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Is your packaging equipement efficient?

Last update: 23 February 2016
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Categories: Equipment, Technical

Here are the top 5 signs of a diminishing packaging equipment performance.

1. The volume of stretch wrap purchases increases for no obvious reason

You have noticed that you have been ordering more stretch warp, yet your production rate remains unchanged and your bookings are relatively stable. Two things may have happened. The first could be that the settings of your machine were accidentally modified by an employee. Instead of following standard operation, it now performs more cycles, which explains the increased wrap consumption. The second could be that the frequency of maintenance is not appropriate. In fact, when maintenance programs are not strictly followed, packaging machines becomes less efficient in the pre-stretching phase. Thus, a packaging machine initially programmed to pre-stretch 250% may not exceed 150% if it is not adequately maintained. This results in an over-consumption of stretch wrap and unnecessary expenses of some several thousand dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars per year, depending on the volume of palettes shipped.

2. The film tears frequently

It is common and understandable to put the blame on the film, claiming that it has a manufacturing defect. However, this is often not the case. It could be that the machine is not applying the proper tension to the film when the following conditions are not met:

  • The tension rollers are not properly installed and balanced;
  • The tension rollers have imperfections (notches or other).

In addition, the choice of film may also be involved . It should be selected according to the shape of the load, the type of product, the wrapping configuration, storage conditions, and several other factors. If the film is not adapted to the conditions that it will be subjected to, it is possible that it will break.

3. Palettes that collapse during transport or handling

Loss of merchandise during transport or handling is frequently due to faulty packaging. Several conditions may come into play (packaging components and configuration, packaging processes, free space in the trailer, etc.). Sometimes the problem is due to the fact that the film has not been properly applied by the packaging machine, due to lack of tension or a mechanical problem. The contention strength is then insufficient and therefore the load is unstable. In this case, it is tempting to increase the number of cycles to apply more film. But this results in an over-packaging situation which isn’t necessarily more reliable. If damage is important for your organisation, the thing to do is to have the performance of your packaging and your machine evaluated. An efficient packaging machine and well-thought-out film selection will protect your merchandise up to its final destination.

4. The packaging machine movements lack fluidity

This is a clear sign that there is a mechanical problem, and therefore inevitably, a decline in the machine’s performance. These problems can appear on several levels, including these frequently observed cases:

  • Reduction in speed of the rotation table (for turntables );
  • Jerking at the table level;
  • Unusual noises from engine, cart or table;
  • Incorrect detection of product height.

5. Frequent production shutdowns and high maintenance costs

One of the major problems of a performance decline is the complete shutdown of the machine which creates a bottleneck at the end of the line and a production slowdown. This requires a “reactive” solution in order to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. It is important to evaluate if this is occurring more frequently in your organization. It is possibly a sign that the equipment has come to the end of its useful life, which means considerable cost to the company (maintenance, delivery delays, etc.). Preventive interventions can diminish these types of situations, and is recommended two to three times a year. This maintenance frequency can extend the life of a machine up to 20 years.

You have doubts about the performance of your equipment? Ask our experts for an evaluation!

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