It is important to identify some specifics about your product to be packaged before buying a piece of packaging machinery. For example, the materials that you will be running on your line are an important consideration when planning to buy new equipment.
If you are going to be buying shrink film machinery, you will want to look at all the different kinds of shrink film as well as the various gauges of films that are available. Choosing the wrong type, gauge and size of the film can cost your business thousands of dollars over time.
Some of the packaging considerations you’ll need to be aware of include:
- What type of product you are packaging
- The product’s weight, shape, and dimensions
- Your objectives for color and labeling
- Whether the film can be printed to meet your needs
- How the product will be packaged into the flexible film (manually or via machine, and what type of machine)
- The product’s journey from creation to shipment to the shelf and beyond
- Whether it will be handled often and/or subject to rough handling
- The types of climates/environments it will experience
- Whether it requires specific film additives to keep it fresh (e.g., oxygen or moisture barrier)
- Requirements for anti-tampering and security of the finished good
When you are trying to figure out where you should buy your packaging machinery from, choosing to go direct to the manufacturer is a common choice. After all, who knows their machinery better than the people who are building said machines? You can be sure that the manufacturer knows their equipment inside and out. As such, they should be able to answer your most discerning questions.
That being said, the manufacturer will obviously be biased when answering questions like "which is the best brand of packaging machinery to buy" or "which manufacturer offers the best service"?
Now, just as there are various ups and downs when buying from an OEM, so it is with a distributor. From cost of goods to customer service and quality in repair work, distributors have their strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on various factors including your geographical location, budget restraints and other dynamics such as your production lines current infrastructure, a distributor may or may not be the best choice for your company.
There is an absolute myriad of considerations when choosing packaging equipment and materials are one of the most important items to consider. In addition to packaging machinery and materials, the environment and atmosphere also are important dynamics to ponder. Working with a distributor will allow you to review a plethora of options and they will be able to help you acquire the right information, advice and products for your needs.
Key Consideration: Extreme heat or cold must be offset by heating or cooling systems where extreme temperatures are the norm. Whether this means you live in a place where it is always one extreme or the next, or if you live in an area that can see both extremes throughout the year, ensuring that you have the proper heating and cooling systems in place is something to take seriously.
When it comes to the environment and packaging machinery, one thing is for sure. You do not want to run pneumatic machinery. Pneumatic technology is not only extremely outdated, but it is also bad for the environment as it uses an excessive amount of electricity.
Some machines have completely eliminated pneumatic components all together which results in huge cost savings as compressed air is one of the costliest utilities in a plant.
Benefits of using non-pneumatic machinery includes:
- Top level performance with light gauge films, as well as, PE films.
- No Product/No Bag. So, you’re not disposing of material.
- 10-15% film savings on average.
- Energy regeneration with every cycle.
Since air cylinders wear, eliminating pneumatics will reduce purchasing replacements and the disposal of them as well. Some non-pneumatic machines also offer what is called “servo technology” which does not require you to add additional floor space and multiple conveyors to get the correct spacing between products.
Other machines also offer what is known as “lean technology” which eliminates film breaks. This means you don’t have to re-wrap loads and throw extra material away. Typically, machines with lean technology use less material with a special metered film delivery system.
In addition to negating or removing pneumatic technology from your packaging line, being sure to run environmentally friendly materials is also an important consideration.
While much of the metals that make up packaging machinery can be recycled, certain materials can not or simply are not recycled.
When choosing materials for your packaging it is important to consider using flexible packaging materials like shrink film and stretch film in place of high carbon footprint items such as glass, metal, and cardboard.
While also being considerably cheaper than these other materials, shrink film and stretch film are in fact completely recyclable. And with a significantly lower carbon footprint than the aforementioned alternatives, flexible packaging materials are in fact a far better choice for the environment.
Depending on the types of machinery you are running and how said equipment is laid out, it would be wise to create a plan for moving the right equipment at the right time. Depending on the size, electrical requirements, physical location on your line and weight of your machinery, some planning ahead of time is an important dynamic of this process.
Reaching out to your packaging machinery and materials representative to help you formulate a plan based on the dynamics above will allow you to take a preemptive strike against unnecessary or repetitive actions during the transportation and installation of your machinery in its new location.
Depending on the flow of your packaging line, certain machinery should be installed first to ensure an efficient and timely installation. As for which machine you should move first, well, this is case sensitive for every business and should be decided by you and your technical service contact.
Buying new machinery is a big investment for many companies and often times buyers are unsure or uneducated about the process. One very important consideration to think of right off the bat is, should you buy or lease the machinery you are planing to acquire?
The truth is neither option is one size fits all. Each has their own pros an cons and a different set of applications and line dynamics that would suggest one superior to the other. Ultimately your unique needs, layout and budget will determine which option is best for your business.
There are however some considerations to ponder that will help you to decide which option is best for your packaging line and the unique applications in which it is involved. So with that in mind, lets review a few key elements of choosing to buy or lease your packaging machinery.
1. Focus on Your Overall Needs and Time frame.
Capital investments should be made strategically and with the future in mind. Some of the things you'll want to consider when vetting leasing new packaging machinery over financing include how much you plan to use the machinery, how many machines you will be looking to acquire, potential investors in your business and last but not least, your balance sheets.
2. What is Your Budget?
Does it make more sense to buy your machinery outright or do you need to start out with leasing based on your budget? In evaluating/making a purchasing decision on equipment, people sometimes confuse the ability to justify the purchase with the ability to pay for the purchase. The ability to justify the purchase (ROI) is based on a business decision that the payback meets your requirements for investment.
3. What Type of Technology Do You Need?
If you want to have the best machinery on the market, you may have to do a little extra digging to find newer technologies that offer the best lease options for your business. That isn't to say that they won't be available, it just may take some extra legwork and research. Therefore, having a supplier that has experience in equipment leasing within the packaging industry is important.