5 Tough Questions to Ask Yourself When Evaluating Secondary Packaging Equipment

05 June 2015 //

Packaging System Upgrade

In today’s world where everyone wants immediate satisfaction and results, we have seemingly forgotten how to ask ourselves the right questions. We much prefer to be general in our questions and answers. However, we need to be asking ourselves the tough questions in order to achieve the best solution to our problems or challenges. Say you need to dig a hole in your front yard. There are many ways to do it, but very seldom is a bulldozer the best solution. It is no different with specifying your packaging needs.

Secondary packaging machines come in all shapes and sizes, and can wrap and collate a variety of product sizes and shapes. And while everyone would all like to have a one-size-fits-all solution for their packaging needs, we need to understand that there is no such solution. There can only be the best possible solution given someone’s particular need.

A common question we hear when someone is looking for a price quote is, “I just need to find out how much this is going to cost.” And instead of gathering all the information on the products they would like to run, the person only provides information on a single product or a general range. Although this is enough information for a price and a rough idea of what they might need, it will likely lead to more questions and problems later on in the project.

To help you evaluate your secondary packaging equipment needs, below are five questions to think about, and the reasons for doing so:

1. Is This a Long-term Solution or a Short-term Solution?

The truth is that it’s not about how long the machine(s) needs to last, but about the usefulness of the machine(s) in the future. For some clients this isn’t an issue since they produce the same products today as they did 25 years ago. For others, it may be about finding a solution that can be adapted to accommodate future product sizes and shapes. You can always try and build the never-ending adjustment into a solution, but sometimes it’s just about leaving the possibilities there for the future.

2. What are the Real Goals of the Project: Appearance, Enclosure, Waste, Environmental?

In instances where you have multiple goals, it’s best to rate them in order of importance. This gives everyone the ability to figure out the best solution.

If your goal is collation size, it’s important to not just identify the particular collations you want, but what is driving the use of those collations. This may be by quantity, pallet fit, product orientation, size or weight. It might be that you picked a particular collation depending on how you thought the product would fit on a pallet, however the packaging equipment manufacturer may have a better palletizing solution.

3. What is the Product Size?

The size of the products does matter. While it’s easy to just write down a range, in most cases that will not get you what you’re looking for. Taking just a brief bit more time up front will get you the best solution. Most companies have specific-size products they make – let the machine designers decide if you gave them too much information.

4. Do You Really Need to Run at the Speeds You’re Asking For?

Were the speeds you asked for reality or were they just a wish?

Speeds help to determine what type of a machine(s) that will be used and ultimately what type of components will be used in your project. Can you really fill the 12 oz. container as fast as a 32 oz. container, or can you really make a 6-inch-high stack as fast as a 12-inch-high stack? Doing the homework up front will make for the best solution possible.

5. Does Weight Matter?

Yes, weight does matter. When moving products from one place to another, weight is a big factor in figuring out the best ways to do it. Weight, along with speed, might be the difference between needing a servomotor and using an air cylinder.

While it’s hard to slow down in today’s world, taking the time to ask yourself the right question and pull together some additional details will not only help you save time in the long run, it will also enable you to get exactly what you need the first time.

If you’re considering a secondary packaging solution, be sure to ask yourself these five questions and then contact us. We’ll be more than happy to help you find the solution that will fit your needs.