What is the “State of the Art” with Packaging Machines? – Industry Research
PR Model Cartoner
Bologna Museum of Industrial Patrimonio
Industry Research: Packaging Machine and the “State-of-the-Art”
Packaging machines have been evolving during the past decades or even centuries, ever since the Italian packaging machine manufacturer built its very first set of PR model Cartoner Machine (now still on display at the “Patrimonio Industriale” museum of Bologna) 70 years ago in 1956, packaging machines from primary packaging to tertiary packaging have changed over than they ever were before.
Nowadays, the requirements of end users are no longer about just only the fulfillment of automation, but more about user-friendliness, ergonomics, smart approaches and in general and overall the “State-of-the-Art”
In this blog, we talk about what are the modern approaches to designing and building packaging machines and how to achieve the “State-of-the-Art” with these masterpieces integrated with electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, and computer-programing technologies.
What is “State-of-the-Art”?
Henry Harrison Suplee, an engineering graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, was the first guy who put forward the word, which, rather than performing or fine arts, refers to the status of well-done technics and a high level of development.
What is the “State-of-the-Art” with Packaging Machines?
The ultimate goal of a business that installs a packaging machine is to facilitate its production with automation that ensures performance, efficiency, and as well as experience.
With such expectations given and toward which packaging machine manufacturers around the world are striving to achieve, the “state-of-the-art” with packaging machine is no more than:
- High level of performance
- Smart Control and Flexibility
- User-Friendliness, experience and safety
- Smart Changeover with servo-technology
- Less tedious mechanical maintenance
To put it in a word, it is all about “less parts to handle and more smart technology that facilitates”, so that people’s work at a manufacturing facility can be easier.
Just like what John Kirk, vice president of business development at Robert Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc., once quoted in his interview with PharmTech:
High Level of Performance
“Get more and shorter time” is the key concern here with a packaging machine’s performance.
While an excellent metric what people may expect for a cartoning machine is just around 100 cartons per minute some 20 years ago, the current figure and performance of those high-end cartoning machines by the world’s leading packaging machine manufacturer is now capable of reaching an incredibly 1000 cartons per minute, which is almost 10 times faster then it was in the past.
The benefits brought by high performance is that manufacturers no longer have to expand their production facility with more lines installed to meet the expected output. Admittedly, a high-end packaging machine costs more money than the rest, yet by achieving a high standard of output the end user saves costs by avoiding the leasing of more facilities, employment of more people, and as well as subsequent management cost.
Smart Control and Flexibility
The “state-of-the-art” with modern packaging machines in terms of control and flexibility is the application of IoT (Internet of Things) together with the teleservice option to allow remote diagnostics and control.
As it is suggested by Packaging Digest, this is not a faddish trend, however, will be prevailing in the long term. Companies either the end-user or the manufacturers are benefiting from the remote approaches with packaging machines now that:
- Manufacturers no longer need to dispatch service technicians to travel all over the globe for after-sales support. All things about technical problems, if allowed, can be settled in-house through clicks with the computer for remote control and diagnostics.
- End-user no longer has to wait for the arrival of assigned service technicians, during time when they are suffering from downtime and with their production paralyzed. With this remote technology, they do not need to pay travel, accommodation, and commissioning fees for the on-site service.
Mixed Reality Allows Remote Technical Support
Courtesy of Packaging Digest
Another benefit of with is that with remote control the end-user will always have access to the status of the machine and have it within their control in terms of when to start and stop, and speed.
User-Friendliness, Better Experience and Hygiene
The use of servo technology, especially the multiaxis servo system, has unshackled mechanical engineer’s tedious tasks of transmission system design and relieved their energy to focus on packaging machines with a simpler structure and more friendly user experience for those technicians who will be handling and operating the machine at client’s facility.
An Example of HMI
ELITER Packaging Machinery
The multi-axis servo technology obviates the operator’s dull and tedious work dealing with countless of screws, sprockets, gears, and chains with spanners. The most advanced servo-control technology now allows people to carry out the tasks of size and format changeover through only a finger touch on the HMI, which is the recently popular automatic smart changeover with servo technology. Such a “State-of-the-art” approach to the size changeover enhances flexibility as well as minimizes downtime and the time wasted on manual work dealing with mechanical parts. Or at least, there would be some saved recipes for quick settings and configuration when switching from one product to another.
Another innovation with this state-of-the-art packaging machine design is that the multi-axis servo and modular structure allows the engineer to develop machines with balcony, drop-through or cantilevered construction so as to improve hygienics and ergonomics. Either balcony design or drop-through design can minimize the horizontal surfaces on the machine and thus avoid airflow throughout it to avoid the accumulation of dust and dirt.
What’s beyond there?
Packaging World once commented, “Packaging continues to climb the ladder of importance in organizations globally“. The further of packaging and packaging automation will be to enhance packaging sustainable goals with the support of these innovations, new science, and technology. The future “state-of-the-art” packaging machines and automation will not be only about machines themselves, yet will reach further to packaging. The factor will be about renewable resources, biodegradable packaging materials and the sustainable impact of packaging on the supply chain.
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-  6 Options for Remote Packaging Machine Servicing, John R. Henry, May 13, 2020, Packaging Digest, https://www.packagingdigest.com/automation/6-options-remote-packaging-machine-servicing
-  Packaging: A key driver for the future, Mike Richmond, Jan 27, 2012, https://www.packworld.com/home/blog/13359262/packaging-a-key-driver-for-the-future
-  State-of-the-Art Packaging Machines, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe-11-01-2004, Volume 16, Issue 11, https://www.pharmtech.com/view/state-art-packaging-machines-0