HOW AUTOMATION IS USED IN FOOD PACKAGING
The Food and Beverage Industry
In recent years, many industries have started making use of advanced technologies to assist in the process of manufacturing. The Food and Beverage Industry has always adapted with the times and, when it comes to packaging automation, this is no exception. With the ever-increasing availability of automated systems to simplify the food packaging process, many in the Food and Beverage Industry have focused on automating their factories for processing and packaging their products. The need for custom automation to solve advanced problems has proven to be very valuable for many industries today, especially the Food and Beverage Industry. In this article, we wish to highlight how packaging automation plays a role in the modern operations of food processing and beverage companies today.
When it comes to any large-scale factory operation, the safety of employees is often called into question. Employee injury can unfortunately be a frequent occurrence. When injury does occur, a human employee may be unable to work for many days. Automation equipment allows people to stay away from unsafe jobs and can be used to handle the more dangerous processes involved in packaging, such as strapping or palletizing. Any responsible manufacturer holds the safety and wellbeing of their employees at high regard. The fact that machines can perform tasks that employees would normally be at risk of injury for when performing them is a win-win for both Operations and HR.
Long Term Reliability
When purchasing equipment to assist with the packaging process, you are investing in long-term reliability, efficiency, and consistency. There is a significant upfront investment involved in any type of capital expenditure such as equipment, but automation will consistently produce the same result and will work much quicker than a human being.
Filling in When Needed
A key perk of packaging automation is near-constant reliability. When labor shortages occur, such as the one we are currently experiencing now, an automated piece of machinery can be a trustworthy producer. In some instances, however, the situation may not be about inconsistent labor – you may be faced with not enough labor or workers. In both situations – unreliable labor and not enough labor – automation at a high level is an investment worth making! Automation is not used intermittently – once the investment is made, it’s used long-term, with or without a labor shortage. In previous years, many of our customers strictly focused on using automated packaging equipment to increase efficiency. Now, many companies just want to keep their line running consistently. For example, we have a customer that has invested in a palletizer. Their packaging lines did not run very quickly to begin with, but they purchased the machine in an effort to keep two employees from leaving. Sometimes automation can save your labor force and not the contrary!
Throughput and Efficiency
It’s no secret that machines, robots, and conveyors move faster – and safer – than humans. Even when it comes to something as simple as box erection, case packing, or bin picking, automation is quicker and more accurate than human labor. A basic case erector can manage to create 10 boxes a second, which is 233% more efficient than an employee doing the same job. Human error is virtually eliminated when automation is used on the packaging line. In fact, human error and injury have been shown to slow down the manufacturing process by a significant amount, whether it’s from wasting a product that was damaged during the production process or from an action that holds up the entire line. Product damages and waste can be eliminated with the assistance of packaging automation, saving companies both time and money. Automated manufacturing isn’t limited to large scale production. Many companies in the Food and Beverage Industry have started using machines that can handle smaller, more precise movements on the production line as well. Tedious labor can be done more efficiently and effectively with equipment rather than human labor – it’s just that simple!
Things to Keep in Mind
If you’re thinking of automating your warehouse or production line, there are a few things to bear in mind. First, you need a plan of action – you can’t just expect to purchase these machines and have them replace every worker in the factory, see production go through the roof, or damages virtually disappear. Automation is meant to enhance the workplace by being well placed and well planned out. Proper programming and installation is critical to the success of any piece of machinery. When it comes to maintenance, our Morrisette factory-trained service technicians will routinely service your equipment and ensure proper upkeep to reduce downtime, prevent unforeseen issues, and ensure optimal performance. Our team will also train your personnel on how to properly operate any piece of machinery we install. The packaging experts at Morrisette, along with our industry-leading engineers and integrators, can help you decide what your next step looks like when it comes to automating your packaging operation.
Automation in the Food and Beverage Industry has been prevalent for many years now, and there’s no doubt that it will become even more integral as time goes on. As more innovations are made and more tasks become automated with machines, manufacturers will likely turn to even more packaging automation in their operations. Contact us today to see how we can work together to harness the potential of automation for your operation.