Start-Up Packaging Lines Can Be Whatever You Want Them To Be
For those even somewhat familiar with the packaging industry, the term start-up packaging line is likely to bring to mind simple packaging systems, such as tabletop equipment that may include liquid fillers, capping machines and labelers. In truth, we use this term at LPS to refer to tabletop and semi-automatic equipment, and in many cases, packagers who are just starting to prepare and sell their products will use such equipment. But in reality, a start-up packaging line can be whatever the packager wants and needs. Based on current demands and expected future demands, products, containers, budget and many other factors, a start-up packaging system can take many different forms!
Tabletop Liquid Packaging Systems
More often than not, start-up companies will begin their business lives by serving a local or regional area in an attempt to build brand awareness and increase the popularity of their product or products. When this is the case, tabletop packaging equipment, which requires the assistance of an operator, will often be the best solution for meeting production demand. A majority of the tabletop liquid packaging machines will increase speed over hand filling, capping or labeling. But in some cases, total efficiency, including consistent, reliable and repeatable packaging is the end goal. For example, a handheld chuck capper may not significantly increase the speed with which bottles are capped, but it will ensure that each cap is securely tightened, removing the potential for loose or overly tightened closures, while also protecting workers from repetitive motion injuries.
Other Semi-Automatic Liquid Packaging Lines
Semi-automatic equipment will not always be tabletop machinery. Many of the different liquid packaging machines can be built on full frames yet still function in a semi-automatic manner. For instance, an overflow filler may be manufactured on a full, portable frame, but rather than roll up to a conveyor or a packaging line, a slide track will be used to move bottles in and out of the fill area. The machine will require operator assistance to transport bottles and activate the fill, but the full frame allows for upgrades in the future, up to and including fully automatic performance with the addition of a conveyor and a PLC. The obvious advantage here is packaging machinery that can grow with the company and product demand.
Automatic Liquid Packaging Lines
Sometimes the market is just right for a new product. If something unique hits at the right time, production demand can immediately surpass an amount that would make semi-automatic packaging machinery a good solution. When this occurs, an actual start up line for a packager may consist of an entire automatic line. From rinsing and filling to capping, labeling, coding and more, automatic machinery removes the need for an operator to activate the packaging function at each machine. The line will communicate using sensors and PLC's, retain settings in memory to make set up quick and easy and prepare product at speeds that manual operators with semi-automatic machines simply could not achieve. For example, a producer of beverages with an automatic inline system may produce 100+ bottles every minute that the line is running.
So while a start-up system typically refers to a semi-automatic packaging line, the right start up system will depend on factors such as product demand, space, labor available, expected growth, budget and many others. LPS Packaging Specialists are always available to discuss projects and assist in finding the best solution for any given project.