How much for a box making machine?
December 7, 2017 1:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious about how much a machine that folds boxes all day long would cost. Details inside. If a back of the envelope cost estimate isn't possible, where could I get one?

We use a lot of 39x39x39 boxes at work. I'd love a machine that folded 30-50 an hour and can run at least 8 hours a day. The boxes come in collapsed stacks of 70. These are about 4 feet high.

Bonus features that would be good are the ability to punch in the partially perforated areas on all corners (so they make 90 degree angles inside the box, top and bottom)

And the abiliity to insert the 90 degree support struts would be good.

How much would creation, installation and yearly in-house maintenance be?

Would the price go down any if we got 25 or 50 machines?

posted by Jacen to Technology (3 answers total)
I have no idea about cost, and this may already be totally obvious to you, but: I worked once in a factory manning a box-making machine. My experience was that the machine couldn't function independently: there always had to be one person, sometimes too, manning it. Watching this box machine was my full-time (soul-destroyingly boring) job. My duties were to feed the box material in one end and take it out the other end. But more importantly, it would jam about once every 5 or 10 minutes and I would have to fix it.

It may be that this was an unusually horrible box machine (I certainly hated it, and this was 20 years ago) or that even with these things, you'll still save enough that it would be worth it. But if your thought is that it would enable you to eliminate the costs of employing someone to make boxes, you might not see as much savings as you think you will. It would probably still be an improvement, but it's not clear how much of one, and paying for that person is something you'll want to figure into your calculations.
posted by forza at 1:55 PM on December 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Bobst is one of the leaders in this field. They can give you the information you're asking for.
posted by JimN2TAW at 2:16 PM on December 7, 2017

We have a couple at our Distribution Center. I believe they are about $18K if I remember right. Amortized/depreciated over 5 years, the ROI is clear. I'm not sure what brand they are, but they can do well over 50/hour; I would guess at least 1000 in an 8 hour shift. You might have to redesign your boxes to be folder-compatible. I believe one person (each) feeds and clears the output away per each machine. I think they need a pneumatic air supply.

I work in supply chain but on a more macro level, so I'm only tangentially familiar with the DC operations.

If you pursue this path, I'd recommend talking to a material handling / industrial engineering consulting company or two. I'm sure you could negotiate a lower price buying many at once. You may be able to even lease them on a contract that includes maintenance. I doubt these would be "off the shelf", so don't be surprised if you have 6 to 8 month lead times on machinery.

You can find this type of equipment on alibaba (the Chinese knockoff version) to get some idea about costs/capability. This is not a recommendation to buy from alibaba, just the sellers there tend to be more transparent with capabilities and pricing without having to call a sales person so you can learn the market a bit more.

Also, it can be enlightening to search youtube for equipment needs like this. See videos of them in action, pull up a stop watch on your phone to time the operations for your financial model. You'll also then find brand names. (edit: this one looks far more expensive than the ones that we have)
posted by TomFoolery at 3:42 PM on December 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

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