of the crank of the case sealer’s side, the top tape head
conforms to the new specified height. And each time, the
machine ingests the new box quickly and smoothly.
“These don’t jam up,” says Younk, who explains that the
top head’s guidance keeps taller, skinnier boxes from tipping
over. When you have high-volume operations, a random
clog halting the flow would be most annoying to the person
who has to unclog it. Eight hours of manual labor anywhere
is tough enough, but it’s the little things like a clumsy machine
breaking up your rhythm that can
wipe that smile off your face.
Threading the tape into the
head takes a minute, Younk says,
though they earned additional
tape heads for using 3M tape,
which they keep at the ready for
So the change was noticed.
“The workers appreciated the
move,” the director says.
With so many jobs available out
there, job satisfaction becomes
paramount, and apparently this is
only a microcosm of the business’
attempt to create a positive environment. It has a stellar rating on
Glassdoor.com ( 4. 5 stars), where innovation and continuous
improvement are common themes.
The only negative one engineering intern offered was that
“you work with candy so if you eat a lot of it your stomach
And a company like this needs humans, because flex-
ibility and automation are at odds, having to sacrifice one
for the other.
“We can’t truly automate and be flexible,” Younk says.
A 7000a, he says can pay for itself in a year, though that’s
not the most important factor.
“Having people come back the next season, because they
enjoy their job, I would take that over ROI,” he says.
Last month at PACK EXPO, 3M, known worldwide for its
revolutionary Scotch tape, announced a new innovation for
packing, one that could not only increase opportunities at
co-packers, but also provide support to the ever-growing
Called the 3M-Matic Random Case Sealer 7000r High
Speed Pro, it looks nearly identical to the solution creative werks uses, with one major tweak. The upper head
has been automated, allowing various sized boxes to all
run down the same parade route without missing a beat,
provided they are all between 3. 25 and 27 in. in height
(an add-on increases that to 13 to 36 in.) Case length
is at least 7 in., and width can range from 7 top 26 in.
An optical sensor quickly relays box height via an on-
board PLC to the center arm, and the electro-pneumatic
height adjust system dips or lifts the AccuGlide 4 Taping
Head to meet and seal the roof of the next box. The width
of the rails securing sides of the box also adjusts for
added stability. The belt speed is 150 feet per minute.
Overall, the system can apply 3-in. tape to 28 boxes in
that frame. A previous version did 24 boxes at 100 feet
The rub is that quality must remain consistent for
each box that goes through, which for some, such for a
frenetic fulfillment center on the scale of Amazon, could
be a quantity in the tens of thousands. And the boxes
themselves keep getting more ornery.
“There’s a lot of pressure that gets put on a box,” says
Chad Klosterman, U.S. marketing manager for packaging
business and custom packaging solutions at 3M. “As
those highly recycled content boxes get weaker and
weaker, you can run into a problem with
crushing boxes as you’re trying to seal
Klosterman explains the AccuGlide 4
taping head’s “very soft touch” ensures
high throughput without damage to the
boxes, which immediately, or later in tran-
sit, could affect the contents of the box.
If you’re still getting by with those man-
ual tape dispensers, the kind you may
use at home before a house move, and
even then only sporadically, a $9,000+
automated case sealer shouldn’t be a
priority. But for medium to high-volume
packaging operations, the 7000r makes
sense for your people and production.
Some key industries include any that
have several sizes of boxes, including
electronics, pharmaceuticals, food and
beverage, and of course, ecommerce facilities. These
perpetual shippers are the real reason 3M thought to
automate their 3M-Matic to this level.
Ecommerce brought in $2.3 trillion in sales globally last
year, according to Statista, and in America accounts for
10% of all retail sales. That is expected to grow 15% a year.
“This becomes a major game changer for them and
can actually eliminate any type of constraint they have
in getting boxes out the door and shipping to their cus-
tomers,” Klosterman says.
The tape’s tight adherence to the box also keeps
potential thieves from pushing down on the top of the
box to fish out the contents.
The real value most manufacturers will achieve is
labor and overall productivity.
“When I saw the updated versions, they renewed my faith in 3M’s products, One of the great things about he 7000a, once we set it up, I’m good to go for
4 months with very little worry of downtime.”
– David Younk, Director of Manufacturing, creative werks
The 3M-Matic 7000r High Speed Pro tapes up boxes ranging from 3. 25 in. to 27 in. in height.