How to Select the Right Cartoner

Investing in a cartoner can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look for, or where and how to start the searching process. The desire to purchase a cartoning machine is typically driven by the desire to package your product more efficiently, improve ergonomics and improve the aesthetics of your package. At Douglas Machine, we suggest that you analyze your present process as well as your long-term goals for process improvement. The decision to automate your cartoning operation should be done with the objective to also minimize the material cost of the package. Justifying the cost of a cartoner is a one-time event. Reducing the cost of material will pay dividends over the long run.</p Whether you are seeking a semi-automatic carton sealer or a totally automated product handling and cartoning system, knowing your present costs and your return on investment goals can easily set the stage for creating a budget range that should prove economically feasible. You’ll want to be sure to also carefully consider your product characteristics, your organization’s capabilities in technical expertise, required machine speed, delivery, changeover time, parts availability and service capabilities. A robust design is needed to withstand the production environment. The machine must be flexible and customizable to meet your current and future packaging requirements. Supplier experience and reputation are also important factors. Ensure that your cartoner supplier can provide line integration knowledge and technical support throughout the life of the machine, not just from the point of contact through installation.

What is a Cartoner?

A cartoning machine or cartoner, is a packaging machine that opens cartons from a pre-glued side seamed blank.  It erects the cartons for manual or automatic product insertion and then closes and seals the carton with tuck or glue.

Types of Cartoners

A horizontal or end-load cartoner pulls a carton blank from the magazine, opens it into carton flights horizontally and fills it either manually or automatically. A single product (tray or bag for instance) or multiple products can be collated and loaded through the open end of the carton by pushing them in manually or using an automatic barrel cam loader. Once loaded, the end flaps are folded and tucked or glued, depending on the application. The finished carton is discharged to downstream operations. A vertical cartoner pulls a carton blank from the magazine and opens it into carton flights vertically. Single or multiple products can be collated and loaded through the open end of the carton manually or automatically. Once loaded, the end flaps are folded and tucked or glued, depending on the application. The finished carton is discharged to downstream operations.

Industries that Benefit From Cartoners

Douglas cartoners are specifically designed to our customers’ product. Some of the industries that we proudly serve include:
  • Frozen, chilled and dry goods food
  • Beverage
  • Craft Brew
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Household/Industrial
  • Paper & Textiles
  • Consumer & Industrial Durables
  • Personal Care

Cartoners from Douglas Machine Inc.

Featuring servo technology and adaptable platforms, Douglas delivers leading-edge cartoning solutions that result in greater throughput, less waste, and enhanced production efficiency for a wide variety of product types and sizes. Douglas cartoner offerings include:


Compact and cost-efficient design saves valuable production floor space and allows for generous accessibility to setup and load areas. Reduced and faster changeover points increase uptime to deliver maximum performance. The Vectra easily accommodates varied size ranges and pack patterns for frozen goods in bags or trays, chilled and dry goods food applications. With unmatched adaptability and exceptional efficiencies in a compact cartoner, the Vectra platform offers a continuous motion servo controlled cartoner capable of maximized performance in a variety of applications. The open design allows for generous accessibility to setup and load areas as well as providing easy and efficient access for cleaning.


Compact and economical low-to-mid speed intermittent motion cartoner is capable of producing both cartons and trays on a single machine. Douglas’ innovative Vantra IM is a compact, economical intermittent motion cartoner with the flexibility to setup, load and, close cartons and trays at speeds up to 55 per minute within a single platform. This versatile cartoner can be integrated with various in-feed options to gently handle cans, bottles, cartons, bags, flat-flow wrapped product and more, including applications requiring multiple manipulations. It is designed with a hygienic sheet metal frame and standoff bearing mounts to accommodate the customer’s specific washdown requirements.


Our Spectrum model is a mid-to-high speed multipacker available in mechanical and/or servo based platforms. It is capable of reaching speeds of up to 250 cartons per minute and is specifically designed for loading cans and/or bottles into 4-24 count cartons. The Spectrum is built tough for less downtime, high efficiencies, and low operating costs in the most demanding environments. The Spectrum uses electronic motion control to multipack soft drink, brewery, dairy or nutraceutical products.


The Apex offers high-speed, innovative sleeving solutions for wraparound, drop-through or neck-through sleeve configurations. Apex sleevers offer class-leading paperboard solutions for a wide range of products, sleeve styles and pack configurations. With speeds up to 300 sleeves per minute, easily adaptable product handling options, advanced servo technology and heavy gauge stainless steel construction, Douglas delivers a non-stop powerhouse of performance, versatility and reliability.

Douglas Service and Support

We work hard to ensure you receive a customer-driven experience from the first point of contact through the life of your machine. Douglas Technical Support provides unparalleled in-house and field technical support, available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Douglas’ Regional Technical Support program was established in 1998 to provide local and immediate support by strategically locating technical support technicians throughout the United States. These technicians have skills to provide support for emergency issues, routine maintenance, audits, training and courtesy visits. In every aspect of your relationship with us, our friendly and skilled employee owners are 100% committed to provide you with valuable and effective collaboration, innovative solutions, responsive support and more. Contact us today to discuss solutions for all of your cartoning application needs.

One Reply to “How to Select the Right Cartoner”

  1. High-performing packaging automation systems can help manufacturers
    Maximize productivity and efficiencies to remain competitive
    Improve packaging flexibility to accommodate larger product varieties and more diverse packaging sizes
    Meet the needs of an aging and evolving workforce. Thanks for sharing.

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