Everything you need to know about the Pile Turning Process

The ultimate guide to pile turning in printing and packaging

The pile turning process plays a crucial role in the packaging industry, ensuring the efficient handling and manipulation of various materials such as paper, cardboard, and sheets. By employing specialized equipment known as pile turners, this process facilitates the reorientation and alignment of piles, enabling smooth and seamless packaging operations.

Pile turning involves flipping a stack of materials to achieve specific objectives. One common goal is to ensure uniform moisture distribution, especially in paper-based products, which can be sensitive to humidity. By periodically turning the pile, the moisture content is evenly distributed, preventing issues like curling, warping, or buckling. Additionally, the pile turning process helps enhance the quality and appearance of packaged goods. It allows for precise alignment, ensuring that sheets or cardboard pieces are perfectly positioned before subsequent packaging steps. 

Toppy Packaging offers a range of stationary and mobile pile turners along with optional features that will help speed up production and obtain a superior final product. Our machines operate with different principles. Here is a step-by-step guide to the pile turning process with stationary and mobile models:

Pile turning process with Stationary Pile Turners

Our stationary machines are ideal for the packaging industry. They require a bit of space and can be installed at floor level or in a pit.

  1. Preparation: Begin by gathering the necessary equipment, including a pile turner machine, and ensuring it is in proper working condition. Ensure the area around the machine is clear and safe for operation.
  2. Load the pile: Carefully place the stack of materials, such as paper or cardboard, onto the pile turner’s platform by using a forklift truck.
  3. Secure the pile: Depending on the pile turner design, use clamps, straps, or other securing mechanisms to hold the stack in place, preventing any movement or displacement during the flipping process.
  4. Activate the pile turner: Power on the machine and engage the flipping mechanism. This can be done through mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic systems, depending on the specific type of pile turner being used.
  5. Flip the pile: Once the flipping mechanism is engaged, the pile turner will initiate the flipping process. It will invert the entire stack of materials, turning it over completely. The flipping speed and angle may vary based on the machine settings and requirements. 
  6. Release the pile: Once the pile has been flipped, disengage the securing mechanisms and carefully release the now inverted stack of materials from the pile turner’s platform.
  7. Realign or reorient the pile (optional): If necessary, adjust the alignment or orientation of the flipped pile to meet specific requirements. This step is crucial for processes like printing or die-cutting, where precise positioning is essential.
  8. Continue the packaging process: With the pile now flipped and properly aligned, proceed with the subsequent packaging operations, such as printing, cutting, or further stacking.


Different operating principles of our pile turners

The flipping of the load is the most important phase of the process. Toppy Packaging offers 3 stationary models with different operating principles.

  • Our Toppy Twister 1600 and Excel 2000 overturn the stack and bring it back to the original position
  • Our Master Toppy turns the pile vertically 90° and then a further 90°. The load comes out in the opposite side of the machine which means you will need more maneuvering space. Master Toppy is great when integrated into a  production line as the load  is automatically fed into the following machine in the line.

In Toppy Packaging we also offer optional features that can automatically align and center the load perfectly. When ordering a Pile Turner our team will help you select the most suitable option such as the  Automatic Centering System or the Air Jogger that allows to separate sheets and align the load as you can see in the videos below:


Pile Turning Process with Mobile Pile Turners

The pile turning process can also be performed using mobile pile turners that are mainly used in the printing industry. Our mobile machines offer flexibility and portability, allowing the flipping process to be performed at different locations within a production facility. The process is quick and efficient and will only take a few seconds. The load is lifted by the operator from the control panel and twisted manually with high levels of safety.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on the pile turning process with Mobile Pile Turners:

  1. Position the mobile pile turner: Move the mobile pile turner to the desired location where the pile turning will take place. Ensure there is enough space for the machine to operate safely.
  2. Prepare the pile: Gather the stack of materials, such as paper or cardboard, that needs to be flipped. Ensure the pile is properly aligned and evenly distributed.
  3. Load the pile onto the mobile pile turner: Carefully place the stack of materials onto the platform of the mobile pile turner. Ensure the pile is centered and balanced on the platform to avoid any instability during the flipping process.
  4. Secure the pile: Use clamps to hold the pile in place and prevent any movement or shifting.
  5. Activate the mobile pile turner: Power on the machine and engage the flipping mechanism. Mobile pile turners may use hydraulic, mechanical, or pneumatic systems to initiate the flipping process.
  6. Flip the pile: Once the load is lifted into position, the operator will manually twist the load and use the control panel to lower the pallet back to the ground.


Manual twisting of the load by the operator
The operator lifts and lowers the load from the control panel

7. Release the pile: Once the pile has been flipped, disengage the securing mechanisms and carefully remove the now inverted stack of materials from the mobile pile turner’s platform.

8. Realign or reorient the pile (if necessary): Depending on the requirements of the packaging or printing process, you may need to adjust the alignment or orientation of the flipped pile. Ensure it is properly aligned before proceeding with further packaging operations.


The pile turning process benefits companies in many different industries and allows for high productivity and safety.

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