Choosing the Right Packaging Equipment
From conveyors to fillers, cappers and more, each category of packaging machinery contains its own categories of equipment for different products. For example, different filling machines exist for different products based on factors such as viscosity, particulates, foam and many other considerations. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, packaging specialists are always available to consult with packagers to find the ideal machinery for each specific project.
While each project will have unique factors to consider, there are several that will usually play a part in any packaging machinery decision. Below are a few of the common factors considered when choosing packaging equipment.
Demand for a product will determine how much of a product will need to be produced over a specific period of time. The packaging machinery chosen for any project will need to be able to produce the desired amount of finished product. Just as packagers range in size, from those producing a few hundred products a month to those producing a few thousand a day, packaging machines can be built to handle a few hundred a month to thousands a day.
Rinsers, filling machines, cappers and more can be built to run both automatically and semi-automatically. Semi-automatic equipment will generally require operator interaction with the machine with each cycle run, meaning production speed will depend on how fast the operator can work. Automatic machinery requires much less operator interaction. In fact, with most machines, once the equipment is set up, the operator will only need to monitor the machine, allowing for much faster production speeds. Understanding how much product needs to be produced will help pinpoint the right type of equipment for a project.
Just like speed, packaging equipment comes in all shapes and sizes, and the space available for machinery will help determine the best equipment for any given project. Some semi-automatic packaging equipment requires no more space than a tabletop. This tabletop equipment can allow a packager to fill, cap or label products with very little production space.
On the other hand, a packager looking to produce high numbers of finished product each day will need more than a simple tabletop system to achieve their goals and meet demand. Automatic lines that rinse, fill, cap and further prepare product will require significantly more production space in most situations. Understanding both demand and space available further narrows the search for the ideal packaging system.
While some packagers may prepare one product in one package, more often than not packagers have multiple products, bottles, caps, labels or other components. Packagers must take into account the needs for each product, bottle or other component to find the equipment that will work the best for all of their combinations. For instance, a packager with both thick and thin products may be able to run the thin products on an overflow filler, but the thick products may not flow well enough for reliable fills on the same machine. In this case, a piston or pump filling machine may be a better solution to allow the packager to run all products on the same piece of equipment. The liquids being run will always affect the choice of filling machine, just as the closures being used will always help determine the ideal capping machine.
Finally, packagers should always consider how much growth they expect in the future, both short-term and long-term. While not an exact science, a packager with low production demand may not want to start with tabletop equipment if they expect rapid growth, as such equipment may be quickly overwhelmed by increased demand. While most equipment will be manufactured with room for growth, different machines have different limits. Keeping expected growth in mind when choosing the ideal packaging equipment helps the equipment not just get the job done, but also allows the packager to extend the useful life of the equipment.
While definitely not an exhaustive list of factors to consider when choosing packaging equipment, these are some of the most common issues to contemplate for the best result. Again, each packaging project will likely have unique considerations, and representatives at LPS are always available to walk through projects with packagers to ensure successful choices when acquiring packaging equipment.