Industry 4.0, cobots and new processing methods are all revolutionizing today’s packaging operations—and packaging engineers are eager to learn what they can to leverage these technologies.
Packaging machines—large and small—make most consumer packaged goods possible. If a product cannot be efficiently manufactured, its sales will be limited and its life will be cut short. Automatic packaging lines—and the machines linked together to create a line—produce products at a rate that makes them viable in the marketplace.
Most packaging lines have three distinct sections: the front of the line (getting product and packaging materials to the line); middle of the line (getting the product into the package); and end of the line (getting the packaged product ready for shipping). The machines used at each point of the line vary by task, from depalletizers and orienters to fillers and labelers to case packers and unitizers.
The sale of manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic packaging machines is big business. The size of the global packaging machinery market is expected to increase to $41.8 billion by 2017, up an annual 4.6% from $33.4 billion in 2013, according to market research firm Freedonia Group.
Automation aids—such as human/machine interfaces (HMIs), sensors and motion-control devices—help control, monitor and improve the efficiency of the machines on a packaging line. Packaging Digest presents here the latest machinery components, technologies and equipment designed to help engineers get the most out of their packaging systems.