Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
CMC Cartonwrap box packing machine [video] (youtube.com)
25 points by vinnyglennon 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

This appears not to be a machine made by Amazon, but rather a commercially available machine called CartonWrap 1000 made by an Italian firm named CMC Srl. According to news reports I found online, Amazon is piloting the machines in its warehouses, however. (Edit: I wrote this in reply to the original article title which described the machine as Amazon's.)

News report: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-amazon-com-automation-exc...

Product website: https://www.cmcmachinery.com/portfolio-item/ecommerce1-cmc-c...

The effect on waste should be interesting. I assume that everyone who has ordered a product online has had the experience of receiving that product in a box that was quite a bit larger; that happens because standard shipping processes use a limited and pre-determined set of cardboard box sizes. If you look on the box somewhere, you should see a label like "1A5" which is the box size. With past technology, you had to round up to the next largest box that fits the product, which sometimes leaves quite a bit of waste, both in cardboard and the packing material (plastic pillows) used to fill up large voids in the box. It looks like this machine can cut boxes exactly to the product dimensions, which will presumably save both on box and filler material to lower costs, and generate less waste.

My understanding is box sizes are sometimes selected for packing a container or truck so there are no gaps. Not saying we shouldn't reduce waste but cardboard is one of the most recycled products.

I once received 5 toothbrush heads from Amazon, package size where ~4 MBP's would fit (~2" by 15").

The problem was huge underlying package.

But they can never beat HP, which will send you a single ps2 mouse strapped to a pallet or a stack of software licence documents, each of which individually packed in a box. https://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/23/enormouse/

So to the manufacturing engineers around here, is this actually impressive? Because it's definitely impressive on the "this is a really cool machine" level but I was left with a nagging feeling that it wouldn't actually be all that useful.

The input seems to be single items that are regtangular-ish within a certain size and don't need any wrapping, padding, or air bags. This probably describes a lot of Amazon's products but for this use-case wouldn't a machine that wraps the item between two sheets of plastic on rolls be easier/cheaper?

Is this a stepping stone to the machine that can handle multiple/delicate/irregular items?

I would assume that air-bags and other padding isn't needed when the box fits this well on the products.

I'm not a manufacturing engineer, but I have watched a lot of How It's Made, the machine doesn't seem more impressive than any of the other plethora of automated manufacturing machines that were available then.

That's not to say it isn't a handy thing to have running, it looks like a crew of 4-6 persons with the right setup for folding and packing boxes could probably keep up with the machine as it is running in the video, so as all things in business it's gonna be a cost-benefit calculation that makes the decision.

This is a game of numbers. They have 500,000 employees attempting to unionize and at least 400,000,000 products. If all small, rectangular-ish objects are packed by these machines that could replace thousands of pesky humans.

How do us meatbags compete with this?

There's always going to be a human component to logistics. I wouldn't worry

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact