How to Switch to Packaging Automation For Better Productivity

Packaging automation involves the process of packaging products without traditional manual labor. Companies may introduce packaging solutions through machines that automate one step or the entire process. 

For example, a box assembly machine makes one part of the packaging process more efficient. On the other hand, businesses may also use several devices to insert void fill, reduce box height, and seal containers.

Automation allows companies to reduce labor costs, save space, avoid employee accidents, enhance consistency, and lessen environmental impact. In this article, you’ll learn how to incorporate an automated system into your packaging business.

packaging automation

1. Know the Packaging Process

Know which part of the process you’ll introduce automated packaging solutions. 

You must determine your business’ packaging process to evaluate which step needs automation. Moreover, you must remember the transition points in the packaging process. Suppose you’re involved in the food industry. The lack of takeaway conveyors can make transporting finished products to the packaging line and packaged items to the shipping area difficult.

Instead of increasing efficiency and reducing labor costs, the business might need more time to deliver goods. Moreover, the employees might work additional hours to transport the products. You can prevent these problems by considering the lapses in your packaging process before buying automated packaging machines.

Before shifting to automated solutions, you may consider the following:

  • How will the new equipment fit your packaging process?
  • What usually happens before the packaging process?
  • What typically occurs after product packaging?
  • Where do you store your raw materials and finished products?
  • How do you transport the raw materials to the packaging system?

2. Purchase the Proper Automated Packaging Equipment

There are different types of machines used in system automation. You must know the proper equipment to buy for your business.

  • Box machines create unique boxes for various products. The equipment cuts, creases, and folds cardboard according to distinctive patterns. Moreover, box-sealing equipment closes the box through staples or strong adhesives.
  • Filling machines fill up containers, such as bottles, cans, and pouches. They prevent human error by producing a consistent dose of liquids, solids, and gasses. An example is a vertical form fill seal (VFFS) which supplies the product into a bag and seals it.
  • Packaging automation equipment like Wrapping and sealing machines protect the finished products from damage by wrapping a packaging material around the items. Examples include shrink-wrapping, vacuum-sealing, and heat-sealing devices. They ensure faster packaging, ideal for bulk production.
  • Labeling machines apply labels to products. Promotional labels can increase sales by providing essential information and instructions to consumers. In addition, security labels like RFID chips and QR codes can prevent theft. On the other hand, tracking tags enable products to arrive at the correct destination.
  • Palletizers automatically sort, transfer, and stack cases of products. They allow for a more convenient method of handling and storage. These packaging automation solutions also save floor space since they have a compact design.

It would also help to consider your business’ speed requirements Moreover, knowing the right time to purchase heavy equipment for your company is also crucial.

3. Prepare Your Warehouse for the Packaging Line

You must have an in-depth plan starting from delivery to commissioning of the machines. Introducing packaging automation equipment to your business does not end in purchasing it. 

First, arrange for the proper receipt and unloading of the machine after its delivery. Make sure to inspect the equipment before formally receiving it. You wouldn’t want misprinted boxes in your production line. Formal protocol for the inspection of heavy machinery can avoid manufacturing delays.

Second, consider the manner of transporting the machine or equipment from the entrance to the production floor. You may need to rent another piece of equipment to put the machine inside the facility. It would help if the seller could assist you during this step.

Third, prepare adequate tools to test the machine. For example, you must store enough film for your newly-bought sealing machines. You must also ensure that you have coated or specialty paper if you installed a labeling machine in your warehouse.

4. Train Your Employees

An automated packaging machine needs little human intervention, so it is crucial to train your workers. You can implement several strategies to inform them about their new duties.

  • Schedule informative sessions regarding the advantages of automation. You can also conduct a remote introductory session. As a result, they will know automation’s significance for their jobs.
  • Conduct interactive training sessions to show employees how they can operate the equipment. Experts can also teach them the proper responses to technical problems.
  • Display posters that explain the proper usage of an automated packaging machine. It helps to have written and illustrated instructions for workers with varying learning styles. The placards will also help them remember the appropriate steps in machine operation.

5. Have a Preventive Maintenance Plan

Switching to automated equipment entails a comprehensive preventive maintenance plan. Hence, it requires careful planning and trained employees.

  • Read the manual several times to determine the kind of maintenance that the equipment needs. It will also inform you of the wear-and-tear parts you must replace regularly.
  • Inspect the machines included in the packaging automation solutions once to twice a year. Routine inspections can ensure optimal performance and unexpected costs.
  • Lubricate the machines to reduce the wear of moving parts. It also minimizes the corrosion of metals and protects other components. Moreover, lubrication can prevent contaminants from entering the system.
  • Ask the machine’s manufacturer regarding the recommended spare parts list. Incorporate their suggestions when making your inventory strategy.
  • Employ maintenance staff with electrical or mechanical skills to perform preventive maintenance tasks. You can use such equipment for a prolonged time and save costs with qualified personnel.

Improve Your Production Speed Through Automation

It may be daunting to automate your packaging process, but it helps if you know the entire packaging process, so you can purchase the right equipment. You must also prepare your warehouse for the machine’s delivery, train your workers, and craft a maintenance plan.

Contact Plan IT Packaging for all your packaging automation needs. We can conduct an on-site consultation to determine the most suitable machine for your business. We can ensure your smooth transition to an automated system.

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