The Challenge of Holiday Packaging

The Challenge of Holiday Packaging

The holiday season brings with it decorations on trees, houses, office buildings, lamp posts and just about everything else that can hold a string of lights, garland, a ribbon or the like.  While most consumer products will not hold a string of lights, there is likely not a marketing department in existence that does not try to take advantage of the holiday season to tout their product.  Some companies will use unique containers for the holidays, such as ornament shaped drink containers.  Others will use new, holiday themed caps, like candy cane tops.  Some may simply switch their label type or logo during the holiday season.  Regardless of the changes implemented, the holiday season can present special challenges anyone packaging a product.

Most packaging machinery is manufactured with a company's current container, cap and label in mind.  This is not to say that a packaging line cannot handle new containers, caps or labels, but rather some modification may be necessary.  For instance, a conveyor system used on an automated packaging system may be manufactured to handle containers up to six inches wide.  A new dream package for the holidays created by the marketing department that measure eight inches wide brings nothing but nightmares for the production crew.  A filling machine for thicker products that uses a bottom up fill to avoid cavities may not have the range to properly fill a new container that adds six or eight inches to the height of the normal container.  Or a company that normally torques down caps using a spindle capper may just not have the capping equipment to handle a snap on cap used on the new holiday packaging. 

There are several options should a company find themselves in this packaging dilemma.  The first, and probably the easiest solution, is to market within the scope of the current packaging machinery.  The packaging design team must understand the abilities and limits of the packaging equipment currently on the production floor.  If the liquid filler is not capable of filling a two ounce container, holiday samplers may not be a possibility.  If you use a wrap labeler for 16 ounce bottles, present shaped square containers for the holidays may cause problems.  New or temporary holiday marketing projects may need to be planned within the scope of the packaging machinery.

Another option is to modify or upgrade current equipment to handle the specifications required for the holiday package.  In some cases, this may be as simple as changing out the nozzles on a filling machine or replacing a chuck on capping equipment.  In other situations, it may require a complete overhaul of the packaging equipment.  If a packager finds themselves in the overhaul scenario, new machinery may be a better option. An overhaul of the packaging equipment would require the power down of the packaging equipment, with modifications and changes to be made either on the company's production floor or back in the shop at LPS.  Obviously, extended downtime equals extended loss of productivity, and keep in mind that we are talking about seasonal, holiday packaging.  

Many companies will purchase new packaging machinery or special packaging lines specifically for special projects like holiday packaging.  These packaging systems can consist of economical packaging machinery that will be run only when needed and can be built to almost any specifications and production output desired.  Uniframe systems for low output products may combine a liquid filler, capping machine and labeler all on one simple frame, making short run special products easy to prepare.  

The best solution, however, is good planning.  When initially purchasing your packaging equipment, know the limitations of the machinery.  Request room to manuever in your machinery.  If your initial production runs will include 12 and 16 ounce bottles, ensure that the machine will also handle 4 ounce and 32 ounce containers.  If your widest product is 6", purchase an 8" or 10" conveyor system, using guiderail adjustments to smoothly move the containers.  Marketing, production and Liquid Packaging Solutions as the machinery manufacturer, must work together to ensure not only that the correct machinery is chosen for the initial work, but that the packaging machinery incorporates a vision of growth for the future as well.

If you would like additional information on any of the packaging equipment manufactured by Liquid Packaging Solutions, Inc., representatives can be reached toll free at 1-888-393-3693!