Package Choices and Packaging Machinery
One of the enjoyable tasks about starting up as a packager is the ability to get creative in the presentation of your product. From the bottle or container being used to the type of closure to the label that introduces the product to consumers, choosing the package goes a long way toward creating your own unique product. But new packagers, or veteran packagers that are introducing new products, need to be aware of how the chosen package and components will interact with new or existing packaging machinery.
Let's start with the actual package itself, be it a bottle or other container. From the power conveyor system to container cleaning and filling, the container itself can have an affect on the necessary packaging equipment. Using a wide range of container sizes or even a uniquely shaped container, can create issues for stabilizing and transferring containers on the conveyor system. Custom conveyor systems may require extra railing or other modifications to handle wide size ranges or unique bottles. In some cases, even the manner in which the bottles or containers are manufactured can play a part in the equipment that will be found on a packaging line as well. The manufacturing of some containers can leave behind dust or debris from the process of creation. If bottles arrive on the production floor with contaminants in the container from the manufacturing process, container cleaning equipment may be necessary on the packaging line. This is especially true for those that are packaging items that will be consumed, ingested or injected in some manner, such as foods, beverages and medicine.
In addition, a range of container sizes can mean modifications to container cleaning equipment, filling machines and capping equipment as well. When bottles range from very small to very large, there is a good possibility that change parts may be necessary to run the different containers. This in turn means more downtime for the line as a whole, which can affect total production each day and, for those running multiple products with multiple containers, the possibility of more clean up during a production day. Along the same lines, running different containers on the same line may also bring into play varying closure types. Though rare, some companies have utilized both screw on type closures and T-corks or other plugs, which can also lead to change parts or the necessity of two separate capping machines.
Finally, labels can be applied in many different formats. Wrap labels are popular for round containers, while application can also be made using front and back labels, panel type labels or even top and bottom labels. Different container shapes may require different label types, which can mean a custom labeling machine to handle multiple applications or, in rare cases, multiple machines. Once again, a range of sizes may also lead to a custom labeling machine to handle various label sizes.
The moral of the story here is to always make your machinery manufacturer aware of not just some, but all of the containers that will be run on your packaging line, and the earlier they are made aware the better. Doing so may save a packager both time and money, or avoid unexpected delays and costs by allowing the packager to select alternative packaging and components before production begins! For questions regarding your own containers, inserts, caps or labels, give LPS a call to talk to a Packaging Specialist.