Determining Necessary Speeds for Packaging Machinery
For those new to the packaging industry, or just planning for a future entry into the industry, it can be difficult to determine what type of automation is necessary for at least two different reasons. First, a new packager with a new product simply may not know exactly what the demand will be for that new product. Second, for packagers new or seasoned, the future growth in the demand for a product or products can always be tough to gauge.
Once production demand and the amount produced on a daily, monthly or yearly basis is determined, then figuring out the automation level necessary is more or less a mathematical equation. For example, if a packager needs to produce 10,000 bottles in an eight-hour day, this number would be reduced to determine bottles per minute necessary for the machinery to prepare. 10,000 bottles in eight hours (10,000 divided by 8) would equal 1,250 bottles per hour, which can then be divided the 60 minutes in each hour to reach a target of right around 20 bottles per minute.
As noted above, however, the actual demand for a product, especially a new product, may not always be easily determined. More often than not, a packager will estimate the demand based on current contracts, shelf space or reach. For this reason, the producer of the product may determine that the demand will require packaging 20 bottles per minute, but the equipment may be manufactured to handle more than this number, to allow for growth as well as underestimated demand.
So imagine our packager is expecting to need to produce 20 bottles per minute to fill consumer demand. The equipment eventually put in place for this packager may be able to run 30 to 40 bottles per minute, which will allow new contracts and unexpected demand, up to a point. But what if the company, as most companies strive to do, grows in the future?
As noted, the equipment as built can handle more than what was expected. But many packaging machines, both semi-automatic and automatic, also allow upgrades, in the form of additional rinse heads, additional fill heads and other components. This ability to upgrade extends the useful life of packaging equipment by allowing the machinery to grow with the company. In some cases, semi-automatic machinery can be manufactured on the same frame as automatic equipment, allowing a packager to upgrade from semi-automatic production to automatic when such growth occurs.
Understanding the starting point for production and the desired growth for the company will always help to determine the necessary level of automation as well as the expected level of automation in the future. This information allows Liquid Packaging Solutions to not only build machinery that will work efficiently for the packager, but will also allow the packager to modify, upgrade and expand the equipment to allow for a long-term solution for packaging product.