How to Increase Production Without Buying New Equipment
One recurring concern from companies that contact Liquid Packaging Solutions relates to the useful life of packaging machinery. This is a legitimate concern in that no company wants to purchase packaging equipment that will need to be replaced should production demand double in a three or six month period. The solution is to produce equipment that can be modified, upgraded or that can expand to grow with demand.
This question comes most often from packagers looking for semi-automatic equipment. From filling machines to bottle cappers and container cleaning equipment, semi-automatic packaging machinery relies on an operator to place and remove containers as well as start the fill, cap or rinse for each cycle. For this reason, semi-automatic equipment has a very real maximum output based on how quickly an operator can perform the task. There are, however, several solutions that can help to increase output or upgrade equipment.
For a small boost to production, packagers can look to their own line layout. An efficient set up of equipment can often save both time and energy even when using a semi-automatic system. Minimizing the travel time from one packaging machine or function to another can mean seconds saved on each cycle, which can translate to minutes or hours over the production day. The addition of slide tracks or a conveyor system can also increase the efficiency with which bottles move from one station to another, while keeping the operator busy filling, capping or labeling without taking time out, or at least taking less time out, for transportation.
Just like the line layout is an engineering solution, the design of the machinery can also produce an engineering solution that allows the machinery to grow with the company. Semi-automatic equipment can be built on the same framework as the automatic machinery. This engineering design allows companies to save money at start up while relying on manual labor. However, once production rises to the level that manual labor cannot keep up, the machines can be modified to operate automatically. The modification will include the addition of a power conveyor system, indexing systems, cap delivery systems, as well as PLC's with machine centralized touchsceen set up and operation. This type of design is used to allay the concerns of packagers when it comes to the useful life of machinery by ensuring the capacity is sufficient to handle much larger production demands than a company may have to start.
Of course, there are many simple ways to increase production on single machines as well, such as adding additional heads to a liquid filler to increase the number of bottles filled each cycle. The key to ensuring companies do not quickly outgrow their equipment is understanding the expectations of the company both now and in the future, and then designing a system that will fit both sets of needs. To discuss your own business plan with a Packaging Specialist, simply contact the LPS offices toll free at 1-888-393-3693.