Food & Beverage Asia Dec 2018/ Jan 2019

Reliability Ensuring merchants’ demands are met depends as much on the reliability of the case packing solution, as speed and ̭exibility. The type of machinery used can have a signi̬cant impact on the overall return on investment at the end-of-line, with a number of technical factors to consider. For example, reducing the number of moving parts can reduce component wear, which could, in turn, help to increase longevity of the case packer. Reducing dependency on pneumatic actuators in the machinery will also help to avoid costly breakdowns. Pneumatic air cylinders are expensive to use, as they require high levels of power, and are often the cause of production stoppages. Energy Usage There are a range of features in case packing equipment that can help to minimise energy usage.Systemswithalownumberofpneumatic components, a built-in standby mode and less reciprocating movements will allow manufacturers to reduce operating costs and pursue sustainability ambitions, while being able tomaintain reliability of the system. This is in line with the recent trend for lightweighting, as packaging operators are continuing to use thinner bags, thinner corrugated board and thinner cartons. Machines have been adapted accordingly, which has had a positive e ̫ ect on energy consumption, and consequently, sustainability. Footprint Factory space continues to cost operators a premium, which is why maximising the use of ̭oor space is more critical than ever. Automated and highly integrated lines are often spaced close together, however, this can limit operator access. While case packers require additional space at the end of the line, it can increase productivity throughout the manufacturing process, and should be a key consideration for manufacturers. For factories, where space is limited for manufacturing lines, there are several options to ensure best practice. Focusing on equipment reliability is recommended, as this allows generous tolerances for material variations. Innovation in the case packing arena has also meant there are more compact machinery dimensions available, with a wider range of con̬guration options. For example, twin con̬gurations andmezzanine options for case erectors can easily optimise ̭oor space, enabling the placement of a case packer after every bagger. Twin con̬gurations, where left- hand and right-hand facing units are placed up against each other, are expected to rise in popularity as they maximise the use of ̭oor space by eliminating the gap between pairs of manufacturing lines, whilst still enabling operator access. Maintenance Beyond ̬nding reliable equipment in the ̬rst instance, it is also important to consider the ongoing operational costs of the case packing system. In fact, the right maintenance process can minimise the impact on production, due to scheduled and unscheduled downtime. It is also worthwhile looking at the long-term maintenance costs over a case packer’s lifetime, as well as initial costs, as part of an asset management plan. Gathering information from current users of the equipment on consumables, maintenance frequencies and cost of parts and repairs will be useful information to gather from vendors, as part of evaluating total expenditure costs. Operating simple machinery is key to an efficient maintenance plan, and this can be done by ensuring that case packers incorporate basic features, like easy access to electrical cabinets, water resistant materials and simple roof removal. The machine also needs to be more accessible for less experienced operators to handle. Conclusion Case packing continues to be an integral part of snack food manufacturing and should be a key consideration when looking to speed up production lines and save costs. There are plenty of potential options and considerations for operators when selecting the right case packer, including speed and ̭exibility, reliability, energy e ̮ ciency, footprint and maintainability. A detailed assessment of individual requirements, such as product type, line speed and factory layout are crucial in determining the best end of line solution. )%$ PROCESSING AND PACKAGING FOOD & BEVERAGE ASIA DECEMBER 2018 / JANUARY 2019 41 Easy machine access Small machine footprint