Manufacturing Packaging Equipment and Lead Times
There are many questions that a packager should ask when looking for filling machines, capping machines and other equipment to prepare their products for the shelf. And one question that invariable arises, and rightfully so, is the lead time on the equipment in which the packager has an interest. While it would be nice to be able to say a specific machine takes a specific amount of time to build and deliver, it is not always that simple. Here are just a few of the factors that affect packaging machinery lead times.
First and foremost, the number of orders on the production floor at any given time will have an effect on the lead time for new orders! Along the same lines, the type of orders currently awaiting fabrication and assembly will have an effect. Like any business, LPS has limited resources, so that when an order is placed will help to determine how quickly the equipment can be manufactured. While LPS representatives can usually estimate the time that it will take to build a packaging machine or even an entire production line, it can be much harder to determine how busy the production floor will be in the future when it comes to estimating lead times.
PRODUCT, PACKAGES AND COMPONENTS
At Liquid Packaging Solutions, machinery is custom built to fit the needs of the specific project at hand. This means that each order will be built around the bottles, caps, labels, speeds and other factors of the specific business. Lead times may be affected by engineering and fabrication times where standard machinery must be altered or, in some cases, where completely custom packaging systems are the best option. In addition to the current production schedule, the lead time must take in to account the extra pre-fabrication and fabrication times in these situations.
SAMPLES AND FAT
In some, but not all cases, both bottle samples and an Factory Acceptance Tests (FATs) will be suggested, which could have some effect on lead time. When bottles are unusual in size, in shape or in some other manner, LPS will usually request samples before beginning production on certain machinery. This is simply to ensure that the machinery will effectively and efficiently rinse, fill, cap or otherwise prepare the bottle as expected. Start times, or progress on equipment can be delayed without samples in some cases, which negatively effects lead time.
Finally, an FAT allows the packager to see the equipment that will be placed on their production floor in action at LPS, running the product, bottles, caps and other components of the packagers project. LPS offers the FAT as a way to ensure the packaging equipment performs as the packager expected it to perform. By running the FAT at LPS, any changes or alterations can be quickly corrected before shipment, meaning that the equipment will be ready to put right in to production once it arrives at the packagers facility.
LPS tries to keep lead times to a minimum through a complete understanding of each and every project taken on, along with proper planning and communication with each packager that allows us to partner with them in their business. Taking in to account the items listed above and any unique considerations that may present themselves on individual projects, LPS will work with every packager to get the equipment up and running by the desired date!