20 July 2021 //
Ancillary Equipment Definition
So just what is ancillary equipment? The meaning of “ancillary” is “accessory.” The term refers to any supplementary part or process. For example, certain companies may offer optional ancillary benefits to their employees in addition to the ones they already provide. In retail, a shop that sells printers might also sell ink cartridges or computer paper, which would be considered the shop’s ancillary products.
In the packaging industry, ancillary can describe equipment of any type. As long as it is an addition to the main component, both a piece of machinery and its parts are ancillary.
Either of the following could be ancillary, depending on the nature of your project:
- An individual part that attaches to the packaging line, such as a glue dispenser, a conveyor or a reject station.
- A whole packaging line built by combining many smaller pieces of equipment. Because it is made up of ancillary equipment, the line itself is considered ancillary.
In addition, where you buy your equipment can impact what is considered ancillary for your project. Whether you purchase everything from one vendor or choose to buy pieces from various vendors can determine what is considered ancillary equipment.
What ancillary equipment is best for you depends on your goals and objectives. As a general rule, whatever you use to supplement your process’s main objective or the main piece of equipment is your ancillary equipment. Here are a few ancillary equipment examples in different processes to clarify what we mean.
Automated Palletizing Process
There are several different methods for automated palletizing, including low-level, high-level, drop and robot. Whichever one you choose will make up your main component. The ancillary equipment would be whatever additional components you might need. For example, you may decide to turn two lines into one, which will require ancillary conveyors. You may also want to add ancillary labelers or barcode scanners.
Automated Case Loading Process
You might already be starting this project with some equipment, like a case erector and tapers. Or you might not have any equipment. The ancillary equipment needed for each scenario is a little different.
The customer that needs only the case loader will need ancillary conveyors for case transport and labelers. The customer who currently does it all by hand will need a case erector, taper, conveyors and labelers, all of which may be ancillary equipment.
Shrink-Wrapped Products on Trays
There are many different ways to wrap flat products, but this project’s scope includes some sort of tray forming, tray loading and shrink-wrapping are all included in the scope. However, this doesn’t mean everything is automated. So, in this instance, your ancillary equipment may be a tray erector, a tray loader, a labeler, a tray printer, a scale or a set of conveyors for transport. Generally, the larger the scope of this type of project, the fewer the possibilities for ancillaries. Similarly, the more automated the project becomes, the fewer ancillaries there will be.
Food and Beverage Packing
Food and beverage packaging involves a lot of different machinery, but for now, let’s focus on the very end of the line. Your main component might be the machine you use to box your product. If you want an easy way to clean that equipment, you might add a Clean-Out-Of-Place (COP) washer as an ancillary. You could also add labeling equipment, barcode scanners and extra conveyors to create a one-stop shop for every additional step in the process. In this example, every supplementary piece of machinery counts as an ancillary because it is an addition to the main equipment.
Automated Packing of Bagged Products
Here’s another end-of-line example. Let’s say you package your product in bags. In that case, the machine that puts the product in the bag would be the main component. If you sell your product in bulk, you could add a collator to gather bags together and then add conveyor belts to transport each group of bags to a wrapping machine. All of those additional machines, including the conveyor system, would be the ancillaries to your bagging machine.
However, if those pieces came together as part of a complete system, none of them would be ancillary. They would simply be parts of the main machine.
Ancillary Packaging Equipment Increases Efficiency
If you need certain functionalities that aren’t already part of your current machinery, adding ancillaries to your line helps to streamline packaging processes. It takes more time and steps to move a product from the bagging machine to the wrapping machine and then to the labeling machine before it’s finally ready to be shipped.
You can cut your total packing time by a significant degree just by putting different pieces of ancillary equipment together. For example, adding an ancillary conveyor belt between your bagging machine and your wrapping machine eliminates the task of physically moving products from one place to the next. Integrating a labeler and barcode scanner to the end of the wrapping machine further optimizes the procedure by labeling the product and scanning it into the system immediately upon finishing the wrapping stage.
Shop EDL’s Ancillary Options
At EDL, we provide top-tier ancillary equipment in addition to engineering and building secondary packaging equipment. You can easily combine our ancillaries with other EDL equipment to create a complete system or production line. Browse our selection of specialty and ancillary equipment to find the pieces you need.
Need some ancillary guidance? Contact us online or call us at 920-336-7744 today to see how we can help.