Should I Use Semi-Automatic or Automatic Packaging Machinery?

One recurring question heard from business owners that are just beginning to automate their packaging process is: which type of machinery is best for me, semi-automatic or automatic? While LPS representatives can guide and assist a packager in answering this question, the truth is that the packager is the only one with the information necessary to answer such a question!

To determine the best level of automation, LPS Packaging Specialists will walk through the product, packages, space, labels, budget, caps and other components of a project while also analyzing the demand and expected growth of the company, along with any other relevant factors. Generally speaking, semi-automatic and automatic machines are distinguished by the amount of interaction necessary to complete the task, such as rinsing, filling or capping. However, there are many different ways to manufacture any given machine as well as a number of different levels of automation, so that a full packaging line may actually combine machines or features of both automatic and semi-automatic equipment.

One big factor in determining the level of automation is the demand for the product. A company that needs to produce only a few hundred bottles or cases a month may not need a completely automatic packaging line. On the other hand, a company that is producing thousands of bottles a day may not want to hire the labor necessary to complete such a task with semi-automatic equipment. But the analysis also needs to incorporate a known or estimated growth for the company as well. That business that produces a few hundred bottles a month may know or expect they will get a contract in the near future that will multiply the demand by some large factor, moving them closer to the second business example mentioned above. In this case, the company may choose to add more automation than is initially needed so that the packaging equipment can grow with the company.

Semi-automatic equipment may consist of a simple tabletop system that allows a single person to fill, cap, label and otherwise prepare a few bottles each minute, but semi-automatic machines can also be built on full sized frames to allow for an upgrade to automatic operation in the future. So while semi-automatic versus automatic provides a clean way to differentiate between levels of automation, their exist many more than these to simple levels.

A few companies may benefit from a simple tabletop packaging system, while a few others will need the fully automated line right from the beginning. But a majority of packagers will fall somewhere in between these two extremes, possibly combining both semi-automatic and automatic. The analysis or guidance provided by LPS Packaging Specialists simply helps to identify not only the best equipment for the current project and demands, but also attempts to maximize the useful life of such equipment for each and every packager. For a more detailed explanation of the difference between semi-automatic and automatic equipment, as well as all of the available options, including custom packaging machinery, contact the LPS offices today.