Packaging Machinery 101: 5 Terms You Should Know

Published September 25, 2019

No matter the topic of conversation, it’s easy to tell a subject matter expert from a novice. Experts possess an in-depth understanding of terminology, trade secrets, acronyms, and the latest industry news. Expertise helps any given brand set itself apart as an authority. This status ultimately encourages customers to work with you.

When was the last time you refreshed your knowledge of some essential terms in the automated packaging machinery industry? More than just knowing these terms, it’s vital to recognize their role in the automated machinery process. Let’s take a quick trip back to the basics and begin building your industry authority from the ground up.

Active Case Squaring

A vital part of any top-of-the-line case erector, active case squaring technology helps ensure consistently square cases, every time. At INSITE, our active case squaring design is simple, straightforward, and intelligent. Photo eyes ensure all cases are squared before they’re sealed. If a case is skewed, the independently driven side belts on our machines respond with a microburst of speed to adjust the case, making it square every time. To see INSITE’s active case squaring in action, check out this video

Benefits of Active Case Squaring 

Without active case squaring, square corners are not guaranteed—and you might wind up with inconsistent cases. This results in poor weight distribution and can lead to pallet collapse during packaging and shipping. Not only can this inefficiency severely impact the speed of your production process, but it can affect your budget and machine maintenance needs as well.

Case Hand and Machine Hand

Automated packaging machinery has dominant “hands” that help determine how a machine operates. Machines can be left hand oriented or right hand oriented. There is no right or wrong orientation; most producers choose machine hand dominance depending on their production line and product flow.

Hand dominance also comes into play when considering the erecting and sealing of your custom cases. Determining how the major panel is oriented when the case is in a knocked-down position, case hands are also either left or right hand oriented. This knowledge helps ensure cases will be correctly assembled before traveling down production and packaging lines.  

Dominant Hand 

Most case erector manufacturers require consistent case and machine hands (i.e., a left-handed RSC requires a left-handed case erector, and vice versa). Sticking with the same orientation seems like a no-brainer—but mistakes in equipment ordering and installation do happen. Without proper setup and orientation, you could wind up damaging your production processes.


Changeover is the process of switching from the production of one product or part number to another on a certain line or machine. Likewise, changeover time is the amount of time between the last good piece or product in the run just completed and the first good piece from the process after the changeover. While it’s not possible to eliminate changeover time entirely, it is possible to manage and reduce timelines. Start by making sure you’re familiar with the needs and general changeover times of your secondary packaging machinery.

Managing Changeover

Often, the more changeover points an automated packaging machine requires, the less efficient it is and the more expensive to operate and maintain it will be. By understanding your machines’ potential points of changeover and the time it takes for these changes to occur, you’ll be better able to manage the production process and anticipate points of delay or breakdown.


Smart use of robotics allows us to get rid of many of the parts and mechanisms in run-of-the-mill case erectors and replace them with a reliable SCARA robot. SCARA is a simple, smart robotics system with a wide range of capabilities. Designed to follow its own software-written path, the SCARA system offers a smart, simple solution for manufacturers struggling with their packaging equipment. At INSITE, we made this change and haven’t looked back, relying on a SCARA robot to meet our pick-and-pass needs.

The Importance of SCARA Systems

 A single SCARA robot offers a reliable alternative to more complex machinery. Implementing a SCARA robotics system can allow for the replacement of many other parts and mechanisms, simplifying your production line and saving you money in the long run.

Becoming an Industry Leader

Building a reputation as an industry leader in secondary packaging requires more than a deep understanding of the latest terminology. It takes innovation, brand collaboration, and a willingness to adapt to the industry as new trends emerge and consumer desires evolve. To meet these changes head on and make the most of them to help your business grow, you need superior machinery. 

Lead the Way With INSITE

No matter what your packaging needs may be,  INSITE is eager to help further establish your brand as an authority and leader within your industry. Through our streamlined machine design, unbeatable customer service, and commitment to packaging excellence, we’ll work together to highlight your expertise. Read more about becoming an expert in all things packaging automation here, or give us a call today. We’ll make sure you’re equipped with the best equipment for the job.

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