(June 22) FORT PIERCE, Fla. — R&L Manufacturing has been making carton erecting and tray forming machines for the citrus industry for more than 20 years.

“We’re very oriented around the citrus industry here in south Florida,” said Keith Styles, who has been the company’s production manager since 1989.

Styles said that, in addition to providing a full-line of standard corrugated boxes, R&L works with corrugated manufacturers such as Chicago-based Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. to make machines for customized containers.

“They may send us new boxes, and we’ll customize or retro-fit that box for our customers,” Styles said.

One of the newest packaging innovations that has really caught on in the citrus industry, Styles said, is Smurfit-Stone’s VPS-5 stackable box system. The VPS boxes feature triangulated corners to strengthen the boxes, a necessity in citrus shipping, Styles said.

Styles said the VPS boxes stand up to the rigors of shipping and other endurance tests as well.

“I’m more than 200 pounds, and I can stand on one,” he said. “It’s like a cinder block or something.”

R&L has sold three case erecting machines for the VPS system already this year, and DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, has already ordered two more.

In addition to working with Smurfit-Stone, Styles said R&L works with most of the other major corrugated packaging manufacturers as well.

Styles said through the years, corrugated seems to have remained the packaging of choice for the citrus industry.

Styles said there are more changes coming in terms of packaging for the citrus industry. R&L is looking at getting away from pre-printed cartons in order to save money.

“We’re looking at doing generic cartons and putting a label on them,” he said. “That could save as much as 25-cents per carton.”

In addition to case erecting machines, R&L also manufactures palletizing machines and ink jet printers as well. Styles said the company’s machines are sold both in the U.S. and abroad in countries such as Turkey and Brazil.

For more information, contact R&L Manufacturing at (772) 461-3786.