5 Tips for Buying Packaging Equipment
Buying a quality packaging machine for the first time can be a daunting undertaking. Each packaging equipment manufacturer offers its own flavor of technology and even seemingly comparable machines from different manufacturers can vary widely in price. Use the following five tips to help guide the purchasing process to a successful conclusion.
Tip 1: Keep it simple
Complexity and reliability tend to be at odds. Ask the OEM for its design strategy. Do the words simple come up? Open the control cabinet. Compare the differences in appearance and number of components between suppliers. Is one clean and streamlined and the other crammed?
Tip 2: Be open to packaging suggestions
Some customers come to the OEM and say; we want to run this identical bottle. Climax advises customers to stay open to alternatives. A slightly different width, length, can or bottle type may run with much better efficiency than the original. This doesn’t mean that the original is always discarded. It is not. Simply be open to discussing the options. Furthermore, expect to supply the manufacturer with samples. Work with the manufacturer on any needed improvements or engineering.
Tip 3: Align machine design to the highest volume package
Many first time buyers a packaging machine large enough to package all of their bottles or cans from the widest on down to the narrowest. On the surface this makes sense – buy one machine and automate the entire operation. The problem with this approach is that the more pack patterns the packaging machine has to handle the more expensive.
A more effective strategy for buying the first machine is to size the machine to the highest volume package – the size that most needs automation. That machine will be optimized for the bread and butter package size and will run the fastest, use the least material, and be the most cost effective to operate. Perhaps continue semi-automatic operations for the other sized packs or consider a second machine down the road.
Tip 4: Work with an OEM that understands the application
There is both an art and a science to manufacturing a machine that will run for years without issues. Work with a manufacturer with a track record of success in similar if not identical application in terms of product. That manufacturer knows what it takes to be successful in that application.
Tip 5: Tooless changeover and other key operation strategies
Being able to effectively run a number of bottle, cans and case sizes – similar widths and various lengths – on one machine gives the organization greater flexibility. A fast way to “changeover” the machines between different pack patterns is to have the operator switch between different grids and pick up cups without the need of wrenches, screw drivers, and other tools. This is called tool-less changeover and it is a must for the organization because it is fast, effective, and does not require maintenance personnel to be taken away from more urgent tasks to swap a part.
Every application has its uniqueness. Yet there are commonalities as well. Use these five tips to help successfully guide the purchasing decision.
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