This includes all equipment that handles products after they have been packaged into their primary container (eg, handling boxes of juice after they have been filled and sealed … putting them into a larger box)
Cartoning machines are packaging systems which erect, close and/or erect, fill and close carton blanks or folded and side seam sealed cartons.
Cartons are one of the commonest forms of packaging. But while they almost all end up in a regular six-sided square or rectangular shape there are a number of different styles which are dictated by the filling and closing method. For example, some cartons are filled and closed via the end flaps; others are filled vertically and closed with a fold over ‘lid’. Other important differences include the means of securing the carton in its erected form. Some are glued using adhesive; others have pre-cut tabs and slots, or are pre-coated with a heat sensitive material. Some applications use window cartons – a carton with a pre-cut area behind which transparent film has been fixed to allow the contents to be viewed.
Cartoners which erect, fill and seal on one machine are sometimes called Carton Form, Fill, Seal machines.
Some cartoning machines and systems are patented like the Tetra Brik and “Combibloc” for liquids which can only be produced on those companies’ machines, while other patented designs like ‘crashlock’ cartons can be automatically erected on a wide range of machines.
Cartons are made from cartonboard which is a semi-flexible paper material 250µ to 1,000µ in thickness. They should not be confused with Cases which are made from rigid corrugated board and are larger, often containing a number of cartons for transit.
Cartons can come in the form of blanks, which are flat, pre-printed and cut to size and shape, with slots and tabs pre-cut if necessary. These are then folded or ‘erected’ to form the carton in the machine.
However the majority of cartons are delivered folded and side seam sealed to form what is sometime known as a skillet. On the cartoning machine these skillets are erected and then filled with product before the end flaps are folded and closed.
To add something extra to presentation, cartons come in a wide variety of shapes including hinged lids, triangular, hexagonal, octagonal, double-wall, frame-wall, wave-shaped cartons; and tapered trays.
At their simplest cartoners can be semi-automatic machines which close the flaps of manually erected and filled cartons at low speeds, but at their most sophisticated cartoners are fully automatic machines incorporating pick-and-place product loading or stacking devices, leaflet inserters and coding devices and run at several hundred cartons a minute.
Modern cartoners have benefited from the introduction of servo driven subassemblies, programmable logic controllers and even computers which allow the machines to be size changed automatically and synchronised using software rather than mechanical transmission components. However all these features come at extra cost and often a combination of old and new technology can achieve the desired performance.
Cartoning machines are used in all fast moving consumer goods sectors but especially food, pharmaceutical, toiletry, cosmetic, household products, and DIY and recorded media industries.
Cartoning machines are particularly important in the non-carbonated beverages industry but it is important to recognise that while the Combibloc carton is produced on a variant of a mandrel cartoning machine the apparently similar Tetra Brik cartons are produced on special vertical form fill and seal machines.

Carton Form Fill Seal Machines

Mandrel Carton Form Fill Seal Machine

A packaging machine which forms cartons from either magazine fed or reel fed carton blanks around one, or a number of mandrels before filling the cartons with a product and closing them in the machine. A variant of this type of machine is used to make “Combibloc” cartons.

Mandrel Bag-In-Box Machine

A packaging machine which forms a bag from a reel of flexible material on a mandrel around which a carton blank is formed to produce a bag-in-box package. This is then filled with the product before first the bag and then the carton is closed. This type of machine is used to make the classic loose tea carton.

Top Load Carton Form Fill Seal Machine

A cartoning machine in which a carton blank is partly formed into an open top carton before being loaded vertically with a product. After loading the carton is fully formed and sealed within the machine. These machines are used to form retail ready packs of products like confectionery.

Wraparound Sleeving Machine

A packaging machine which wraps a cartonboard sleeve blank around a product or group of products and securing it by engaging pre-cut tabs and slots or with adhesive. These machines are used extensively for packing ready meals and yoghurt pots.
This information has been sourced from the PPMA website