Ranpak has consolidated itself as one of the world’s leading sustainable packaging companies. Its wide range of 100% recyclable packaging materials and automated packaging solutions has earned them considerable success globally.
Now, the company is taking one step further, announcing the global launch of the Cut’it!™ EVO, an in-line packaging machine that promises to transform end-of-line packaging, offering at least a 25% reduction in outgoing box dimensions. Thus, saving storage and shipping costs for companies all over the world and, at the same time, turning packaging into a more sustainable industry.
That’s why we decided to talk to Paul Spronken, Product Manager of Automation at Ranpak, to explain what the Cut’it! EVO exactly is.
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What is the Cut’it! EVO?
“The Cut’it! EVO is part of the end-of-line packaging solution that Ranpak offers. It is an automated and sustainable packaging solution that is also easy to use and implement. First, you can automatically erect a box with a box-erecting machine, our Form’it! machine, for example. Then the box will be sent to a picking area where the goods (and, if needed, cushioning material) are added to the box. Hereafter, the box with the goods arrives at our height reduction and box-closing machine, the Cut’it! EVO, which automatically reduces box heights by scanning the highest point of filling, cutting the corners of the box, folding the created flaps, and glueing a lid on the box,” says Paul.
“The Cut’it! EVO optimises the size of the box to match the size of the products inside. On average, the Cut’it! EVO provides at least a 25% volumetric efficiency in each packaging.”
What’s Cut’it! EVO’s main competitive advantage?
“The main competitive advantage is the fact that we offer an automated box-closing solution with integrated height
reduction to perfectly fit the product. By combining automation with height reduction, we increase productivity while reducing the need for labour. At the same time, we reduce shipping volume and improve sustainability for the environment.”
But the machine also offers a lot of other things that are not normally present in an end-of-line packaging solution, right?
“Yes. The Cut’it! EVO machine provides KPI data reporting, remote assistance, (online) support, and a video camera system, among other perks. This information is incredibly valuable at the end of the line of any packaging operation because the end of the packaging process is vital: a bottleneck there can quickly escalate and seriously harm the ability to deliver on-time. It is more than just a packaging machine; it is a system that provides you with information about your packaging logistics and is aimed at providing efficiency.”
How much is this efficiency we talk about?
“The Cut’it! EVO offers a solution that can substitute up to 10+ human packers per line. This means that, during peak periods, companies can count on Cut’it! EVO’s efficiency and don’t need to hire a lot of additional warehouse staff, which precisely because of the peak periods is scarce and expensive. Therefore, having a Cut’it! EVO in your end of-line has a guarantee of possessing a flexible capability in case of peak seasons.
Additionally, switching from crash-lock boxes to regular boxes can save about 25% on corrugated costs. Our integrated height reduction saves 25% of the truck space required, significantly reducing delivery costs due to the volumetric reduction in height. Which, in turn, results in less CO2 emissions. Also, keep in mind that this height reduction is an estimated percentage that indeed increases as the box gets bigger. This means that companies that, for example, work with furniture, will benefit even more from this. Another unique part of the Cut’it! EVO is that within a day, we can change the footprint at the request of the customer. So it is pretty future-proof,” Paul continues.
Launching the Cut’it! EVO has been a complex yet enlightening labour for Ranpak. Not only is the technology a state-of-the-art solution, but it also offers a level of efficiency never before seen in the packaging industry. So with a product this good, is it only normal to wonder, has it been easy to launch it globally?
Paul shares with us the key lessons learned by Ranpak during this international launch and offers us a deep insight into the ever-changing universe of e-commerce.
In light of the global launch of Cut’it! EVO, have you found that all markets are similar or not?
“All markets are different and, furthermore, have different levels of maturity. The need for automation with height reduction, for example, is different. Sustainability has been a very important topic in Europe, at least for the last ten years, while it is not necessarily the same situation in other regions.
In North America, for example, sustainability as a really important topic is quite new in that market. So we need to talk at a different level with them. All in all, we can say that packaging automation is a pretty relevant issue all over the world, but then the specifics of it are different in each region, and we need to adapt the product to the particular interest of each market,” Paul concludes.
We could then say that packing automation is the one thing that all markets have in common?
“Yes, and for many of our customers, packaging automation was a new thing. Due to the nature of modern e-commerce and its rapid growth, they were kind of forced into automation. Therefore, with the Cut’it! EVO launch, we learned that it is not just a matter of selling them an automated solution, a machine, but also helping them and enabling these customers to get the most out of Ranpak solutions. We need to empower them.”
How is this empowerment done?
“If you launch a product and you are truly committed to providing a solution to your customers, you need to offer training, guidelines, go-live support, and online resources for your customer to understand the maintenance aspects of the machine that you are selling them, and help them extract the maximum productivity of the solution.”
Now that you mention it, is the maintenance of the Cut’it! EVO too complex?
“Not at all. But that’s another learning we had. We have noticed that many times, the customers are not fully aware of the maintenance required for automation equipment in general. So alongside the launch, and as part of our empowerment program, we have added tools to help them learn when, how, and furthermore, why they should do the things they need to do in order to maintain peak performance and make the most out of their Cut’it! EVO.”
Have you noticed any trends that might prove interesting for the future of packing?
“For example, a trend we noticed recently is that customers invest more and more effort in the design of the box and corresponding lid. So our customers can print whatever they want on the inside or outside of the box, adding a visual element of their brand when the packages arrive at the customer. Also, a glued lid on a height-reduced box means stronger, tamper-proof, and easy-to-return packages. Custom lid design allows boxes to be easily opened and also reliably closed for better protection during returned shipments.
Finally, another discovery was that our customers need to change their mindset about the way they package. Because it is different from the way they plan the packaging process when a height reduction is an option. It’s a far more efficient way of packaging.”
If you had to choose one lesson from the Cut’it! EVO launch, which would it be?
“One of the biggest lessons we learned from the launch in Europe was that nowadays, the unboxing experience is fast becoming one of the most important parts of e-commerce.
Companies and customers value a high-quality unboxing experience because, in the e-commerce business, the box is many times the only physical contact point between the brand and the end consumer.
Thus, having a high degree of protection but also offering an easy and elegant way of opening—all while saving costs and creating more sustainable packaging—is really well received by the end consumer, and it represents a more cost-efficient solution for the brand. The Cut’it! EVO is a win-win innovation for the brand, the end consumer, and the environment,” Paul concludes. ••
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