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September 06th

How to solve packaging machines frequent changeover problems

Solve packaging machines changeover problems

Production is one line often faced with changes in packaging, design, material, and size. Every day there are thousands of new food and beverage designs flood into the market. The ever-changing designs are a way to entice customers. Several companies try to adjust packaging sizes to fit the consumer's budget and demand. All these changeovers experienced by manufacturers are to keep consumers satisfied.

The marketing method also continues evolving, and innovations emerge to keep up with the fast-paced business world. The company's production departments are forced to make several adjustments continuously to meet their budget and consumers' demands. Amongst top changeovers includes formats, sizes, and packaging material.

The biggest challenge with changeovers is the amount of money that's lost in an aim to meet consumer demands.

The changeover requires new designs, equipment, and packing material and all these factors need funds.

The most affected businesses are small and medium-sized brands since they want to gain influence in an already crowded market. Small companies usually make up to four or even more changeovers to keep up with style. For example, milk production companies have changed from using paper material to pouches. Others have moved from pouches to bottles. These changeovers cost a substantial amount and, at times, may need more than one change.

In modern times, food and beverage manufacturers are under pressure to maintain the ever-changing demands while still maintaining moderate production costs. The challenge of changeovers is not expected to end soon as more companies join the market with new packaging ideas and designs.

Factors that affect efficiency during changeovers :

Components and parts

The new packaging designs are generated from the older ones. The old packaging equipment was designed to last for years and had no space for adjustments. Old generation packaging equipment does not fit in well with the new generation packages. In the early years, the packaging materials were unchanged and remained the same.

In case you decide to adjust your old case package to fit into the new generation, then it would cost you more than 50 pieces of changes. When there are so many parts that need to be changed over some time, then it affects the efficiency of the equipment.

Human error and trying to merge old and new generation equipment may lead to more losses and waste than productivity.

For example, if you install a new piece incorrectly, you may take so much time trying to figure out the problem.

The type of secondary packaging machine a manufacturer uses affects how easily they can adjust to the changing design demands. Good packaging machines require minimal parts changeover, making them less expensive and time conscious.

The layout and orientation

The production line involves so much technical work, and one wrong move may affect the workflow. If you visit a production room, you will understand the production line is intentional and requires specific knowledge of the flow of tasks. When a manufacturer initiates a changeover, it affects all the other stages of production.

There is so much work from the conveyor belts, parts, case packer, and tool adjustments to fit into the new design. At times manufacturers need to ask for special equipment to move around parts and lift other heavy objects.

These steps to make a simple change cost so much and is time-consuming.

When a manufacturer starts a changeover, efficiency of a machine is affected. There is the movement of parts from one corner of the room to another, which may, at times, lead to loss of equipment.

One of the best ways to manage the layout and orientation challenge is by implementing a compact machine. A compact machine layout has a single control point for case packers, magazine holders, adjustment points, and operating screens.

Machine automation to achieve repeatability

For a changeover to be considered successful, it must be able to meet the repeatability aspect. Efficiency is lost when a machine cannot meet repeatability. The old generation machine cannot easily merge with new settings and more often waste time and material.

For example, when changing a manual case packer machine to fit into a new product, you require several adjustments, which may take time or even fail.

To make repeatability easy to achieve, the first step is to develop processes fit for the machine. Manufacturers should develop strategies aligned with the machine model, speed, operation, packaging size, and material. It's also essential for personnel to undergo training on how to handle changeovers.

The most effective method has to implement machine automation programs. The automation program enables the machine to adjust to new changeover settings based on the pack cases.

Skilled workers

The old generation case packers were not fixed and required many parts to be changed to implement a changeover. Completing one changeover took so much time and needed skilled people. The biggest challenge with using an old-generation machine has an experienced worker.

Food and beverage manufacturers face the challenge of maintaining skilled workers who require better pay.

The new generation case packers are easy to use and have fewer parts to change. The equipment is easy to use and does not necessarily need much experience.

Package sizes and formats

Packaging sizes ad formats are ever-changing, significantly with new companies as companies that have existed before; changing package sizes and formats require a change in the whole production system. When a manufacturer chooses to change the package formats, they need to adjust the case packet so it can hold on to the new package appropriately. Alternatively, the manufacturer may use the manual workforce for packaging the products.

The other option is to order a custom case packer to fit into the new production line. However, there is a big challenge in how effective the change of case packer will be towards fitting into the new package. It's always advisable for manufacturers to maintain a flexible packaging production line.

When the machine is adjustable, manufacturers can adjust to new product demands design without much pressure. The modular approach suggests that the production line needs to be flexible so that the manufacturer can quickly adapt to demands and product shifts from one season to the next.

The modular approach encourages manufacturers to have a prefabricated part whenever they need it considering they purchased a case packer. The modular design is favorable since manufacturers can connect sealers and case erectors amongst secondary machines and adjust them as needed. Using the modular approach, less time is wasted during the change of formats, and the cost is also less.

Priming and cleaning

As a changeover is implemented, there is constantly priming and cleaning, which leads to waste. It's impossible to execute a changeover without priming; therefore, the process incurs a hefty cost to manufacturers. The costs incurred by waste due to priming and cleaning are not quickly gained afterward. However, using a more effective method such as conveyor shortening saves on costs since fewer products are needed during priming. The technique also eliminates having several products on the line.

At Enoline, with over 30 years of experience in the packaging automation industry, we know what you are looking for. That's why we are constantly improving our solutions to be state-of-the-art, with easy and quick changeovers (in less than 10 minutes for most of our solutions with intuitive HMI) and very compact machines that can be integrated into any plant.

We help you find the best solution you need ! Contact us now to get a free quotation