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5 Tips for Proper Packaging Machine Maintenance

Packaging machines are essential for businesses that need to safely and securely sell, package, and ship products. Ensuring your equipment performs as intended will reduce time spent packaging items and decreases the likelihood of damage.

What is a packaging machine?

As the name suggests, packaging machines streamline the packaging process for goods of all sizes. From small tabletop units to complete packaging lines, these machines are available for manufacturers and producers across every conceivable industry. 

More often than not, packaging and production both happen at the same facility. Some of the common types of packaging machines you might see include: 

Buying a packaging machine is an important investment. As you review your options, consider the following factors: 

  • How do you want your products packaged? 
  • What phases of the packaging process should be automated? 
  • Will your packaging line service multiple products? 
  • Are you comfortable integrating used or refurbished equipment? 

Knowing the answers to these questions and more before making a decision will give you greater insight regarding the right machine for your needs. It is also important to research the maintenance procedures for each machine to keep your investment at optimal output. 

One unique advantage that packaging machines offer is the greatest possible flexibility to scale to customer-specific requirements and create packaging that can meet various needs. This type of equipment can fulfill many customer satisfaction standards and is often viewed as a key missing component for many businesses. 

The types of machines available will depend on the type of product and package that you need. These machines are curated to fulfill your work requirements. Keeping this in mind, note that each machine can be easily configured for multiple applications. Here we will look at some popular types of machines and what they do:

Bagging Machine

Bagging machines are used to fill and seal pouch containers. These are used for packaging items like candy, vitamins, medical products, personal care goods, and more. The contents inside are typically loose and not fastened in place. 

Banders and Sleevers

Tamper-evident banders are a crucial tactic many product companies use to ensure freshness to the consumer. Without them, someone at the store could open and touch what is inside the container before you purchase it. Especially with contamination-sensitive goods like water-based personal care products, an anti-tamper layer of protection plays a key role in preserving the product’s condition on the shelf. 

Cappers 

Cappers securely fasten caps to bottles. This is especially important for products like carbonated beverages that can go flat prematurely if not sealed the right way. Cappers are also used for pill bottles and any other type of containers that require a secure lid. 

Cotton Inserter

Ever open a pill bottle and find a cotton ball inside? This helps prevent  damage to the contents, which is especially important for medication. This way, the product remains intact and users are not trying to combine broken pieces to meet their correct dosage. Cotton inserters can insert various lengths of cotton into bottles at high speed.

Induction Sealers 

Induction sealers seal bottles with an airtight liner beneath the cap. This tamper-evident measure ensures that a bottle has not been opened prior to the customer purchasing it. The 4KW Pillar Induction Sealer, for example, can accommodate a variety of closure diameters. 

Filling machine

A filling machine is a packaging machine that loads an accurate number of products into different containers. The main types are:

1. Volumetric filling machine – mostly used for liquids. 

2. Weighing filling machine – mostly used for powders. 

3. Counting machine – most common for capsules, softgels, gummies, etc. and especially useful when having to package a precise number of pieces in a container. 

Wrapper

A wrapper machine is a packaging machine that completely or partially encloses the packaging with a flexible packaging material. The main types are:

1. Cover wrap. Includes wrap, cover, body, seam and other wraps.

2. Half wrapped wrapper. Including folding, shrinking, stretching, wrapping and other packaging machines.

Multi-function packaging machine

This type of packaging machine has two or more functions. The main types are:

1. Form fill and seal machine. It has three functions of forming, filling and sealing. Types of molds include bag molding, bottle molding, box molding, blister molding, melt molding and others.

2. Double-sided sealing machine. It can close the lid as well as the bottom. When sealing, the box can be placed or placed sideways.

3. Monoblock Filler. This machine fills and caps like our popular CPT SmartFill Tincture Filling Machine

Shrink wrapping machine

The shrink wrapping machine does not affect the quality of the package, and can shrink quickly and perfectly, after packing. Packages can be sealed, moisture-proofed, made impact-resistant, and is suitable for tight packing and tray packing of multiple items.

These types of packaging machines can be used to shrink-wrap panels like doors and glass panes. They can also be used in the food and beverage industry for drinks, candy, and single-unit snacks. 

