Automated Packaging Solutions

    How to Increase Uptime with Automated Packaging Solutions

    Rick WilliamsPosted on October 23, 2019


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    Today’s market demands just-in-time delivery and quick turnarounds. In the workplace, that translates into a need for increased efficiency and productivity. Downtime is costly and eats into your ability to meet customer demands and fulfill orders.

    As a result, you’re always wondering how to increase uptime. There’s only so much your employees can do, especially when it comes to your packaging processes.

    An automated packaging solution could be the answer you’re seeking. Here are just a few of the many ways you could increase uptime with automated packaging solutions.

    Automated Packaging Solutions Keep Going

    Strapping and wrapping by hand is time-intensive and tiring. Your team may start out strong during their first hour, but by the time they’re deep in their shift, fatigue has set in. They’re no longer working at the same pace, and they might not be doing the same quality of job.

    An automated packaging solution solves this problem by working at the same pace constantly. A machine doesn’t become tired or need to take breaks.

    With the right solution, you can also avoid issues such as needing to switch between tensioners and cutters and sealers. An all-in-one solution will move your strapping or wrapping jobs from start to finish, without pausing to locate the right tools.

    Streamline Material Reloading

    Automated packaging solutions increase uptime, but they can’t completely eliminate downtime. One of the reasons you pause your machine is due to running out of materials.

    Your team must reload the film in a stretch wrapper or plastic strapping in a strapping machine from time to time. Label printers and other machines may also need their supplies replenished.

    The good news is that you can manage this downtime and streamline the process. When the machine needs to have one material reloaded, ask your team to check other supplies and top them up too.

    With a streamlined process, you can prevent multiple stoppages and keep your packaging process running smoother and longer.

    Perform Preventive Maintenance

    Another common cause of downtime is machine maintenance. Like other machines, automated packaging solutions still need some care and maintenance every now and then.

    One of the best things you can do is adopt a regular preventive maintenance program for all the machines that make up your automated packaging process.

    Taking a few minutes each day to clean the machine and check for damages may mean small problems don’t become much larger ones down the road.

    You should also create a maintenance schedule for larger maintenance tasks, like parts replacement. After so many cycles, you’ll likely need to replace bearings, cutters, and other key parts to keep your machines in good working order. By looking to these tasks on a regular basis, you can prevent long bouts of unexpected downtime.

    Unplanned Downtime

    Everything breaks down eventually, your automated machines are no exception. You should have in place an acceptable service level agreement (SLA) with your supplier or maintain an inventory of critical spare parts on site. 

    If you choose to outsource maintenance of unplanned events make sure you have a SLA acceptable for your operation. If you choose to do it yourself, consult with your equipment partner on your critical spare parts list to ensure a speedy recovery from unplanned events.

    Crunch the Numbers

    Once you’ve put an automated packaging solution in place, you’ll be able to collect more data about your packaging efficiency.

    Collecting this data will let you see where you may be able to make further improvements and increase uptime even more. Maybe there are further refinements you can make to reloading schedules. You might be able to streamline how operators switch off for breaks or between shifts.

    Reallocating the Workload

    Automated packaging solutions also allow you to reconsider the jobs each member of your team handles. By taking some of the more time-intensive packaging tasks off your employees’ shoulders, you’ll free up their time.

    That means you could have them look to parts of the packaging process that were rushed or neglected before. Your team might be able to turn their attention to other tasks, increasing productivity and efficiency on the floor.

    All this means more uptime for your operations. If you want to know more about how automated packaging solutions could work for you, get in touch with the experts today.

    Rick Williams

    Rick Williams has been employed in the packaging industry for the past 35 years, with a primary focus in the areas of semi-automatic and automatic equipment sales in conjunction with a wide variety of strapping tools. Rick is well-versed in consumable sales and their applications and has taken part in several packaging-related sales training and equipment forums over the years. In his spare time, Rick enjoys golfing and spending time with friends and family. He has also recently taken up recreational snowmobiling, although the lack of snow has not been favourable to enjoy the hundreds of miles of groomed trails Southern Ontario has to offer.

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