Stepping Up Automation to Keep Pace With Demand
As a new packager, not many companies will start from Day One with a fully automatic packaging system. Though such a scenario is not unheard of, a company is more likely to start with more of a focus on manual labor. This choice may be due to production demand, cash flow or even available production space. The move from manual or semi-automatic packaging to automated systems will also not take place at a single time, but will stem from a process of growth until the complete, turnkey automatic line is in place.
As a theoretical case study, let's take a company that is bottling a new beverage, and assume they were able to acquire shelf space at a few regional stores. Given that production demands will likely be low to begin, but boosted by contracts with local stores, the company may opt for a tabletop filling machine to assist in getting more bottles ready for market. They may also move from hand capping and labeling to tabletop machines as well, creating an efficient system to fill, cap and label bottles.
New contracts or an expanded region may require higher production. The filling machine may provide for the increase by adding additional fill heads. If labels need to be applied in a specific manner, the labeling machine may actually be upgraded to an automatic machine at this point, to save both time and effort when it comes to application. If all continues to go well, the new drink will continue to expand, becoming even more popular and reaching across several states or regions.
At this point, the tabletop filler may or may not be able to keep up with demand, but given that the bottles are still being capped with a tabletop model, an automatic spindle capper may be the next best move, though some companies may choose to automate the filler and the capper at this point. One more growth spurt will probably bring the need for full automation, including a conveyor system to move bottles from one machine to the next.
Even at this point, different aspects may be upgraded. As the drink becomes popular nationwide, more heads can be added to the automatic filling machine to continue to increase bottle per minute filling speeds. Loading and unloading equipment may also be used, such as turntables, to make supplying the line with bottles quick and easy. Depending on how the drink is sold, case packers or shrink wrap machinery may also be included, as well as a nitrogen purge system to extend shelf life once high production levels are achieved.
Again, this transformation seldom, though it may sometimes, happens overnight. The machinery will grow with the company until full automation is reached and high production demand can be met to assist in national or even global marketing. Of course the line for each company will be hand tailored and custom designed to meet the needs of the specific project. However, equipment manufactured for any stage of a company's existence is designed to provide consistent, reliable and efficient performance as well as growth.
For more information on all of the equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, browse the equipment categories found on the right side of this page, or contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today.