Automating Packaging Tasks - Which One First?

While Liquid Packaging Solutions manufactures completely automatic packaging systems, from loading bottles through to accumulating containers that have been rinsed, filled and capped, not every company requires or desires full automation. Instead, most companies will experience growth from their startup date that will eventually move them toward automation. Packagers that automate one task at a time are actually a common occurrence across many industries. But how does a packager decide which task to automate first?

While there is no right answer for this, there are things to consider for each individual packager when deciding to automate only certain aspects of a packaging process. Assuming each stage is done by hand - rinsing, filling, capping and labeling bottles - one of the first questions most packagers ask is which machine would speed up the process the most. As an example, and to make it simple, assume two people were performing all of the tasks mentioned above. If rinsing and filling both take an hour for the two laborers but capping and labeling take closer to two hours each, a packager might first look to either automate the capping or the labeling to speed up the process.

However, a better question to ask would be which machine will provide the most benefit to the process as a whole. While speed will almost always be a major factor, packagers may also want to look at other factors as well. For instance, if filling takes only an hour, but product is being spilled, splashed or inconsistently filled, a filling machine can help not only with speed, but also by protecting product that might otherwise be lost and by providing consistent and reliable fills by volume.

Even in deciding between the capping machine and labeler, where close to the same amount of time will be saved, there are other factors to consider. Are caps consistently tight, or are they cross-threaded or loose as more and more time is spent hand capping the bottles? Can labels be applied consistently on bottles without wrinkles or would a labeling machine provide a more pleasing look to the product as it reaches the shelf? Are bottles being thoroughly rinsed or are contaminants being found in the product after packaging is complete? A thorough analysis of the packaging project at hand, including time saved, will help a packager make the best choice on which aspects of the process to automate at any given time, keeping in mind that over time a completely automated system can always be achieved, even if each task is automated at a different time.

Of course, those new to packaging machinery may not completely understand the benefits of each and every machine. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, Packaging Specialist will work with individual packagers to identify the best solution for any project, taking into consideration products, bottles, caps, labels, budget, product demand and any other factors for each unique project. Packaging Specialists can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM Central Time to discuss projects, explain machinery and answer questions. Simply give LPS a call at 219-393-3600 for more information on automation options.