There are many options when choosing an RSC case erector for your business. Investing in a reliable machine for your needs is paramount. Unfortunately there is much more to it then picking the correct size range and output speed. And with all those options, the water can become very murky. Quite often the business ends up with a machine which doesn’t tick all the boxes leaving everyone disappointed. With a bit of insider knowledge however, picking the right RSC case erector is actually straight forward. Consider the following:
Size and Speed
This should be obvious. However, quite often I see companies purchasing machines based only on current size and speed requirements. No allowances have been made for future product changes or production increases. So make sure you consider future requirements as much as possible.
Magazine Capacity and Design
Blank magazines are often a sore point in case erectors. They can cause a number of problems. For starters, a good machine will have a powered magazine to drive the blanks positively into the machine. So make sure your erector has that feature. Most case erector magazines also rely on plucking the blank through fingers and pin to opens up the case. This type of design can cause issues if the magazine has not been loaded neatly, or if poor quality blanks are used. Another issue with this type of design is that long and narrow cases are frequently opened up inverted. World class machines like the RML e025 Case Erector will not rely on fingers in the magazine to open up the case. Instead we lift the flat blank up over a shelf before placing it into the blank transfer drive.
RML e025 Case Erector with driven case blank magazine
Positive Opening of Cases
Most case erectors rely on a shoe horn method with fingers and pins and to open the cases. This design has significant limitations in that it cannot guarantee square cases. This method will also fail to open the case if there is even a slight over-glue on the manufactures joint. A worldclass case erector like the RML e025 will positively suck onto the major faces on both sides of the case to positively open them. This design is far superior and results in a far more reliable opening, even with poor quality blanks.
Tape vs Glue
Glue machines generally cost a little more, however that can be a good investment since they tend to be more reliable. Tape can break from time to time. Furthermore, a glue system can be replenished while the case erector is still running, whereas the tape version machine must be stopped in order to replenish a tape roll.
Often, customers require a fixed size erector only. If you are 100% sure you will only need one size RSC then this may be a good option. If you need an adjustable machine or want that option for the future, then make sure the machine you are sourcing can be adjusted fast, easily and reliably. If a changeover requires many tools and a thick manual you are probably on the wrong track. A good machine will not require any tools, and every adjustment point is precisely repeatable, typically with digital counter winders.
Inspect Before You Buy
It is astounding to me how many machines on the market look a million dollars in the brochure, yet when you look closely you can see quality issues everywhere. So do go and look at the actual machine, take the time to inspect the quality of the machine. It may even be worthwhile to talk to companies who purchased that particular brand and model and get their feedback. It will pay in the long run.
Australian and NZ machine standards are becoming much more stringent. For good reason too, there are far too many workplace accidents which could be prevented by machines built to the highest safety standards. Unfortunately many cheaper imports will cut corners when it comes to machine safety which can lead to injured staff, lost productivity and serious legal implications should something go wrong. So please make sure you invest in a machine which is built to the required safety standards.
Maintenance & Service
In most cases an RSC case erector is a fairly simple machine and issues can be minimised or completely eliminated by regular service intervals. Follow the machine manual and make sure the erector is kept in tip-top shape. A quality supplier will have a service team and offer these checkups. This is often a very good idea, we are all busy and service & maintenance is often forgotten. Another good idea is to keep a few spares on hand. Nothing worse then being in the middle of a production run and having to stop because of a leaking suction cup. In either case, do make sure the supplier of your machine has a service team and can attend to a breakdown should one occur.
I left this one for last. Unfortunately this is were most companies start. Above points get often forgotten. The outcome of a low cost investment is often many headaches and further costs later on. As with everything, you get what you pay for.