05 January 2017 //
by Jarlath Harkin
Preparing to upgrade your shrink wrap machine and install it into an existing packaging line may seem straightforward, but it can potentially lead to delays if not approached correctly.
Before deciding on any new packaging equipment, you first need to evaluate how the machine will affect your entire packaging process and whether it may also be time to reassess the overall design and style of your packaging. If you decide the time is right, here are some guidelines to follow when preparing for a new shrink wrap machine:
DO: Ensure potential supplier partners have an opportunity to fully analyze your application and understand the prioritized list of criteria.
When placing a piece of equipment into an existing line there’s a risk supplier partners will feel there’s less scope and opportunity in developing an optimal solution, compared to when an entirely new line or process is implemented. By informing the supplier about the broader scope of things, you’ll help your supplier better help you.
DON’T: Take for granted that the new equipment will have the same operating methods or parts as your old equipment.
Even if you’re purchasing a new shrink wrap machine from the same manufacturer as the equipment you’re replacing, it’s highly likely that there have been significant changes to the method of operation, the Human Machine Interface, and many of the parts used for the equipment. Communicating with your shrink wrap machine manufacturer ahead of time to understand the new machine’s operating methods can help you prepare for and implement any necessary actions.
DO: Take the opportunity to revisit methods and materials.
When upgrading or replacing your shrink wrap machine, take time to assess areas that could improve line performance or reduce costs. This can often be done through implementation of new or alternative packaging materials, such as bundling or tray wrapping.
DO: Verify and update line layout drawings, functional specifications, and operating and maintenance procedures.
It’s a pretty sure bet your new equipment will have more detail available in terms of drawings and other documentation compared to the equipment you’re replacing. As such, make the most of this opportunity to improve overall documentation of your line.
DON’T: Over-specify the new shrink wrap machine so potential suppliers can’t leverage their experience to improve overall line efficiency.
Allow for discussion or brainstorming alternatives. While you must ultimately live with the new equipment, it’s possible a fresh set of eyes on your line and equipment setup could introduce some fresh ideas for a more optimized layout.
DO: Plan to undertake performance optimization on the entire line as part of the new equipment installation.
When installing a new piece of secondary packaging equipment, it’s likely upstream and downstream equipment will be affected in some way. As such, there may be opportunities to address some operational concerns or improve overall line speed or efficiency.
DON’T: Assume that potential supplier partners are as familiar with your existing line and upstream/downstream processes as you are.
While you may have a good understanding of the drivers for getting new equipment, it’s likely your equipment supplier doesn’t. By not taking the time to fill them in, you may be missing opportunities to address concerns that may not be obvious to anyone who hasn’t lived with the line for several years.
Are you ready for packaging equipment installation? Download our worksheet that will help you plan a successful and efficient install.