Retail giant Walmart Inc. and packaging specialist Packsize said Monday they have collaborated on a right-sized, on-demand box machine using technology designed for Walmart’s deployment.
The machine, called the Ultra5, has already been installed in the first of Walmart’s (NYSE: WMT) four next-generation fulfillment centers, Packsize said.
As is the case with Packsize’s legacy X5 machine, the Ultra5 can produce up to 600 boxes per hour. By right-sizing the boxes, the technology minimizes the costs and environmental impact of unneeded corrugated box material, Salt Lake City-based Packsize said. The box configuration also allows retailers to fit up to one-third more boxes on carrier trailers, which ultimately gets more orders to customers each day, according to Packsize.
The equipment and technology was demonstrated at the ProMat 2023 material handling and logistics show in Chicago.
“By working with Packsize to develop the Ultra5 machine, we created an innovative packaging solution that tailors each box to the items we are shipping to customers, eliminating unnecessary waste and improving the unboxing experience once the package arrives,” said Prathibha Rajashekhar, senior vice president, innovation and automation for Walmart U.S., in a statement.
The speed of the box’s throughput enables orders to be packaged, labeled and ready to ship in 30 minutes, Packsize said.
The Ultra5 also includes what PackSize calls a “Flaps Down” feature that allows boxes to flow through the packaging process by placing a paper band around the flaps to secure them to the sides of the box.
Another key benefit for Walmart is that it helps it do a better job of matching associates’ picking to the appropriate container and in a right-sized container, said Steve Larsen, Packsize’s vice president of research & development, solution design and customer success.
“There’s a few benefits that come with that,” Larsen told FreightWaves at ProMat. “One is you eliminate the discretion in what type of container is selected. The second is you achieve the benefits of right-sizing by picking to that discreet container that’s already been described.
“You’re eliminating the discretion that once drove a lot of the picking processes for Walmart. So for them, what we see is cost reductions both in freight and dunnage, but you also see the benefits of reduced labor. You get better throughput, better productivity from associates in the Walmart network.”
(Jack Daleo contributed to this story from Chicago).
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