italian personal care and wellbeing business, Equilibra, Unilever will be dispensing more products than ever in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Unilever’s Shift Towards Beauty and Personal Care Products

In years past, Unilever’s Foods division had made up 30% of the company’s revenue. But, starting in 2011, we saw these numbers fall from 30% down to 23% in 2017, while surprisingly, their personal share segment grew from 33% to 38.5% within the same period. This shift in consumer demand is not one that is unique to Unilever.

The broader market is seeing increased performance in the personal care sector as younger demographics begin to invest in at-home personal care as opposed to more costly service-based offerings and as consumers seek more natural, and eco-friendly replacements to add to their existing daily routines.

On the whole, the personal care segment is projected to grow as much as 9.2% in the coming years, leading to a potential market volume of $67,982m by 2023. Already, the industry has seen a 4% compound annual growth rate, with all data pointing towards a continued upwards projection.

Within Unilever’s personal care sector, you’ll find skin, hair care, deodorant, and oral care divisions. In fact, 70% of the personal care division’s profits stem from the skin and hair care segments alone. As new products emerge through submarket growth, such as anti-aging, eco-friendly, men’s grooming, and multifunctional products, Unilever is actively adjusting its focus to narrow in on its ever-growing personal care sector. Their latest move? Acquiring Italian personal care and well-being company, Equilibra.

A Brief Equilibra Profile

Equilibra was founded in 1987 by Franco Bianco, who rooted the company in a natural personal care philosophy, leading to the creation of plant-based skin and hair care lines that revolve around aloe, argan, almond, and karité (more commonly referred to as shea butter) formulas. The company also holds a growing position within Italy’s nutritional supplement market.

In a press release published by Unilever, Fulvio Guarneri, General Manager Unilever Italy, had this to say of the new partnership: “Unilever has a successful track record of scaling partnerships with quintessential Italian brands on a national and European level. Unilever and Equilibra will leverage their complementary expertise to grow the Equilibra business, bringing sustainability, wellness and the Italian spirit to people in Italy and abroad.”

While many of the terms of the agreement were not made public, it was announced that Equilibra will continue to be run as a standalone business led by CEO Marco Bianco along with the Bianco Family and management team. Franco Bianco will additionally be staying involved through the new acquisition as Honorary Chairman. The Equilibra headquarters will be remaining in Turin for the foreseeable future.

Potential Ramifications of Unilever’s 75% Acquisition of Equilibra

While Equilibra stated that the company looks forward to helping Unilever grow within the “wellbeing space” both in Europe and beyond, what does this mean for Unilever? While Unilever brands already include many natural-inspired beauty and wellness products, the acquisition of a 75% stake in Equilibra will allow Unilever to further expand into the organic and natural personal care market, a sector that is expected to grow to $25 billion by 2025.

Many other companies have made a jump to providing their clientele with highly desirable beauty and wellness goods. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, for example, has worked to expand its proprietary program to reduce the number of potentially harmful substances used in its beauty products, as well as broaden their list of chemicals to be avoided. Target Corporation, likewise, has taken pains to reimagine their stores and promote all-natural beauty and wellness wares.

Through this 75% acquisition, Unilever stands to become a powerhouse in the beauty and wellness sector, more so then they are even now. With the addition of Equilibra to the Unilever name, the company is poised to further penetrate the skin and hair care segments by providing its customers with specially targeted products aimed at addressing the individual needs of its users. While the change will not be revolutionizing, it will cement Unilever’s growth in the natural, holistic beauty and wellness market.

Thanks to this acquisition, Unilever’s personal care EBITDA margin is projected to reach 24.4% by 2022. In 2018, initial numbers show us that personal care products will potentially account for up to 40% of Unilever’s revenue. Skin and hair care revenues alone have already grown by over a billion dollars in revenue, leading to the conclusion that by combining forces with Equilibra, Unilever will be able to see increased revenue across their personal care sectors as the new partnership yields the high-value products that consumers are hungry for. We predict that 2018 will be the year of exploration as the two brands find their way through this new partnership and 2019 will be the year that the combined efforts of these two brands will fully saturate the market, leading to increased revenue across Unilever’s personal care sector. Enough to finally edge out L’Oréal? Only time will tell.

Keep up with Consumer Packaged Goods Industry Trends with INSITE

When it comes to consumer packaged goods and secondary packaging automation, you can trust INSITE to keep you abridged of all the latest breaking news and advancements within the two industries. Backed by a half-century of success, we know a thing or two about the greater consumer packaged goods industry. And with our cutting-edge case erectors and sealers, we’re always on the front lines when it comes to industry innovation. From multinational conglomerate mergers to scientific breakthroughs, you’ll always be able to find unique packaging insights at INSITE.

Nothing “Shady” Here

(While it’s a bit outside our case erector and case sealer ‘sweet spot,’ this one spoke to us—so we’re sharing. Read on!)

Consumer Packaged Goods giant Unilever made some news last week when Chief Marketing Officer Keith Weed announced that the company won’t work with social media influencers who buy followers. He also promised Unilever’s brands would never resort to buying followers for themselves. With brands like Dove, Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Lipton, Suave, and Ultrex, Unilever is an enormous buyer of advertising and marketing across the globe.

Wood’s comments were part of a bigger indictment of social media as a whole (in particular Instagram, as the biggest platform for social marketing), decrying the shady practice of buying followers. Wood called on the advertising industry to join Unilever in an effort to “increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space” and “eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.”

The practice of buying followers has been elevated in the public conscience of late. In January the New York Times ran a big, multi-media story on the practice, and it’s been a big concern for brands focused on sincerity, honesty, and transparency. How do you create authentic relationships with your customers when you’re engaged (whether willfully, knowingly, or not) in the practice of buying fake followers? It can pose a very real challenge.

Another reason for this change is, frankly, financial. Getting a promotional tweet from an influencer with 100,000 followers could cost an advertiser an average of $2,000. Someone with 1,000,000 followers? That might be $20,000. But how many of those followers are people—that is, potential customers—and how many are mindless bots? The Times story highlighted one company, Devumi, that has sold 3.5 million automated accounts to a number of people who wanted more followers on Twitter, selling the same fake accounts over and over. All companies want to get their products in front of people—it’s why they have advertising and marketing budgets. But money—even a small amount of it—spent to put a product in front of a bot is 100% wasted.

In some ways this consumer-esque story feels awfully distant from INSITE’s industrial, business-to-business world. But look a little deeper and you’ll notice why this story resonates with us. Beyond building good equipment, one of our biggest goals as a company is to honor your time by removing (or at least reducing) the friction you encounter when you seek information about secondary packaging equipment, specifically case erectors or case sealers. And if we’re fortunate enough to have you choose one of our packaging machines we want the process of submitting an order, installing your machine, and operating it to feel—and be—quick, easy, comfortable and risk-free.

So how do we achieve this? The only way we know is to do it with integrity (what we sell is what we build), and with transparency (we share what we know). In practical terms that means that we build industry-leading case erectors and case sealers. It also means that outside of intellectual property or trade secrets, everything we can put on our website about our case erectors and case sealers, we have (or will, as we add more information and products). These are the things you do when your entire operating premise is based on Straight, Forward, Packaging Automation.

Not surprisingly, what we don’t do is ask Kim Kardashian to make promotional tweets or posts about regular slotted cases shooting through our case erector at a rate of 30 per minute. While there’s a tiny chance some of you might follow Kim K online, exactly none of you would be interested in her thoughts on case erectors or case sealers and how they might fit into their production lines. But more importantly, that’s just not how we want to work.

While we sell case erectors and case sealers, we’re most interested in building a business. Around you.

INSITE Partner Invests $1 Billion in the Connected Factory

Rockwell Automation is a Fortune 500 company based out of Milwaukee. It’s the world’s largest enterprise dedicated to industrial automation and information. The company is also a valued partner with INSITE since its controls (through Allen-Bradley) serve as the brains of our case erectors and case sealers. So when Rockwell Automation makes big moves, we pay attention.

This story from The Street is about the $1 billion equity investment Rockwell just made in PTC, a global software company that delivers a technology platform and solutions to help companies design, manufacture, operate, and service products for a smart, connected world.

The new partnership should help drive innovation and development in the smart factory segment. PTC brings experience and success in selling industrial connectivity software for factory automation; Rockwell brings its experience of having, as CEO Blake Moret put it, “lived on the plant floor for a long time.” As a merger of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), the fit is a natural one. “Together, we will offer the most comprehensive and flexible IoT offering in the industrial space,” says Moret. It only makes sense, as smart, connected appliances have spread from homes (thermostats, door locks, lights, sensors—you name it) to business to manufacturing and facilities engaged in packaging automation.

