Are Installation and Training For Automatic Packaging Lines a Necessity?
Whenever we enter discussions to design and manufacture an automatic line for a packaging project, Liquid Packaging Solutions Packaging Specialists will include line items for training and installation. While these items are usually listed as options, when it comes to automatic packaging systems, LPS highly recommends adding both of these services to the packaging project, with certain exceptions.
First, when we refer to installation and training, we are typically referring to fully automatic machines or systems that include several pieces of fully automatic equipment. Tabletop and other semi-automatic machinery will be labor driven with the use of finger or foot switches and simple hand knob or crank adjustments. If the operator of a semi-automatic machine struggles to understand the operation from reference to the user's manual, any difficulties can usually be corrected via a simple phone call. But even with semi-automatic equipment there are different levels of set up and operation depending on the actual machine designed and built for the packager. It is a rare case, however, when technicians from LPS must visit a site to set up and train on semi-automatic equipment.
While automatic packaging machinery designed by LPS is also built with ease of operation in mind, some training will usually help operators to maximize the efficiency of the equipment. From overflow fillers and spindle cappers to the conveyor systems that deliver containers to the machines, automatic equipment works in harmony with all of the other equipment on the line, meaning that set up is extremely important to ensure each machine functions properly. In addition, understanding the different settings, times and speeds of all of the equipment, and how they all interact, means training will help to keep the line moving smoothly as well as identify issues should they arise.
Automatic packaging systems, first and foremost, must sit level on the production floor. If a single machine is not level, it can hold up, or back up, the rest of the line! And in order to run with minimal operator assistance, automatic machinery must also be fine-tuned to ensure indexing times are set correctly so the correct number of bottles enter rinsers, fillers and other equipment. Cap delivery systems and tightening spindles can take a little bit of trial and error to capture consistent and reliable seals as well. Each machine has certain adjustments and settings to ensure the equipment gets the job done.
Most of the machines will use a centralized touchscreen interface or control panel to control the major functions of each piece of equipment. The training allows those that are going to be operating the equipment to understand the different adjustments that can be made, as well as when they would most likely be made. Training can also cover maintenance and troubleshooting, allowing operators to understand how to quickly, but safely, clear jams or spills as well as how to keep equipment clean at the end of the production day. Just like semi-automatic machines, fully automatic equipment will include an operator's manual, but we have found that the hands-on practice during installation and training sessions helps those running the machines to not only quickly grasp controls, but also better understand the controls as well, reducing downtime and saving production time in the future.
So while installation and training are provided as optional services, LPS has found that they are often a necessity to the efficient performance of the machinery, with the one exception being those who have used the equipment in the past, or are extremely familiar with operating packaging machines. To learn more about the machinery manufactured by LPS, as well as the services offered by the company, browse the LPS website or call the offices to speak with a Packaging Professional today.