You may also find shrink wrapping machines used to package arts and crafts products, hardware tools, daily personal care essentials, chemicals, and more. The packaged articles can be closed, protected from moisture and guarded against external influences. Shrink wrap has a certain cushioning property and it is widely used in the packaging of various small products.

Packaging Machine Maintenance 

Whichever machine you have, you need to ensure it is well taken care of. Maintenance is a form of risk management, and it plays a vital role in preserving optimal productivity.  

To make your maintenance process as efficient as possible, start with developing your procedures beforehand and implement them on a recurring basis. Looking out for system malfunctions is key, as this may indicate a need for replacement or repair. With safeguarding and monitoring, you can conduct the correct maintenance but also be sure that you should keep the machine well-cleaned and operational. 

Periodic maintenance prevents problems, extends the lifespan and saves money. A failure in a packaging machine can cause a complete production line to come to a standstill. Instead of dealing with logistical headaches, developing a sound routine can prevent downtime associated with repair and replacing parts. 

Sometimes, however, a part in a machine is completely worn out because of use or age. If you are able to, it is best practice to have some spare parts on-hand to quickly repair your machine. 

1. Preventive lubrication

The user is responsible for the moving parts of the machine. They must be kept lubricated regularly and provided with a drop of lubricant, as described in the machine manual. If this preventive lubrication is neglected, defects resulting from friction are usually not covered by warranty. 

2. Keep the machine clean 

Periodic cleaning, when done often, can prevent long periods of downtime associated with more intense, less-frequent maintenance. Dirty machines are unpleasant to use and work on. If the machine is covered in dust, dirt, and debris, it may also mask some potential problems with its functionality. 

A simple wipe-down at the end of the workday can make a lasting impact on preventing larger problems later on. 

3. Machine inspection 

Regular inspection is key to ensuring a long lifespan for your machine. If the problem is caught early, it may lead to a timely and inexpensive fix, but the longer the problem lingers on, the higher the price is likely to be. 

Routine inspection will ensure that the machine still produces to the same accuracy and efficiency standard as it did on the first day you bought it. Recurring examination of all machine parts can help reduce repair downtime and drive bottom line savings for your business. 

4. Changing parts regularly 

Packaging machine parts can wear down from recurring use. To ensure that the machine is working to its full potential, you should be well aware that the parts will need changing regularly to avoid any slowing down of the mechanisms or failure altogether. 

If this should occur, it would inhibit the production line and disrupt your workflow. Thus, the parts should only be changed by a highly qualified and trained personnel or a certified service technician. 

To reduce downtime, you should familiarize yourself with the types of parts used on your machines and the process of changing the spare parts.  These parts fall into three categories:

  • High-wear parts. These parts have a short lifecycle.
  • Medium-wear parts: They have a longer life cycle and may or may not ever fail.
  • Low-wear parts: These parts should never fail.

These part changes may coincide with an upgrade for your machine components, in which case you should keep up good communication with your provider to ensure that there is no recommended upgrade needed in the coming months. This will result in a better-performing packaging machine. 

5. Autonomous Maintenance Tasks

Autonomous maintenance tasks involve machine operators performing the maintenance tasks instead of professional technicians. There are different types of benefits that this practice can provide, some of which include: 

  • Increased machine availability: Self-maintenance is an important issue for improving machine availability. By reducing downtime (scheduled and unscheduled shutdowns), the availability of equipment is increased, which makes it possible to reduce production times and be more responsive to changes.
  • Improved operator ownership of the machine: By focusing on machine maintenance, we no longer correct the effects of the problems but the causes. Self-maintenance has an undeniable effect on the stability of the machine’s processes. 
  • Reduced costs related to equipment maintenance: Self-maintenance has a significant impact on reducing maintenance costs since the number of hours of corrective maintenance is reduced. The cost of production shutdowns for preventive maintenance is lower than that of corrective maintenance since shutdowns are planned.
  • Reduced the risk of accidents: The risks of accidents are reduced by better understanding the risks associated with the machine.

The Ultimate Packaging Machine ROI: Selecting the Right One

Though there are many types of packaging machines, selecting the right one that matches your needs is essential to maximizing the return on your investment. To help choose the right one that suits your business operations, please reach out at any time to speak with one of our team members. 

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