The Integration of the two organizations has already begun, according to PTC President and CEO Jim Heppelmann:

“The fit is quite nice,” he says, adding that it is hard to tell which product is which in demonstrations because “they’re so nicely integrated together.” Demos of the products working in tandem will take place at PTC’s LiveWorx conference in Boston next week.

Heppelmann says PTC, which already conducts a sizable amount of business in the aerospace and defense industry, sees IoT in the factory as a very big opportunity that they are hoping to capture with the new partnership. “Clearly, the aerospace and defense industry has factories full of big, expensive equipment,” he says. “Working with Rockwell Automation, we now have a lot of technology and a lot of expertise to try to get more value out of that equipment, avoid unplanned downtime and have more productive manufacturing processes.”

This movement if IoT technology into the factory is all part of what Heppelmann called “Perhaps the most substantial change in the manufacturing firm since the Second Industrial Revolution, more than a century ago,” in a 2015 article in Harvard Business Review.

For INSITE customers, it could have big implications. Case sealers and erectors that track how they are used, and anticipate repair needs while they’re still minor, rather than major (and line-stopping). And when repairs are needed, diagnostics can be completed remotely, so the service tech has the parts they need on hand when they arrive on site. These types of smart, connected machines would give us the ability to optimize equipment even more than we currently can, absorbing lessons from other industries and applications. With this type of technology, we could push software updates and improvements that drive customer value long after the packaging equipment is purchased.

While this isn’t the current state of play, this move by Rockwell Automation indicates that it may well be the future of manufacturing and consumer packaged goods. The good news is that INSITE’s case erecting and case sealing equipment is perfectly positioned to incorporate and leverage this kind of technology.

After all, we believe the future is indeed smart, connected, and most of all, bright.


At INSITE, case erectors and case sealers are our focus. Designing and manufacturing industry-leading packaging equipment is our primary job. But it’s only part of our job.

The other part requires that we make sure these simple, reliable case erectors and case sealers become synonymous with the INSITE brand over the long run—and vice versa.

So far, the INSITE brand has been represented by the following mark (with a few subtle variations):


Today, we’re adding a second mark that we’ll apply in specific circumstances. This is more logo than logotype, and where our normal logotype is horizontal, this gives us options for narrower, more square proportions.

With that, we are pleased to introduce our new INSITE icon:

It’s a small and somewhat trivial addition to our marketing repertoire. Nonetheless, it’s an incremental change that you’ll see from time to time as you review our website, our manuals, our sales information—anything that has to do with our case erectors and case sealers. (And as we noted above, designing and making that equipment to drive your line’s productivity is our focus, so almost everything we do will center around those case erectors and case sealers.)

Ideally, an icon is a simple image, shape or object that helps explain something in a simple way, summarizing an action, operation, concept, or idea. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here. We’re summarizing our brand with a visual mark.

Now when you check us out on LinkedIn or YouTube you’ll be greeted by this clean and simple mark. Designed to fill square or circular logo spaces that are prevalent on most social media sites today, our new icon translates the INSITE logo into shorthand.

But make no mistake, this abbreviated version represents all the good things we’re trying to build here: reliable case erectors and case sealers that benefit from elegantly applied technology and a fresh, straightforward market approach.


So you can trust your INSITE ownership experience above all others.

INSITE—Straight, Forward Packaging Automation (and icons).

Choosing a Case Erector? Here’s the First of Five Steps.

In this five-part series, we’ll walk you through the considerations you should make when evaluating or purchasing a case erector.

There are a few fundamental case erecting requirements to consider first. These are the requirements that only you can define. They are dictated by your downstream packaging processes and your company’s preferences.

Because the case erecting segment is made up of dozens of companies producing hundreds of case erector variations, these essential decisions are an important first step because they immediately narrow your scope and reduce the number of case erecting manufacturers you have to consider.

The essentials require you to ask:

Which case?

Which speed?

Which seal type?

Which duration?

We’ll take these one by one…

Which case?

Corrugated case materials, styles, and specifications are a sneaky-complicated and sometimes underappreciated part of packaging. That is, until they force you to shut down a line and spend resources you didn’t budget for troubleshooting a problem that could have been avoided with a bit more up-front information.

While we won’t get into the nitty-gritty of corrugated containerboard in this particular post, we will touch on three particular aspects that should impact your evaluation of a particular case erector or case erector manufacturer.

