A Case Erector vs An Automated Packaging System: What is the Difference?

October 24, 2023

If you work in packaging and distribution, then you may be familiar with case erectors. In warehouses, these machines automatically assemble and glue corrugated boxes so they are ready to be filled with products. At first glance, some automated packaging systems look quite similar to case erectors. However, they serve very different purposes.

So, how do you know which machine is right for your warehouse? Do you need both? In this blog, we will explain the key differences between these two types of systems, highlighting their functionalities and benefits, so you can decide which solution is right for your business.

When Should You Use A Case Erector?

Case erectors can be found in many warehouses. They are designed to automatically assemble corrugated stock boxes so that the boxes can be filled with products and shipped out. Flat boxes are fed into the machine where they are erected and sealed with hot glue. This eliminates the need for manual box assembly, saving time and labor.

You will most often find case erectors in high-volume packaging operations, where they are utilized for their speed and efficiency. They often exist as part of a packaging line, working in tandem with other machines like fillers, sealers, and labeling systems. The capabilities vary depending on the individual case erector, but many machines can accommodate various dimensions and styles of boxes.

Why Should You Use An Automated Packaging System?

Unlike case erectors, which assemble pre-existing stock boxes, automated packaging machines cut the right-sized box for each order from large sheets of corrugated fanfold. The primary advantage here is customization for each box – especially for companies shipping products of varying shapes and sizes. Some box-making machines can even cut, crease, erect, seal, and label boxes in seconds, eliminating the need for additional automated machine systems.

When an order comes in, the box-making machine will automatically make the right-sized box in seconds, reducing waste and often eliminating the need for void fillers. This reduces labor, saves time, cuts down on shipping costs, and increases efficiency in the warehouse. By utilizing fanfold, warehouses are also able to save on storage space that would typically be needed to stockpile pre-made boxes. And right-sizing boxes also reduces the carbon footprint of the business by cutting down on material usage and optimizing space on trucks, resulting in less trucks on the road.

What Are The Key Differences Between Case Erectors And Automated Packaging Systems?

Let’s break down the key differences between case erectors and automated, or On Demand Packaging, machines.


  • Case Erector: Automating the assembly of pre-existing boxes.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Creates right-sized boxes tailored to the dimensions of the products being shipped.


  • Case Erector: Ideal for high-volume operations, as it rapidly assembles pre-made boxes.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Rapidly produces right-sized boxes, offering efficiency through customization, speed, and cost savings.

Box Variety

  • Case Erector: Limited to the size and shape of pre-made stock boxes available.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Creates custom-sized boxes, providing flexibility for various product dimensions.

Material Usage

  • Case Erector: Uses pre-made boxes, potentially leading to excess packaging material.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Minimizes material waste by creating boxes that precisely fit the product.

Space Savings

  • Case Erector: Streamlines the box assembly process, saving space compared to manual assembly, but still requires storage for pre-made boxes.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Reduces the need for extensive box storage by producing boxes on-demand.


  • Case Erector: Relies on stock boxes, which are 40% oversized on average and take up 33% more space on trucks.
  • Automated Packaging Machine: Promotes sustainability by reducing waste, optimizing shipping, and minimizing excess packaging material.

Both case erectors and On Demand Packaging machines play valuable roles in the packaging industry, but they serve different purposes and offer unique advantages. Case erectors are able to quickly automate box assembly using pre-made stock boxes, reducing labor and increasing efficiency when paired with other automated machines.

On Demand Packaging machines are able to customize box creation, reducing waste, labor, and costs, and increasing efficiency. Some box-making machines can even erect, seal, and label boxes, or wrap the box around the products being shipped.

Ultimately, the choice between a case erector and an automated packaging machine depends on your specific packaging needs, production volume, and sustainability goals. Many businesses find value in integrating both solutions into their packaging processes to maximize efficiency, minimize waste, and cater to a wide range of product sizes and shapes.

To learn more about Packsize On Demand Packaging solutions or request an evaluation, contact our team today!

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