A Business’s Guide To Product Packaging Automation

business product packaging automation

Say you and your team started out as a small company, wherein product packing was something you could easily do on your own. You have worked so hard to grow your business, and now, you’re starting to need the help of extra hands and technology to be more efficient with packing. Try as you may, it is killing your production line when you focus only on doing all the packaging-related tasks on your own. 

This could be your signal that you need to explore product packaging automation through TDI Packsys food inspection systems and other packaging automation software and systems. It's a significant change to make, but when your operation’s efficiency and productivity are at stake, it’s a change worth making. 

Like any other switch to automation, this doesn’t happen successfully overnight. It takes a lot of research and planning to get this done right. This begins with going back to the basics of understanding what product automation entails. 

In this post, we’ll outline a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of packaging automation. 

Getting A Bird’s Eye View On Automation Is A Good Start 

After identifying your need for product packaging automation, the next step for your business team to take is to have a clear understanding of the basics of automation. This begins with first defining what automation means. Essentially, it refers to the technology used whereby product packaging can now be completed with minimal human assistance and control.’ 

Furthermore, product packaging automation can usually come in two main forms: hard and flexible. Here's a brief distinction between each: 

• Hard Automation:  This pertains to the product packaging machines or robots used for high-throughput operations with no variations as to product packaging size and type, for instance. And considering there’s less flexibility, this system is typically used when doing repetitive tasks. These, however, can be quite expensive, as they are usually custom-made, based on the product packaging specifications of your business. 

• Flexible Automation:  This type, also known as soft automation, as the name implies, is designed such that it can easily change or adapt according to the different variations and requirements in production. This can be used best when doing batch process manufacturing. 

Simplification Of Product Packaging Is A Must With Automation 

No matter how advanced and reputable your product packaging automation software is, efficiency in your production still won’t be successful if you’re still stuck with a complicated packaging process. Note that since you’re aiming to be more efficient and productive, it’s also a must to simplify your product packaging as well. 

With simpler packaging, it’s not just your efficiency that improves. Costs may be decreased, too, which can help boost the profit-earning potential of your business. You can start simplifying your product packaging process by standardizing the following considerations: 

• Bag Sizes:  Sticking to standard bag sizes can reduce switching the components of your packaging equipment too frequently just for it to be able to handle the size difference of your chosen bags or boxes. 

• Bag And Box Types:  Consider opting for standard bag and box types like the pillow bag. Such a type generally won’t require any special assembly to package products, making the machine move at an even faster speed. 

• Design:  Standardize your package design to have one that fits different demographics of customers and seasons through a simple, no-nonsense design that requires less effort both on the machines and your human workforce. 

automating product packaging

Benefits Of Product Packaging Automation Are Real And Can’t Be Ignored 

Because the switch to automated product packaging can be quite a big move for businesses, it’s not surprising to still have some cloud surrounding the notion of whether or not the benefits of product packaging automation are real and tangible. For as long as it’s done right and with the use of quality automated systems, the move to automated product packaging won’t be in vain. 

There are many benefits a business can gain by bringing in technology, and some of them are enumerated below. 

1. It Reduces The Likelihood Of Repetitive Strain Injury 

Employees working in factories and production lines doing repetitive tasks are often at a higher risk of repetitive strain injury. This fact is due to the nature of their job, where their hands are doing repetitive functions every single day. 

With automation, this risk can be reduced now there’s a machine performing some of those repetitive functions. This can be advantageous given how compensation for employee injuries in the workplace and costs due to high employee absenteeism can be expensive. 

2. It Improves Quality Control 

Even the most well-trained of all employees will still have that risk of human error, which can be attributed to fatigue or overworking. After all, imagine yourself doing the same tasks repeatedly. Eventually, at the end of the working day or week, your hands will no longer be as efficient as they were at the start of the day. In turn, product packaging quality may be compromised. 

Automation can bring in extra quality control now that the likelihood of human error is reduced. For example, new technology has now paved the way for packaging systems powered through artificial intelligence (AI), which can ‘see’ errors in the same way as human beings can. This can mean highly consistent packaging while still successfully keeping up with quantity demands. 

3. It Increases Production Speed 

Businesses today are faced with so much pressure both from customers and competition. This pressure creates the need to double-time production in order to cope with such demands. 

Switching to automated systems may just be exactly what your business needs to meet those extra production demands while still maintaining top-notch quality. In fact, there’s no rival to the production speed that powerful machines are equipped to do. 

4. It May Reduce Labor Costs 

Reducing labor costs doesn’t mean that businesses should lay off their employees unjustly lean in favor of robots and machines. After all, those machines aren’t going to run themselves. Human beings are still very much needed across various types of business sectors, despite the popularity and coming in of more advanced machinery and equipment. 

This, however, means that now, businesses don’t have to hire as many employees in the future as they may have thought they needed. Employees are hired only when there’s a position to fill. This can help businesses manage their finances well enough with the possibility to reduce labor expenses. 

Get Started Today With Product Packaging Automation 

With your awareness of the benefits of product packaging automation, perhaps now you’re more eager to get started with product packaging automation. Here are some smart ways to get started: 

   • Determine first with certainty whether or not product packaging automation is right for you. This can be done by weighing factors like your business size, packaging demands and quantity, and whether or not the ROI of investing in automation systems and machines is high. This allows you to ensure you get the most out of this significant investment. 

   • Evaluate your existing processes, so you can identify what the bottlenecks in your product packaging process are. This allows you to determine which areas to prioritize for automation. By doing so, there’ll be a lower risk that product automation won’t work in your favor. 

   • Make use of robotic product packaging systems. Technology has paved the way for advanced robotic applications that can be used even for packaging. Those robotic applications may be what your business needs to inspect fully packed boxes and cases, handle a mix of different products to package, or reduce downtime in production. 

   • Assess how much product packaging automation you need in your production line. After all, no two businesses are alike as to needs. This is the reason why it’s critical to scrutinize how much product packaging automation your business truly needs. 

     This step is necessary, especially for small businesses low on funds but have high production demand and the possibility of expansion. This scenario creates the need for product automation. However, this fact also doesn’t mean you should automate every single aspect of product packaging; perhaps you can start with semi-automation of product packaging. 

   • Implement automation in wrapping. One of the most important steps in the product packaging process is wrapping. More than just the aesthetics, it ensures the product is well-sealed and protected. Moreover, wrapping has to be done right to the effect that there’ll be minimal to no product wastage. 

     This is where automation comes in as an advantage. With machines, everything is measured to the dot such that only the quantity of packaging needed is used. With less wastage, business resources and expenses can also be managed efficiently. 

Final Thoughts On Automating Product Packaging

With the information and insights presented above, you are more or less feeling more equipped to handle the changes that a switch to product packaging automation entails. Before jumping right into automation, it is essential to be as prepared as possible. With little knowledge, your business’s move to product automation may be premature. And rather than resulting in significant benefits, it could bring in only more risks and challenges. 

Start little by little, on your own efforts and by taking in the services of quality product packaging automation software. Automating product packaging is the future for all businesses, and it should also be the present for your company to stay competitive!

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