Packaging Machinery to Plan for the Future
Almost every business that looks to the future hopes to see growth and expansion. Some may envision new territories, others more sales or additional products, with some hoping for some combination of all three. However, when packagers begin looking for equipment for a new project, they often focus on current needs, unintentionally overlooking potential future growth and how that might affect the machinery. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, many different pieces of packaging equipment are manufactured to allow for future growth, so extending machinery useful life and allowing equipment to grow with the company.
From rinsing to filling to bottle capping, LPS machines are manufactured to allow for upgrades whenever possible. This is true of both semi-automatic and automatic equipment, offering an advantage to packagers both large and small. For example, tabletop liquid fillers, with some exceptions, can usually be manufactured with one to six filling heads. For a start-up packager with local or regional sales, a two-head filling machine may easily meet production demands. However, if the product becomes popular and the reach expands, the packager can simply add up to four more fill heads to meet demand, generally tripling the output of the machine.
The same is true of automatic filling machines, which can start with two heads and in some cases add nozzles up to a total of sixteen heads, significantly increasing the possible output for the machine. In addition, semi-automatic machines, rinsers, fillers and cappers, can be built on the same frame as their automatic counterparts. So low and medium production facilities may start with semi-automatic equipment, but include the ability to upgrade those machines to automatic production at some point in the future!
For rinsing machines and bottle fillers, the upgrade from semi-automatic to automatic typically entails adding a PLC and operator interface along with an indexing system to allow bottles to move in and out of the rinse or fill area without cycle-by-cycle assistance from an operator. For capping equipment, the upgrade will often include the addition of an automatic cap delivery system, such as a bowl or elevator. The delivery system leaves the operator of the machine to simply replenish bulk caps in a hopper from time to time versus placing a cap on each individual bottle.
Of course, the ability to upgrade and the way that any packaging machine will be upgraded will depend in part on specific machine as it is built for the project at hand. In most cases, future growth can be built in to a packaging machine or packaging line as a whole. Every project should take such growth in to consideration before beginning the fabrication and manufacturing of machinery to ensure efficiency and longevity for the equipment.