07 January 2016 //
by Jon Jossie
In the personal care industry, it’s common to have multiple bottle sizes and products run on an individual line, which has a significant impact on new packaging equipment design. Although it’s understandable to want packaging equipment to handle anything and everything, real world experience proves there are some limits. Equipment manufacturers need to know exactly what they’re working with, namely the size ranges and the setups required to handle each product.
You can aid equipment manufacturers in determining the best way to manage changeovers by considering these four important factors at the beginning of your project.
1. Products and Package Requirements
Prior to starting the design process, clearly define the products and packages that will run on the equipment by asking:
- Which products and packages are currently running?
- What is the percentage of run time for each product or package?
- Which products and packages will be run in the future?
- What is the average frequency of changeovers and setups?
2. Desired Changeover and Setup Type
There are different types of changeovers and setups:
- Tools required: Requires tools and a person capable of using them. This method is infrequently used.
- Tool-less: Uses handles, hand wheels and pins.
- Change parts: Needs multiple parts – one for each setup – that get changed out from one product or package to another.
- Automated: Uses a setup “recipe,” meaning a particular product is selected from a table and the machine adjusts to fit it. This may be done using servos, small electric actuators, and pneumatic actuators.
- Scales, counters or set points: Usually each company has its own set of standards for what’s desired. It’s important to convey your expectations to the equipment manufacturer.
In most cases equipment will use a combination of changeovers and setups, so costs will increase in proportion to project complexity.
3. Desired Setup and Changeover Time
Taking a holistic approach to changeover and setup time can help decrease equipment costs.
For example, if you have a filling line that takes four hours to clean and changeover from one product to another, is a 10-minute changeover necessary for your secondary packaging line? Asking and answering these types of questions could save you money.
4. Setup and Changeover Equipment Responsibilities
Organizations typically have their own procedures for setup and changeover, and may assign responsibilities to an operator or a maintenance individual. This is important because it may offer opportunities to modify the equipment design to include manual adjustments the designated individual can make while the line is running.
Identifying and sharing this information with the equipment manufacturer is your first step in establishing a successful partnership with them. Contact us to discuss how we can work together to find the best solution for your needs.