Automating Based on Need - Single Machines or Complete Packaging Systems
Bringing a new product to market is not the easiest process in the world. Sure, some products just take off, moving to a national stage almost immediately. But more often than not, building a new brand or starting a new product will take hard work just to earn local or regional shelf space, much less national or global recognition.
For new products, the packaging will often occur by hand. However, as the popularity of the product grows, hand packaging can become a strain on both time and money, as an always growing and/or working number of laborers will be needed to keep up with contracts. Eventually, for a growing business, a time will come when automation makes sense. At this time, the question becomes what to automate.
For some packagers, a national or global market may not be in their long-term plans. Local distillers, honey farmers, even some bottled water manufacturers, may not produce enough product to supply at a higher level, and may not have a desire to do so! For smaller packagers content to serve a smaller market, complete automation may never be a necessity. However, there are still a couple options that can assist in the packaging process! First, smaller packagers may opt for simple, tabletop packaging systems that can allow one or two operators to fill, cap, label or otherwise prepare product without the need for a large production space. As the name suggests, these machines can be set up on tabletops to consistently and reliably add product to bottles, seal bottles, apply labels and more.
Some other smaller packagers may find that one task takes more time than any of the others. For example, a business may find that bottles can be filled fairly quickly, but the task of applying the cap by hand is both tedious and time-consuming. These packagers may choose to automate only the capping process, allowing manual labor to fill containers and set them on a conveyor or track to be capped by a packaging machine. The same can be done for rinsing, filling or labeling as well!
For companies that expect growth and do have a goal of reaching a larger base of consumers, the above options still exist, but some alternatives are more likely to achieve the necessary goals for growth. Semi-automatic machinery, that will use an operator to fill, cap or otherwise prepare bottles, is available on the same packaging frame as that used to build automatic machinery. Building such equipment on the same frame allows a packager to upgrade to fully automatic equipment if it becomes necessary in the future. Just like with smaller packagers, those expecting long term growth may automate one machine at a time, choosing to use equipment for the task that chews up the most time running manually or semi-automatically. While some may choose to automate the entire packaging process from the beginning, building to a completely automatic line one piece at a time, over time, is almost as common.
Of course, not everyone can accurately predict the growth of a product or company, and plans can change! At Liquid Packaging Solutions, we work with the packager to not only build equipment for current needs, but to build equipment that will work as the company grows in the future as well. To discuss your own product or project with a Packaging Specialist, contact the LPS offices today.