Avoid the Summertime (Packaging) Blues
This past week brought rising temperatures here in Indiana as well as in many other parts of the United States. As summer makes its way across the country, there are some unique issues that can have an affect on packagers and production, as well as the equipment that handles production. From fairly obvious factors to those not always considered, we take a look at a few things to think about as the middle months approach in 2015.
Since most packaging processes take place within a building where packagers have some control over temperature and humidity, a rise in humidity will not often be an issue. Still, given that such a rise can lead to the formation of moisture or foster mold growth among other things, this is something that packagers will want to keep an eye on. The simple solution is climate control to ensure that moisture does not form on the machinery that could lead to excessive wear on components and parts and a thorough cleaning process after production runs to stop the negative effects of the higher humidity.
Similar to humidity, higher temperatures can require modification to packaging processes. Obviously a rise in temperature may cause equipment to overheat, thus extending the necessary time to complete production runs, which again makes climate control important. However, high temperatures can also affect the characteristics of certain products, such as viscosity. For example, if viscosity changes with temperature, even in a climate controlled production facility, certain settings may need to be modified on filling machines when the product is stored at a higher temperature or otherwise reaches the machine at a higher temperature. With recipe screens on most automatic fillers, packagers may find themselves saving seasonal settings for the same product!
3. Production Rates
As the cold weather ends, many in the United States come out of hibernation. Additionally, some packagers are working with seasonal products. For these and other reasons, for some production rates will increase in the warmer months. Even for packaging machinery manufactured to work 24/7, the extended production hours will provide a little more stress on the machine and a little more wear and tear on contact parts. To combat this issue, the packager should simply ensure that spare and wear parts are in the facility for quick replacement when necessary. This preventative step can save time on finding, ordering and shipping critical components that may lead to extended downtime.
Many people plan on taking a week or more off during the summer months, which can lead to a depleted workforce or less skilled workers operating a packaging line. Despite all of the best intentions, accidents do happen. Parts are broken, used incorrectly or not replaced in a timely manner, machines are not cleaned effectively or consistently or incorrect set up creates undue wear and tear. Again, ensuring that the packagers own shelf is stocked with spare and wear parts can help to correct these issues without suffering extensive downtime. However, when issues or questions arise, a quick call to LPS can also help to train or re-train an employee or ensure that the machine is set up correctly.
As you get ready for another summer of packaging in 2015, do not hesitate to give LPS a call to replenish spare parts, remind employees of operation, or just discuss upcoming or current packaging processes. The Parts & Service Department can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693 x 315...unless they happen to be on vacation. Just kidding, we got you covered!