Some companies might be reluctant to adopt automated solutions due to the upfront costs of new equipment or employee training. Automated packaging can have big benefits. New technology makes it possible to automate even more of the steps.
These are five advantages of automated packaging lines
1. Extra (or Improved) Quality Control
Automation solutions were not always strong enough to automate quality control of packaging lines. Instead, humans were left with the repetitive and tedious task of inspecting all products.
This is changing with the advancement of technology, especially machine vision using AI (artificial intelligence), which allows computers to “see” human errors just like humans. Modern quality control systems have been designed to catch almost all errors and make no mistakes.
The automated quality assurance (QA), our quality control system, works tirelessly. This means that their ability to detect errors will not wane or wax over the course of a shift. This can be combined with other automated equipment to ensure consistent packaging and long-lasting productivity.
2. Increased Production Speed
Companies can significantly increase their production speed and product throughput by using the right automation solution. An automated bagging machine can bag products much faster and more safely than an average employee.
Automated food packaging systems are able to multitask and fold multiple steps in the packaging process, such as sealing and labeling, into one step. These solutions not only free up one worker but can also allow for multiple employees. These technologies are able to increase speed and enable packaging companies to shift staff to tasks that need human workers or simply benefit from the human touch like picking, shipping, receiving, and picking.
These automated systems can improve consistency and reduce errors during packaging.
Although speed increases can vary depending on the packaging type and process, all packaging lines can take advantage of the consistent output provided by automated systems. This reduces labor costs and frees up labor for the packaging line. The packaging line can also be automated to increase productivity and profitability.
3. Higher Ergonomics, Lower Risk of Injury to Employees
It’s common for employees in manufacturing and packaging to be required to do repetitive tasks for long periods of time. This makes it easy for them to develop work-related musculoskeletal diseases (MSDs), also known as ergonomic injuries.
These injuries are the most common within the industry and account for one-third of all workplace injury claims, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries often require more than a week to heal.
Reduced repetitive work can help employees reduce their MSD risk. Because repetitive tasks are often tedious or repetitive, process automation systems can be a great choice. It’s possible to increase productivity and decrease injury risk by swapping out workers for machines in repetitive steps.
4. Lower labor costs
Packaging companies are starting to feel the effects of a more competitive labor market. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point in the US, and consumer demand continues to rise. There are more employment options, which drive up wages and ultimately increase labor costs.
Automation is one possible solution. Automating as much packaging as possible can help companies ensure that workers only get hired when they are required and then eliminate workers from the process when they’re not needed.
5. Access to information is improved
Designers of packaging line automation systems are placing greater emphasis on the design of HMIs. This improved HMI can make it easier to manage and access information about individual machines and packaging lines.
This shift towards better information access comes at a moment when system designers are less focused on individual machines but more on integrated and turnkey solutions for packaging line automation. Workers will be able to access information through an individual HMI and may also have access to data and analytics from the entire process of packaging, which can help them make informed decisions.
These machines are also easier to use with standardized HMIs, which reduces the amount of training required for workers to use them.
Product manufacturers can reap the benefits of packaging robots. These systems reduce the risk of ergonomic injuries and allow workers to shift to more valuable tasks. These systems can increase productivity and quality control, which in turn will lead to higher profitability over the long term.