The Different Levels of Packaging Machinery Automation
While some packagers start by hand preparing all of their products, others may have demand that requires some automation assistance from the beginning. Companies grow at different rates, which is why different automation levels are available for almost all types of equipment.
Even for those that hand package products, there are several machines that can assist in that preparation. For example, handheld chuck capping machines can take some of the stress off of manual labor by changing the process from twisting on caps to simply placing the chuck over the cap and allowing the machine to do the tightening. Manual rinsing machines also allow multiple bottles to be rinsed free of debris before putting them through the processes of filling and capping. While these simple machines may not always add speed, they will always add consistency and reliability to the processes.
Semi-automatic packaging machines will often add speed while also allowing a more dependable and consistent process. Semi-automatic equipment can take the form of tabletop equipment or can be manufactured on a full frame for later upgrades, some to full automation. Semi-automatic filling machines can handle just about any product, from thin viscosity to thick. Cappers are available for just about any type of closure, including threaded, ROPP, corks, snap on and more. Equipment exists to put together an entire packaging system using semi-automatic machines. However, these machines require an operator to assist with each cycle, be it rinsing, filling, capping or any other process.
Automatic packaging equipment offers the most speed and removes the need for operator interaction with every cycle. From rinsers and fillers to cappers and labelers, these machines will use a PLC or other controls to allow the operator to set up the equipment for the product, bottle, cap, label or other components prior to production. Once the machines are turned on, the operator will simply need to monitor the packaging line performance and provide bulk components from time to time.
The level of automation necessary to meet the demand for a product will differ from packager to packager. And while the machine is available in manual, semi-automatic and automatic versions, the combinations are nearly limitless. Some packagers may automate only one process, such as filling or capping, while others will use a complete automatic system from bottle loading to palletizing cases at the end of the line. The type of automation used needs to make sense for the packager and project at hand. At Liquid Packaging Solutions, we work to understand the process before any of the building of equipment begins, finding the most efficient solution for not only the specific point in time but also the solution that will grow with the company.
Finding the ideal solution can depend on a wide range of factors. For assistance in determining the best level of automation for your own packaging project and finding the best machinery, contact a Packaging Specialist at LPS today.