Packaging automation projects reduce your costs, improve your production output, and help you deliver a consistently high-quality package to your customer. But projects that aren’t properly coordinated among all stakeholders can result in delays, equipment inefficiencies, and wasted money.
In many projects, the customer sources the automation equipment and the consumable packaging materials separately, and is the single point of contact for both vendors. But in some cases this results in the customer ordering packaging materials that aren’t optimized for the equipment they plan to use. This can delay project startup and add costs for redesigning and reordering materials. Even if the equipment can be adjusted to work with the supplied material, a suboptimal material can result in lower line speeds, increased waste, and decreased package quality.
“There are a few types of issues with packaging materials that we commonly see with new automation applications,” said Lane Flynn, president of Technik Packaging Machinery. “For example, in cartoning applications, the cartons are sometimes not prebroken, especially if the customer is transitioning from manual loading. This is a simple process that almost any carton supplier can handle, but the customer and supplier need to be aware of the need.”
Other common packaging materials have their own potential areas of trouble to avoid, said Flynn. “With vertical form-fill-seal bags, the film is made of several layers of material. So if the outer layer is too glossy, we could have trouble with print adhesion for a code date, or the speed of the machine could be limited by a heat sealing layer that’s not optimal. In a bottling application, we need to make sure we match the caps with the correct capping and torquing system, especially if we have a pump dispenser cap.”
The solution is simple, according to Flynn. He recommends connecting your materials supplier with your equipment provider early in the process. “When we can communicate directly with the materials supplier, we know that they’re on the same page and that the customer will get materials that will deliver optimal performance. We also save the customer time and effort because we can obtain samples for machine setup and testing directly from the supplier.”
In some contract packaging applications, the packager’s customer supplies the materials to the packager, and some packagers are hesitant to involve their customer in an automation project. Even in these cases, Flynn recommends involving the customer and materials supplier. “Anytime we work with a materials supplier, any recommended changes are shown to the customer for their approval. This is the case whether the packager or their customer is procuring the materials. We, the packager, and the material supplier all want to deliver the best results for the end customer, and working together helps accomplish that goal.”
So on your next packaging project, consider connecting your materials supplier with your equipment provider early in the process. You’ll save yourself effort, and may avoid costly problems with materials that aren’t optimal for your application. Technik is happy to coordinate with your supplier to ensure your packaging material will deliver the results you expect. Contact us today to get started.
Don’t have a packaging material supplier for your next packaging automation project? We can help! Contact Technik and we’ll connect you with trusted suppliers for the type of material your project needs.