First, what case type are you running on your line? Almost all case erector manufacturers design their equipment to handle Regular Slotted Cases (RSCs). So if you run RSCs, you’ll have plenty of case erector brands to choose from. But if you run an FOL (Full-Overlap Slotted) or an HSC (Half-Slotted Container) or a more exotic case type, you’ll find that your choice of case forming manufacturers will dwindle quite quickly.

Second, what are the dimensions of your case or cases? Similar to case type, you’ll find that most manufacturers will operate in a fairly wide pocket defined by minimum and maximum dimensions for length (direction of travel), width (across machine) and depth (aka height). However, you’ll want to look more carefully at box forming machine models if your case dimensions begin approaching either end of that pocket.

The small end usually comes into focus when any of your three case dimensions dip below 6 or 7 inches. The large end of the pocket usually begins somewhere around 16 or 17 inches. Either way, if your case dimensions begin flirting with one end of the spectrum you’ll want to pay close attention to the case size range of each case erector you review.

Third, what type of corrugated quality are you using? While we could (and probably will) write several articles covering the quality of your case material, we won’t go into too much detail here. Instead, we’ll simply state the following: corrugated quality can, and will, impact your case erector’s performance.

With these facts firmly in mind, it behooves you to look closely at your containerboard’s specs, how well your containerboard manufacturer adheres to those specs, and what happens to those specs when the containerboard is subjected to your regional, local, and factory-driven environmental conditions. Then, after you’ve taken a closer look, you’ll want to line up an erector design that can handle what you’ll be using. Why? As an example, thin, flimsy or often crushed (not the technical terms) corrugated may open fine with an opposing cup design, but struggle to open or erect when using a pin and dome system. There are too many such examples to entertain here. Suffice it to say, you MUST evaluate the quality of your corrugated material and make sure your case former of choice is up to the task of erecting a case that’s made of your chosen corrugated material.

Which speed?

This is pretty straight-forward. Your case erector needs to match or exceed the pace of your downstream packaging operations. While it’s a simple question to ask, the answer to this question automatically rules certain case forming manufacturers in, and others out.

The reason for this can be boiled down into two simple observations:

1 – You can make a fast case erector run slower, but you can’t make a slow case erector run faster.

2 – Machine designs that enable fast case erecting speeds cost much more than case erectors designed to run at slower speeds. As a result, fast case erectors are usually overpriced for low- and mid-speed applications.

In general, the design and technology of a case erector required to run 5 cases per minute is quite different than one tasked with erecting 45 cases per minute. Higher speeds require more precise, robust designs and often utilize advanced design features or technology. So while case erector suppliers with fast machines can easily work down-market with their product portfolio, it is harder for erector manufacturers to take a slow, entry-level erector and ramp it up-market, to higher speeds.

Still, without dramatically changing the design or makeup of their machine, those high-speed erector manufacturers will often find it difficult to be price competitive at lower speeds. In other words, technology enables speed but you usually have to pay for it. (There is a caveat to this that we’ll discuss in the last installment of the series.)

So what does all of this have to do with buying a case erector? Put simply, zeroing in on speed forces you to zero in on a smaller pool of potential case erector vendors.

Which seal-type?

Seal-type does not narrow your field of erector manufacturers at all. Most case erector manufacturers sell both tape-seal erectors and some version of a glue-seal erector. While it’s true that seal-type is mostly a factory preference, there are some cost and operational considerations to be aware of.

In favor of tape

→ Glue erectors are often 20-30% more expensive than a similar speed tape erector. For a mid-range machine, this can mean ten to 20 thousand dollars.

→ Glue hoses and nozzles get clogged and require regular maintenance.

→ Glue overspray can be problematic. Sealing along the entire length of a flap often means accepting a certain amount of overspray. This can get messy.

In favor of glue

→ Most experts would argue that at least a portion of the premium you pay for a glue erector is offset by operational efficiencies that are not present in a tape-seal system.

→ Tape rolls run out of tape faster than glue tanks get emptied, so there’s an operational cost associated with having to tend to your line more frequently when tape runs out.

→ We’ve found that tape systems are heavily impacted by tape quality. You can buy cheap tape, but you’ll pay for it with extra line stoppages.

→ Tape systems are less reliable at fast speeds. This usually comes down to simple physics and chemistry. The faster you go, the more difficult it becomes for the taping sequence to keep up.

At the end of the day, choosing how your case erector will seal cases is just one more decision for you to make. There’s no clear right or wrong, only preference and what makes sense for your line.

Which duration?

