Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on June 9th, 2022

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The Importance Of Packaging Machinery Predictive Maintenance

Equipment | Technical Service and Support

While you may not be familiar with the term predictive maintenance, it is an essential consideration for your packaging machinery.


When it comes to packaging machinery maintenance, most people think of preventive maintenance (also commonly referred to as preventative maintenance).


While this is fair and makes sense, as preventive maintenance is one of the most important aspects of keeping your packaging machinery running correctly, predictive maintenance may be equally important.


Predictive maintenance allows you to address problems before they happen. By working in tandem with regular preventative maintenance, strong predictive maintenance protocols will help keep your machinery running.


And together, they will help you achieve the lowest amount of downtime possible while allowing you to make quicker adjustments and parts replacement when needed.


But, what is predictive maintenance? How does it work? And how can you use predictive maintenance on your packaging line to ensure that your packaging equipment stays in peak condition?


Today, we will define predictive maintenance and explain how it can help you to run a world-class packaging line with as little downtime as possible.


What Is Predictive Maintenance For Packaging Machinery?


What Is Predictive Maintenance For Packaging Machinery?


Predictive maintenance (also known simply as PdM) for packaging machinery is a type of preventative maintenance. Through predictive maintenance, your machinery and its related assets are closely monitored through manual or computerized processes that allow you to predict when the machinery or associated assets will need maintenance or repair.


Why Is Predictive Maintenance For Packaging Machinery Important?


Predictive maintenance is essential in keeping your packaging machinery and, by extension, your packaging lines up and running.


This is because predictive maintenance allows you to replace parts or make repairs before they become a problem.


For example, let's say that you have two competing consumer goods companies. Company A and Company B. Company A does not implement predictive maintenance or any type of preventative maintenance.


When a packaging machine on their line goes down, they shut down, contact a service technician and allow the downtime, whatever it may be, until the problem is solved and then start running again.


As part of their preventative maintenance strategy, company B has implemented a predictive maintenance plan that allows them to monitor irregularities in things like vibrations, AMPs, voltage, RPM speeds, and other related dynamics for each piece of machinery on their packaging line.


When there is an irregularity, company B tracks the machine's performance and monitors the performance against baseline metrics they created based on how the machine should run under normal conditions.


Based on the metrics they have concluded to be the proper numbers for their equipment, company B can identify a problematic part on one of their machines.


The way the part is performing based on the metrics they are recording in contrast to the part's expected baseline performance allows them to identify and then adjust or replace the part before it fails.


While company B does incur some downtime, it is planned and is much less downtime than that experienced by company A.


Company B saves thousands of dollars a year in downtime alone while also reaping other cost savings from not having to shut their packaging machinery down for extended periods.


They can meet the needs of their customers in a more timely fashion than company A and are often chosen over company A because of the higher performance that predictive maintenance allows them to achieve.


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How Do You Do Predictive Maintenance On Packaging Machinery?


There are a couple of different ways to do predictive maintenance on your packaging machinery. For example, some types of packaging machinery have computerized predictive maintenance systems built into them. With these computerized systems, the machine will automatically track the required metrics needed to identify problems.


When the computer finds irregularities within the metrics for the machine's components that it is tracking, it will notify the operator of the anomalies about where these problems are taking place.


From here, maintenance technicians can use the data collected from the machinery to identify if a part needs to be replaced or a repair needs to occur.


But, not all packaging machinery has these computerized predictive maintenance capabilities built into them. And while there are some types of machinery to which these items may be augmented, this is not always the case.


This is especially true for older equipment. So, how do you implement predictive maintenance for machinery that does not have computerized predictive maintenance capabilities?


The easiest way to do this is to work with a certified packaging machinery technician. They will be able to identify the required metrics to track such as vibrations, voltage, and the other necessary metrics to keep an eye on.


From here, they can set up a baseline for the proper functionality of your machinery and help you to set up a process to manually track the performance metrics of your equipment in an excel sheet.


When the numbers manually recorded in the excel sheet begin to move away from the baseline of proper functioning equipment, you will be able to identify potentially problematic areas of the machinery and make changes based on that data.


These changes may include making tweaks, repairs, or replacements before a part fails or the machine breaks down. With these predictive maintenance protocols in place, you will be able to drastically decrease the amount of downtime you experience on your packaging line.


This will result in notable cost savings and other significant decreases in related and soft costs.


What Types Of Packaging Machinery Can Benefit From Predictive Maintenance?


While all packaging machinery can benefit from predictive maintenance, there are some types of packaging machinery that will require it to a greater degree.


Some kinds of packaging machinery are more prone to breaking down and causing downtime than others. For example, automation world magazine conducted a poll with a large group of CPGs (consumer packaged goods companies).


The poll, which interviewed manufacturing managers at various CPGs, asked interviewees which type of packaging machinery is most likely to suffer downtime.


According to those polled, form, fill, and seal machines were rated by the managers as the most likely to break down. So if you are running form, fill, and seal machines, predictive maintenance may prove invaluable to keeping your machinery running and preventing excessive downtime.


With that being said, the report above explains how predictive maintenance can help an array of packaging machinery types to run better, longer, and with the least amount of downtime possible.


At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself, how much downtime can your company afford in today's climate? And is it worth taking the risk to avoid implementing predictive maintenance as part of your preventative maintenance plan?


If you are unsure how to answer that question, it would be in your best interest to speak with a packaging technician to see how much downtime and money predictive maintenance could save your business.


Need Help With Predictive Maintenance For Packaging Machinery?


After reading this article, you should understand what predictive maintenance is and why it is important for your packaging machinery.


You should also have a good idea if implementing predictive maintenance for your packaging machinery is something you want to do.


But, you probably have more questions about predictive maintenance for your packaging machinery and how to go about doing it correctly.


Or, perhaps you are interested in a complete preventive maintenance program that includes predictive maintenance for your packaging line and related machinery. Regardless of your questions about predictive maintenance for packaging machinery, we have your back!


If you would like more information about the proper implementation of preventive and predictive maintenance for your packaging machinery, please contact our certified packaging technicians.


They will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you to implement a preventive maintenance program that will allow you to enjoy the benefits of predictive maintenance for your packaging equipment.


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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.