Packaging Solutions for Small Spaces
The number of liquid products on the market today is almost unimaginable, and not all of those products are prepared in big, open warehouses with unlimited amounts of space for preparing products for the shelf. Along with a number of other factors, space will always be a consideration when searching for the ideal packaging solution. From single machines to tabletop systems and even completely automatic systems, there are a number of designs that can make up for a lack of space.
For some packaging processes, a single component of the process may take more time than others. For instance, a large container, or even a smaller container that must be filled to a precise volume, might take excessive time. For others, hand capping or hand applying the label may be tedious and time-consuming. Where space is limited and an entire line simply will not fit, some packagers may automate a single part of the packaging process to save production time. In the first example, an automatic filler may be used to get a liquid into a bottle followed by an accumulating turntable or other method of gathering containers to hand apply the caps and labels. The process used will help to determine which aspect should be automated to make the packaging the most efficient. Even packagers with enough space may automate one machine at a time to free up cash until production demands a fully automatic line.
Tabletop Packaging Systems
Semi-automatic packaging lines can greatly increase the efficiency of preparing product without taking up lots of floor space. In fact, entire packaging systems can more or less sit on a tabletop! Tabletop packaging systems can allow packagers to rinse, fill, cap, label and otherwise package products with more efficiency and consistency than doing everything by hand. Though they will not reach the same speeds as fully automated lines, the machines almost always allow for an increase in production speed. For instance, tabletop filling machines may include up to six fill heads, allowing a single operator to fill six bottles each cycle. Operators will place the bottles, activate the fill (typically with a foot or finger switch) and remove the bottles after the cycle is complete. A process much quicker than hand filling each and every bottle.
Fully Automatic Lines
For those packagers who have limited space but are still looking for automation, there are a few tricks that can help save space. As an example, the design or layout of the line does not need to run in a straight line. Curved conveyors and transfer turntables can be used to allow a system to twist and turn and make the most of the space available. Rather than a straight line, a horseshoe or other shape can allow for the automatic system to fit in a smaller space. Of course, this solution will still require a fairly large space. Another solution that will work for a number of different products is an automatic monoblock system. This system uses a starwheel to allow containers to be filled, capped and otherwise packaged as the containers move from spot to spot on the starwheel itself. While this system may give up a little bit on production speed, the footprint is about the same as a single, inline automatic machine.
Regardless of the space available, Liquid Packaging Solutions will work with a packager to find the most efficient, reliable and consistent solution available. To discuss your own project with a Packaging Specialist, contact LPS today!