Really, what we’re talking about here is asset life. How long do you want this investment to last in your operation? Much like the speed consideration, duration will weed out some case erector suppliers. However, in this case, it is a little easier to find yourself paying more than you should for a machine that appears to meet your asset life needs.

We’re not saying there’s a right or a wrong answer, here. There are perfectly reasonable arguments to be made for buying and owning an entry-level case erector with a short asset life. But you should be mindful of your preference and clear-headed in your assessment of asset life for each product and each case erector manufacturer.



Coming up next in this series: Step 2 – Think About Your Operators.



Corrugated 101: A First Step Toward Becoming a Pro

What the Pros know

Many of you are experienced pros in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry. You don’t have to think about cardboard boxes (or rather, corrugated cases): walls, flutes, slotted case types, trays, glued or self-locking, a Bliss Box—none of it is a mystery to you. You’re even casually conversant on the merits of bursting vs. edge crush testing.

If we’ve just described you, then you know how to order the proper cases so they run flawlessly through your case erector, case packer, and case sealer before being stacked cleanly on pallets, stretch wrapped, and shipped. Then you move on to the next item on your to-do list.

But you didn’t always know these things about CPG cases and containers. You had to learn them, and learning some of these nuances can be daunting. This post, and others like it, are going to look at the basics of cardboard boxes. And we really mean basics, starting with the most basic tidbit of all: this is not a cardboard box. It’s a “corrugated” box, and individual units are known as “cases.”

If you could use some Corrugated Packaging 101, this post is for you. Read on!

If you’re not a Pro

It’s time to make your customers happy—and, thank goodness, to earn some revenue after spending countless hours in R&D as you tested, refined, and tested again. You’ve finally settled on a product you’re happy with, and now you have to figure out how to get it to your customers. You want it to arrive in pristine condition, with maximum efficiency, at the lowest possible cost both to you and your environmental impact. So, you select a case. Easy, right? Not so fast.

Truth be told, there’s enough detail and differences with corrugated packaging that we can, and probably will, spend multiple posts on the subject. But first, let’s start with a few elementary facts.

Your basic corrugated material is made up of a number of layers of what amounts to very heavy paper. At least one layer is corrugated or “fluted” in waves, and attached to at least one layer of flat paper, called a liner. There you have it; with at least one layer of flutes and one liner, you have corrugated packaging material. Sometimes referred to as containerboard, this material comes in a wide variety of configurations.

The first consideration for corrugated case material has to do with the number and combination of flutes and liners. These are generally referred to as “wall thicknesses.” There are four common corrugated material thicknesses:

  • Single Face – one piece of fluted paper glued to one sheet of liner.
  • Single Wall – one piece of fluted paper glued between two liner sheets. (INSITE’s case formers and case sealers run primarily Single Wall material).
  • Double Wall – two pieces of fluted paper glued between three liner sheets, alternating sheet/flute/sheet/flute/sheet.
  • Triple Wall – three pieces of fluted paper glued between four liner sheets, in the same alternating pattern.

It’s easy enough to see that additional layers mean additional strength. It also, of course, means additional weight and additional cost.

Now that you get the types of walls and how different wall thickness can be achieved, let’s focus on the flutes themselves. The flutes are what really give the packaging strength to resist crushing and bursting as the cases are stacked and shipped. The flutes come in five different dimensions, identified by the letters A, B, C, E, and F. These letters do NOT indicate sizes (smaller to larger or anything rational like that) but rather the order in which the flutes were invented. The most common flute size is C.

Note: INSITE’s case erecting machines primarily run B and C fluted cases.

All this, and we’ve only touched on the very basics of corrugated packaging (number of layers and flute dimensions). Now that you have an idea of materials, what ‘type’ of case do you order?

The most common type of corrugated packaging is the Regular Slotted Case, commonly referred to as RSC. These are the cases that INSITE’s erectors and sealers process. An RSC comes from a single piece of corrugated fiberboard. Fold up the bottom flaps and seal them (an INSITE case erector can do this for you), drop in your consumer packaged goods, then seal the top (this is where an INSITE case sealer gets the job done) and ship.

Regular Slotted Cases (RSCs):


The image above and below depict a left-handed RSC case splayed out flat. You’ll note that in the bottom image we’ve colored and labeled each panel to depict how this particular case will load, and flow, when used with an INSITE case erector.

