In northern Illinois, contract manufacturer creative werks’ busy season is coming to an end. The co- packer has wrapped up production on a full range
of confectionary consumables for the holidays—candy
canes, form-filled pouches full of goodies, and holiday
tins. For this holiday run, the company’s three facilities
were operating 78 production lines staffed up to 30 workers on each. Some ran all three shifts, six days a week.
Depending on the month, they could be loading up 5,000
to 10,000 pallets a week.
It’s a lot of manual labor filling
these boxes, and David Younk—
creative werks’ directory of man-
ufacturing—has one goal for each
worker under his purview: “If they
come in with a smile, I want them to
leave with a smile,” he says. “I want
them to want to come back to work.
There’s some intensive labor. If I
can make their jobs easier, that’s
one of the things I look for.”
At one point, this wasn’t that
easy, as Younk can remember
a time when creative werks was
small and packers relied on man-
ual tape dispensers—beastly little
tools with sharp teeth that required
extra elbow grease. Younk says
their current solution, the 3M-Matic
Adjustable Case Sealer 7000a
Pro, which they use to tape up the
end-loader boxes at the end of the
packaging process, helps ensure
that the work load is manageable.
The machine consists of a con-
veyor table with belt-driven tape
heads overhead and below the cases passing through,
seamlessly securing each package top and bottom al-
most instantaneously. According to manufacturer 3M,
the maximum throughput is 40 boxes a minute; Younk
says creative werks’ nine 3M-Matic machines average
15 to 20 boxes a minute.
They had an older model of the 3M-Matic—a line of case
sealers that turns 50 next year—but shifted to another
brand until a few years ago. The 7000a Pro came out in
2014 and that brought Younk back to the 3M.
“When I saw the updated versions, they renewed my
faith in 3M’s products,” Younk says. “One of the great
things about the 7000a, once we set it up, I’m good to go
for 4 months with very little worry of downtime.”
For a co-packer that can change their lines for new
SKU’s every couple of days, downtime isn’t really an op-
tion. And flexibility is a priority, as the box sizes that can
range from 12 x 12 x 18 in. to 8 x 8 x 8 in. With a twist
The 3M-Matic Random Case Sealer has a very specific agenda: increase throughput and make
workers’ jobs easier. And for ecommerce, it could be a game changer.
By John Hitch
3M Solves the Random Boxing Dilemma
The 3M-Matic Random Case Sealer 7000r High Speed Pro adjusts automatically to
various sized boxes and can tape the top and bottom of up to 28 boxes a minute.