Packaging Machinery and Floor Space
Choosing the correct packaging machinery for any project is a process with many different factors. From physical factors such as products, bottles and caps, to other concerns such as speed, demand and ability to upgrade. One factor that always plays a part but is often not discussed at length is the amount of space available for the machinery, often due to the obviousness of the need. From automatic to semi-automatic machinery, many different options exist to meet the challenge of limited production space.
Semi-automatic equipment uses an operator for every cycle that is run on a rinser, filler, capper or other machinery. While this machinery can be manufactured on a full-frame, smaller machines, including tabletop equipment, are often built specifically for packagers with a lack of space. Tabletop and stand-alone semi-automatic machinery allow most packagers to add not just speed, but also consistency and reliability, to their packaging processes. Custom semi-automatic equipment can offer portability, multi-process stations and more to meet the needs of the individual packager.
However, semi-automatic machinery will not meet the production demand of every packager. While semi-automatic equipment is manufactured with space in mind, engineering automatic machinery for limited space is more of a challenge. Most automatic lines will include power conveyor systems to move bottles or other containers from one machine to another. In addition, automatic machinery will often be moving thousands of pieces of product per day, meaning space for not just the equipment, but also for storage, packing, shipping and more. While small footprints can be used for automatic machines and even conveyor widths, there are obviously limits.
When space is an issue, some packagers may combine automatic and semi-automatic packaging equipment to meet demand and save space. For example, if filling or capping takes longer than any other packaging task, an automatic filling machine or capping machine may be combined with semi-automatic machinery to allow for product to be prepared in the space available. In addition, smaller footprint machines such as monoblocks may be used in certain circumstances to package in a smaller area. Monoblocks use a starwheel to index bottles from one point on the wheel to the next. Different stops on the starwheel will allow a bottle to be rinsed, filled, capped or otherwise prepared as necessary. This option removes the need for an extensive conveyor system to move product from one stand-alone machine to another.
While space is only one consideration in choosing the best packaging solution for any project, it is one that must always be taken into account. But limited space does not remove the possibility of automating a packaging process, but rather calls for unique solutions based on all of the factors of the project. For help in finding the right machinery for your own project, contact Liquid Packaging Solutions today.