Since most case erector manufacturers require consistent case- and machine hand (ie, a Left-Handed RSC requires a Left-Handed case erector, and vice versa), the following graphic demonstrates how this left-handed RSC looks before, during and after the case forming process.

When it comes to forming and erecting corrugated material, a couple of other common case types include Bliss Boxes and Trays. For now, our case erectors and case sealers are not designed to handle these two types of cases.

Bliss & Rigid

A Bliss Box is a three piece container that incorporates a single piece of unbroken corrugated board (forming the top, the side panels and the bottom) along with two separate end panels. Since Bliss Boxes require six or more joints to be sealed, they are considered more rigid than standard RSCs. As a result, they are also known as Rigid Boxes.


Trays are a single piece of corrugated material designed to have an unbroken bottom with multiple layers of fiberboard incorporated into the end panels. Trays often don’t have covers. Because of the these characteristics, trays are not typically used as shipping containers, but rather as “inner” containers that provide rigidity and protection for heavy, sharp, or delicate products.

Boxing it up

These are just a few of the options when it comes to considering the type and style of corrugated material to use when shipping your products. Over the years there have been volumes of research and science dedicated to finding effective ways to protect and ship the products that you manufacture.

While we’ll undoubtedly touch on material considerations in future posts, you can be sure that your corrugated packaging provider will have whatever answers you seek when it comes to this deceptively complicated part of the CPG industry. Ultimately, they know their products, and can help you protect and transport yours. And now for the shameless plug for INSITE: whatever product you produce and whatever case you choose, INSITE will be happy to help you identify the right equipment to erect and seal your cases. After all, case erectors and case sealers are all we do!



It’s Official—INSITE Has Launched!

Press Release: http://bit.ly/INSITE_PackagingAutomation
Today, INSITE took the exciting step of launching its new standardized packaging equipment business focusing on a suite of innovative case erectors and case sealers. It marked this milestone with a press release aimed at thousands of industry experts, influencers, customers, associations and publications across North America and around the globe. The full text of the press release can be found at its source in the link above. If you have any questions about INSITE’s business or it’s case formers and case sealers, please visit our contact page and drop us a line. We’re here to help.

Alexandria, MN—We’re pleased to introduce INSITE Packaging Automation—a new brand focused on standardized secondary packaging equipment! INSITE is leveraging its rich heritage to combine smart technologies with simple designs, creating some of the most inspired new case erectors and case sealers on the market today. Consistent with its case forming and case sealing equipment, INSITE is approaching the market in a fresh and straightforward manner that seeks to eliminate or reduce friction at every step of the equipment buying and owning process. What’s more, INSITE’s top-of-the-line erectors and sealers are priced for top-of-the-line value.

INSITE is a fresh new brand, but it has a deep history in the packaging equipment industry. Launched by Douglas Machine Inc., INSITE strives to uphold and exceed Douglas’ half-century of credibility, reliability, performance and customer service—all dedicated to the secondary packaging equipment industry.

“This is an exciting new market for us.” says Douglas VP of Sales & Marketing Steve Lipps. “With this new business, we’re thrilled to have an opportunity to compete as a case sealer and case erector manufacturer; and we’re eager to apply INSITE’s unique approach to product design and market engagement. Big picture, it’s just a great opportunity to improve the overall ownership experience for consumer packaged goods manufacturers.”

We welcome you to INSITE Packaging Automation and our line of secondary packaging equipment that will be as simple, reliable and straightforward as your customer experience. www.insitepackaging.com. INSITE’s new case formers and case sealers can be found on our website and are available to purchase via insitepackaging.com/quote/.

About INSITE: INSITE launched from Douglas Machine Inc. to promote simplicity and clarity in standardized secondary packaging equipment. INSITE strives to deliver whatever CPG companies require to understand and capitalize on standardized packaging equipment. Our machines combine straightforward design with incredible functionality, allowing customers to gain productivity and efficiency on their packaging lines. To learn more about INSITE and its selection of high-quality case erectors and case sealers, please visit insitepackaging.com

About Douglas Machine: Douglas Machine Inc. is a leading supplier of paperboard, corrugated and shrink-film packaging solutions. Since 1964, this employee-owned manufacturer has been developing differentiated, high-end packaging automation equipment and services as it seeks to live out its mission of enriching lives. With over 600 employees and an installed base of over 9,000 machines, Douglas has left—and continues to leave—its mark on the industry, one reliable and innovative machine at a time. To gain a better understanding of Douglas and its packaging solutions, visit douglas-machine.com