Common Concerns for New Owners of Packaging Machinery

Creating a new product and starting a new venture can be an exciting time for a business owner. Streamlining the production process to increase efficiency when preparing that new product may not be the first task completed by the new business owner, but eventually it will become a necessity. For many new business owners unfamiliar with packaging machinery, the concerns in employing equipment will be nearly the same. Understanding the equipment and the benefits of packaging machinery can help quell these concerns and allow the owner to focus on other aspects of their new pursuit.

Technical Complexity

One of the most common concerns for new users of packaging machinery is the technical or mechanical ability necessary to ensure the equipment runs efficiently while reliably preparing products for the consumer. The controls for packaging equipment will differ depending on the type of machine and the level of automation. Semi-automatic and automatic equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions is engineered to be easy to use while also providing consistent rinsing, filling, capping or other packaging processes. Most semi-automatic machines simply require the placement of the container, cap or other component, followed by the activation of the task via foot or finger switch. Automatic packaging machines are normally equipped with a PLC and touchscreen operator interface that allow the machine to be set up in a single location for the bottles and components to be run. Conveyor guiderails, fill nozzle positions, gripper belts and other specific machine features may also need to be adjusted when changeover is necessary, but these modifications will be tool-less adjustments whenever possible. While running packaging equipment can be daunting for new packagers, the equipment is always built with set-up, adjustment and changeover in mind, making operation user-friendly and simple for almost any project.

Maintenance Requirements

To keep packaging machinery running smoothly and prevent costly downtime, regular maintenance is essential. But what type of maintenance should be performed? Again, the answer will depend on the equipment being used by each packager as well as the products being run and other factors. Liquid Packaging Solutions offers installation, training, technical support, parts and machine specific manuals where needed to ensure the packager has all of the information necessary to service equipment, covering both preventative maintenance and troubleshooting. Some filling machines may even be equipped with a Clean-In-Place (CIP) system to allow for quick cleaning of the liquid filler where multiple products are used or residue may cause damage to a machine. While maintenance is crucial to extend the life and maximize the efficiency of a packaging line, LPS equipment is manufactured to make the maintenance process as simple and as quick as possible to reduce downtime and increase production time.

Quality Assurance

Consistency is key when readying a product for the end user and one benefit of using packaging machinery is the ability to increase the consistency with which product is rinsed, filled, capped and otherwise prepared. For example, hand capping bottles can not only lead to loose or cross-threaded caps, but can result in repetitive motion injuries for those individuals tasked with capping product each day. Filling bottles by hand and trying to reach a certain volume in each container may require multiple quality checks. Packaging machinery is built to consistently fill and cap bottles, to the point that bottle one hundred will be packaged the same as bottle number one or bottle number one thousand. While some industries or packagers may still be required or desire to do quality checks, packaging machinery allows for consistent and reliable product preparation throughout the production day.

Future Expansion and Life of the Machinery

New businesses often start small and look for continued growth. Those new to packaging machinery often worry that the business will quickly outgrow the equipment. At LPS, whenever possible, packaging machinery is manufactured to grow with a company and their demand. The ability to grow can be achieved in a number of different ways on various machinery. A filling machine may be delivered with four fill heads to handle current production, but the machine can be designed to add up to twelve more fill heads in the future should demand grow. A spindle capper, or retorquer, can be built to allow labor to place caps on bottles but allow the machine to tighten those caps to the desired torque. At a later date, a cap delivery system can be added to allow for continuous capping without the need to place the closure. While all machines will have their limits, understanding current demand and potential growth can allow a packager to put in place a packaging system that will grow with the business.

Cost Considerations

Whether a new or veteran business owner, budget is always a concern. Packaging machinery can be built with varying automation, from simple machinery that performs on a tabletop to fully automated systems that rinse, fill and cap bottles at higher speeds as they move down a power conveyor. While a financial commitment, new business owners should always conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis to factor in the potential savings in labor, the increased production capacity and other benefits to weigh against or find their own budget.

While owning and using packaging machinery for the first time can seem daunting, addressing the above and other concerns can help mitigate risks and maximize the return on your investment. Specific packagers or projects may have additional questions or concerns as well, as each packaging project tends to have its own unique characteristics. LPS can act as your packaging resource before and after the purchase of packaging machinery by working through all concerns with you.