Nowadays, industrial packaging systems seem to be more high-tech than ever before. The technology driving automation in End-of-Line process equipment is constantly evolving, and for good reason. It helps companies to meet the markets’ increasingly volatile demand and solve labour shortage issues, just to name a few. In fact, automation is making robots a more integral component because of the contributions they’re making to the overall efficiency and productivity of today’s processing and packaging lines.
Automating a processing line may sound daunting to some, however with its numerous benefits, including improved efficiency and decreased costs, automation may be the right choice. How can your End-of-Line benefit from automation & robotics? Let’s find out together.
Solve the Issue of Rising Demand and Labour Shortage
The growth and prosperity of the middle class population will cause the demand of mass production of food to grow exponentially. However, the supply of blue-collar workers is shrinking in many developed countries, as one article has noted. When labour shortages arise, food processing companies may struggle to keep up with the rising demand. This has been a constant issue, even before the pandemic and the significant impact it brought, such as social distancing in the workplace and the supply-chain crisis for nonperishable foods as people started to buy in bulk.
The food production industry has typically been labour-intensive, especially the end-of-line packing. It’s quite common to see rows of people at the end of the line, inspecting products and packing it into cartons and boxes. This calls for efficient and innovative custom automation solutions to satisfy the increasing demand, while also finding ways to improve productivity and reduce manual labour.
Reduce Cost and Increase Efficiency
There is no doubt that automating your processes can greatly enhance your productivity and efficiency, leading to a better ROI. To illustrate, let’s compare the associated cost of a manual 1500-box operation with using just one machine to automate the task of setting up boxes. With manual labour, you need 3 workers, working at 3 hours/day each. Say if their hourly rate is $18/hour, and they work 5 days a week. This translates to $38,880 annual cost.
Compare this cost to installing a case erector machine or other industrial packaging machines, which can be easily integrated into your production line. It needs 1.25 hours to yield the same output, and it can be programmed to pre-tape the bottoms of boxes at the same time. In addition, these machines can easily be enhanced to produce 3 to 4 times its normal capacity, should the need arise. When compared with the cost of labor required to complete the same task, it becomes clear that automation & robotics offer distinct benefits with solid ROI numbers.
Enhanced Safety and Reduces Errors
The risk of injuries are relatively high for blue-collar workers in a manufacturing environment. Back injuries from manually wrapping pallet loads, carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive motion during package assembly, and injuries due to the lack of safety guards on older equipment, are all commonly found among them over an extended period of manual labour. While training the people who will be using the machinery should also be an important part of the equation, this problem can be addressed with updated packaging equipment. By ensuring that the solution is matched to the specific requirements of a given line, custom automation solutions can deliver safety for your employees.
Furthermore, letting automated packaging equipment perform end-of-line processes reduces the room for human errors. In food industries, package seal integrity, and the accuracy of product inspection, checkweighing, and labeling is highly crucial to comply with regulations. A simple human error could quickly turn into a product recall announcement and PR disaster – a true nightmare scenario for brand managers.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes can take advantage of the labor, safety, and cost-saving benefits that result from automated systems engineering, thus remaining competitive and gaining market share After reading this article, pay close attention to your End-of-Line processes – does there seem to be a bottleneck around one station? Is there a concentration of workers idling around? These could be opportunities where automated packaging could help you improve your throughput. Proactively check your entire packaging operation today for any potential safety hazards and eliminate the issue by automating your processes.
At Aurora Process, we are happy to assist you in unlocking your Process Potential, as we aim to give way for businesses to take advantage of everyday automation with confidence. We are specialists in end-of-line process equipment, such as bag filling machine and pallet automation systems. We have worked closely with a variety of clients and industries – including grain & seed, food & dairy, growers, stock-feed, fertiliser, and cement manufacturers. Get in touch with us today and discover how you can improve your processing lines.