Matching the Machinery to the Packaging Project

Matching the Machinery to the Packaging Project

Many times a packager will have a bottle and cap in mind before a product is even being produced.  While there is nothing wrong with this type of planning, the packager needs to understand that these choices will have consequences in the future.  

Without a doubt, unique packaging can help a product to stand out from competitors on the shelf or showroom.  Packagers must factor in, however, that such packaging can itself cost extra money, and the machinery used to run production may end up cutting into the bottom line a little more as well.  But money is not the only consideration, as we explain below.


If production demands are high, packaging machinery must reach high speeds to keep up with that demand.  Some unique bottle and cap combinations can mean a slower process when it comes to rinsing, filling labeling and capping.  Others may simply require more money (yes, back to that issue) to reach the desired speeds.  As a simple example, some odd shaped bottles cannot be easily and efficiently transferred down a power conveyor line.  Even with extra support, the speed of the line may be slowed by an awkward shape or size.


While many packaging machines can handle a wide range of bottles and/or caps, some unique packages can still fall outside of this range.  When running a variety of packages, sizes or even products, a packager should find out ahead of time if machinery exists that will handle all variations to avoid surprises when it comes time to run production.  While this issue is normally solved by providing the manufacturer of packaging machinery with same of product, containers and packages, the packager still needs to consider the future and what changes or additions the company may want to make.


Even where speeds can be achieved, unique containers and caps can mean many different change parts and extended downtime for switching out containers.  This can be especially frustrating where many short runs of different sizes or products are being processed.  For each container, operators of a packaging line may need to adjust guide rails, change out star wheels or screws, re-position fill heads, tweak capping machine settings and much more.  While all of this may be done even with a standard package, the time can be increased where unique packaging is being used.

None of this is meant to discourage unique package and cap choices.  The packagers relies on these choices to introduce his or her product to potential customers.  Instead, the packager should involve their machinery manufacturer in the process of choosing a container and cap.  Many unique designs exist that can avoid the potential pitfalls discussed above.