Upgrading Packaging Equipment for 2016!
The first full week of the New Year is upon us and the LPS offices and shop floor have sprung back to life after a couple of Holiday shortened weeks. As we move in to 2016, plenty of new equipment is under way, including a couple of complete lines with power conveyors, filling machinery, capping machinery and loading equipment. However, we are starting this year with a couple of projects that include upgrading existing machinery as well, and we'd like to take a moment to remind our customers and those looking for packaging equipment that almost all of the machinery manufactured by LPS is built to grow with the packager over time!
From tabletop equipment to fully automated machines, the LPS design will almost always include the ability to upgrade and add features to improve performance and production. While all machines have their limits, and some simple machines may not be upgradeable and others will not need to be upgraded, the LPS staff and engineers work to provide a long life for equipment regardless of the starting point for production. As an example, we can take a look at several different filling machine designs to see how a packager might improve production without purchasing all new equipment.
Surprisingly, at both ends of the automation spectrum, the ability to upgrade will consist mostly of the ability to add fill heads to the machinery. Both tabletop filling machines and automatic filling machinery will typically allow packagers to add additional fill heads at a future date. So if a tabletop machine starts off with a single fill head and production doubles over the course of a year, an additional fill head can be added for efficiency and to meet demands. An automatic machine may start with four, six or eight heads, and depending on the type of machine, may be expandable all the way up to sixteen nozzles, again greatly increasing the efficiency of the process and keeping up with growing demands.
Other filling machines may function in a semi-automatic manner - that is, operators place the bottles under the nozzles, start the fill cycle and remove the bottles when the cycle completes. However, if these machines are designed and manufactured on portable frames, the ability to add a power conveyor, indexing system and PLC allows equipment to move from semi-automatic to automatic production without completely starting over. Of course, just like the other fillers, semi-automatic machines on portable frames will almost always allow for additional fill heads as well, to a maximum of sixteen depending on the filler type.
Other packaging equipment may also be upgradeable, including rinsing machinery in much the same manner as the filling equipment, with the ability to add more rinse heads in the future. Other machines may require modification to handle different items, such as a capper taking on a new or different size of closure. For those experiencing or expecting production growth in 2016, upgrades can be a money and or time saving alternative, and for those purchasing new equipment, always make sure to understand both the limits and the potential for equipment being purchased!