26 February 2016 //
What if your packaging equipment is actually costing you money instead of saving you money? While modern technologies have continued to improve packaging processes across all industries, there are some basic principles you need to adhere to. Taking a step back to analyze these basic packaging decisions will ensure that you’re not making mistakes that result in wasted money.
Mistake #1 – Over-specifying the Need for Equipment Flexibility
When purchasing a new packaging equipment line, focus on your core product line and capabilities rather than attempting to purchase a do-it-all machine with all the bells and whistles. Work with your manufacturer to fully understand your processes so the right equipment can be implemented – and you’re not stuck with excess features you don’t need. The cheapest machine is often not the best, and the same goes for the most expensive machine.
Mistake #2 – Using Improper Film Gauges / Sizing
When choosing packaging films, more is not always better. Today’s technologies provide lower-gauge polyethylene films with multiple layers that can provide equivalent strength with less total material required than higher-gauge films. It’s important to know that automatically jumping to a heavy gauge doesn’t always correct film gauge issues, and throwing additional film at an issue can quickly add costs to the equipment and materials.
Be cautious of film providers that are quick to push a higher-gauge film to make more revenue. Not only do higher film gauges increase material costs, they can also drastically slow down the sealing process and alter the shrink process on packaging equipment.
For example, switching to a higher-gauge film can either slow down your line by requiring additional shrink time, or require more energy by turning up the temperature on the shrink tunnel. As you can see, it’s imperative to do the proper homework up-front so you’re not adding excess to the packaging machine and wasting money on extra film thicknesses.
Mistake #3 – Bypassing the FAT or Installation
A tailored packaging machine can have a lot of unique features, and each type of product is going to affect how the equipment works. Skipping the Factory Authorized Test (FAT) or installation by a factory-trained technician opens you up to problems down the road. Also, never bypass the installation option when purchasing tailored packaging equipment; nobody knows the packaging equipment better than a trained service technician, and you’ll save money by doing the proper work on the front end.
Mistake #4 –Improper or Deferred Preventative Maintenance
Just as your car will need an oil change every 3,000 – 5,000 miles, packaging equipment with moving parts needs to be properly maintained to avoid costly downtime. Spend a little time doing the proper research and choose a manufacturer that offers proper preventive maintenance services and spare parts to help ensure your packaging machine continues to run efficiently.
Also, check to see if the manufacturer offers programs that incentivize equipment maintenance, such as EDL’s Seal Jaw Repair Program that provides seal jaw inspection, repair and testing with no labor charge.
When selecting your next packaging equipment solution, avoid these mistakes to ensure you’re choosing the most practical, cost-effective piece of equipment available, and making film and maintenance decisions that will save you time and money. The experts at EDL are always available to help you make the best choice for your needs, so don’t hesitate to reach out!