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5 THINGS TO KNOW WHEN CHOOSING A CASE PACKER
20 April 2018
Choosing the right case packer isn’t only about what you want, but also about what you need. Your equipment must provide a long-lasting solution that will keep up with the fast-evolving realities of the industry. The last thing you want is for your case packing machine to prevent you from taking a further step in developing the market. Here’s advice you’ll want to keep in mind. Now, pack up!
Are you ready for an automated solution? To answer that, you will have to know your production rate, budget, and the amount of different SKU’s you intend on handling. The more you know, the more precise and adapted the case packer machine will be. Knowing your needs will not only have an influence on equipment, but also on maintenance. Does your facility produce 24 hours a day throughout the week? If so, you will not only want a reliable solution, but also one that will provide 24/7 technical support if something goes wrong.
KNOW YOUR INDUSTRY
This might come to you as archaic advice, but it still is the key to choosing the right technology to fulfill your needs. If your sector has a projected growth of 3% in the next five years, you might want to consider a flexible option that will allow you to multiply robots as production increases. The same applies if you intend on enlarging your product offering and need a case packer that can handle more than one type of packaging.
KNOW YOUR NEEDS
Most case packers will be custom-designed for your specific needs. These will include a large variety of options.
Are you dealing with a wide range of SKUs? Numerous products usually come in numerous sizes and packaging types. Take for example the poultry industry: A turkey doesn’t get packed the same way a chicken breast does. With the right case packer, changeovers can be an excellent starting point to increase productivity. With equipment that allows you to store packing patterns (recipes) within its settings, changeovers will be completed faster and with less maneuvers. Keep in mind that the minutes spent readjusting the settings of your case packing machine aren’t dedicated to packing the product.
You might also want to consider a case packer with Line Tracking technology dedicated to tracking and picking random products from the infeed and placing them precisely into moving trays or cases on the outfeed. Not only will you gain in efficiency, but it will reduce your need for manual labor and create quality jobs for machine operators.
Investing in equipment that protects your product will have a positive impact on your ROI. A product is not profitable if it doesn’t meet the requirements of the industry. Case packers equipped with state-of-the-art vision systems can now identify packaging defaults and reject unfit products. If a product is flagged, it will be placed in a separate pile, allowing disposal according to internal standards. This prevents you from shipping unqualified stock and limits returns to suppliers.
Does your packaging need a punch hole or tear notch? Is the expiration date labeled and is the seal properly closed? This available data can be customized and expanded to meet the obligations of your industry. If product were to get stuck in the seal area, compromising quality, the case packing machine will know. A food safety inspection system will not only save you time and money, it can also save your reputation. This is especially true in the food industry, governed by strict hygiene and safety standards. If your product gets placed on shelves without proper inspection, things can get out of hand and a crisis might follow. Your case packer will soon become an ally, ensuring your product respects industry requirements.
This not only applies to food safety, but to the industry in general. A product without punch holes won’t easily be put up on the shelf. The last thing you want is for merchandise to lay around in boxes because it wasn’t properly packaged.
KNOW YOUR CLIENT
Does your industry have a tendency in terms of packaging? If for example you are manufacturing rice pouches, you might want to consider a case packer that will allow you to stack them vertically, so they are shelf-ready upon arrival. Not only do you need flexibility, but also efficiency with easy changes from vertical to horizontal packing.
KNOW YOUR SUPPLIER
The Human Machine interface (HMI) is pretty much the center of it all. It’s what will allow your team members to communicate with the case packing machine and get things done. You should have in mind who will operate your case packer; will it be only a handful of persons or will several teams be involved with the equipment? A user-friendly interface will save you time and money.
Some might feel intimidated by the learning curve robotic equipment implies. Hence, the importance of partnering up with a supplier who can provide full training of your team members and complete Client Service.
Remember that whatever solution you opt for, it will require maintenance. To ensure your case packer lives a long and happy life, plan periodic verification with qualified personnel. Unplanned down-time will impact productivity and cost you money. Counting on the support of a fully dedicated technical team will make a difference if bumps were to occur along the way. Technology now makes it possible to use remote connectivity to troubleshoot potential problems. You will want your case packer supplier to be up to speed.
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