One of the first thoughts to enter a packagers mind when discussing packaging machinery relates to speed. How many bottles per minute can that filling machine, capping machine, labeler or other piece of equipment produce? Will it be able to handle my daily, weekly or monthly output? But automatic and semi-automatic machinery offer more benefits than just added speed to a packaging process.
One large goal of packaging a product for any business is to make that product attractive to customers and potential customers. Appearance does matter. For instance, hand filling a beverage can result in inconsistent liquid levels from bottle to bottle, while the use of an overflow filler can ensure that each bottle reaches the same level, adding to the aesthetic value of the product when it reaches the shelf. The same is true of placing labels with logos or nutritional information in a consistent manner. Hand labeling can result in wrinkled labels or misplaced labels, while using a labeling machine can ensure each label is applied in the same manner.
Using packaging machinery can also make the process more reliable than using a hand packaging process. For example, whether the beginning of the production day or the end, the capping machine will seal bottles or other containers in the same manner, removing the risk of loose caps resulting in spilled product. Even if a capper did not speed up the process, using packaging machinery for such chores can reduce cross-threading, over-tightening, repetitive motion injuries and other issues that can result from manually tightening caps. Returning to the liquid filler, not all packagers will want to fill to a level. A number of product packagers are looking to reach a specific volume of product in each container. Equipment such as gravity fillers and piston fillers offer a reliable manner of reaching the same volume with each cycle, a task much more difficult when filling by hand.
Packaging equipment simply does not get tired after six hours of production. From fillers and cappers to conveyors, labelers and more, the equipment will perform at the same rate throughout the day. While manual labor may be necessary to provide bulk product, caps, labels and other components to the packaging line, the reduction of manual labor means fewer mistakes and less oversight. By constantly running the packaging process at the same rate of speed, packagers can better gauge daily production, lending to increased efficiency in the overall process.
As alluded to in the opening paragraph, speed can be important to a packager. Sometimes production demand simply exceeds what can be put out on a daily basis using a hand packaging process. Automation in the form of packaging equipment allows for greater speeds whether using semi-automatic or automatic machinery. While not every company may completely automate their system, as production grows machinery may replace hand packaging for the slowest processes until complete automation can be reached.
While not every packaging process will require packaging machinery, there are benefits above and beyond added speed. Equipment can range from simple handheld equipment that can add consistency and reliability to complete packaging lines that can increase output many times over when compared with hand packaging processes. The key for any business when choosing packaging equipment is to analyze the needs of the specific project to accomplish the specific goals, whether it be one or all of those laid out above.