Much of our everyday product consumption can be summed up in this one phrase: “It’s all in the label.” That goes for our household staples like canned goods or even for the medicines that many of us take daily. The labels clarify what the product is, what it’s made of, and how it should be used by consumers. On the other hand, the packaging ensures that the product hits the shelves in a safe and secure manner, all while also calling attention to what’s inside the box.
If you’re in the manufacturing business yourself, then you must already know how important the packaging and labeling processes are in the production line. While historically, these processes have been among the most challenging aspects of manufacturing and supply chain management, the automation of labeling and packaging practices has eventually transformed the way businesses prepare and distribute their products to consumers. Especially in the bigger corporations, automated packaging and labeling technologies have afforded significant boosts to factory operations, efficiency of logistics, and business productivity at large.
To give you a better idea about the important role that automation plays in the business of manufacturing and distributing goods, we present you with this short briefer on how it works, its many advantages, and what its applications
How It Works: Packaging and Labeling in the Production Line
When automated packaging and labeling machinery are employed in a factory, they follow three stages in the production line. These are: the front stage, where the materials to be packaged and labeled are conveyed into the production line; the middle stage, where the products are labeled and tucked into their respective packaging; and the end stage, where the labeled and packaged products are readied for shipping to suppliers.
Each machine in the automated line serves a particular purpose. Factories commonly use specialized equipment like labelers, case packers, depalletizers, and unitizers in the three various stages. The individual machine components that are responsible for automation comprise the human-machine interfaces (HMIs), sensors, motion solutions (e.g.precision XY linear stages, rotary stages, and conveyor systems),and corresponding motion control devices.
For this purpose, automation guarantees consistency and precision in labeling and packaging. Moreover, human resources are freed up for other vital processes. For instance, factory personnel can dedicate less time to tedious manual work, and more time to functions where human presence is crucial, such as quality checking and control. In addition, control of the process can be ensured from more access points in the factory via remote monitoring of the machinery.
Advantages and Applications
Automated packaging and labeling thus increases productivity and heightens efficiency in the logistics process. It also closes the margin of human error, which can lead to ballooning expenses for product recalls, wastage of production materials, and overhead costs.
The end goals of an automated labeling and packaging process are: more efficient use of less material, a greater volume of items produced at a faster rate, more economical packaging processes, and a guaranteed consistent flow of everyday factory operations.
But in the age of more environmentally conscious manufacturing, automation also proves a more environmentally friendly option. The precise and effectual technologies also lessen greenhouse gas emissions for individual companies, thus minimize their carbon footprints.
Popular applications for automated labeling and packaging are endless. These cover food and beverage products like bottled jams and spreads, medicine canisters and boxes, cosmetics products like lipstick and powder, and nutraceutical products like health supplements.
As you can imagine, automation is adaptable to any business type. The technologies are now in much more popular usage than in the early decades of manufacturing. Thus, these solutions are now much more widespread, affordable, and customizable based on the company’s needs.
Packaging and label automation is just one of the processes we can expect to see more of in the future, even in fledgling industries. The key is to combine the technology with successful product design and superior supply chain management. This is the sure way toward improved business efficiency