Making music, Banging heads

The New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Bears have two things in common:

First they both pretty much have the “best of the best” musicians and players.

Second, having the “best of the best”, by itself does them no good.

No matter how good either group is, unless they are matched with each other and working in synchronization they will be pretty horrible.

Your packaging line is much the same. You may have the best available machines but unless they are matched and working in harmony, they will likely be inefficient troublemakers. When buying a new line it is easy to see each machine in isolation. The folks that fabricate the fillers generally do not construct case packers. This can lead to a collection of individual machinery rather than a single tightly integrated packaging line.

Not much can be done about multiple vendors. They are a fact of life and you have to deal with them. What can be done is to approach lines as systems rather than collections. You must think about what will be upstream and downstream of each machine. Intermittent motion filler are great machines. So are continuous motion rotary capper are also great machines. But they might not be the best combination for your line.

Bottles leave the filler and arrive at the capper in groups. If filler and capper are not perfectly balanced, this can result in the capper starting and stopping excessively, in some cases beating itself to death. An inline friction wheel capper might be better here since it can better handle the intermittent infeed.

It doesn’t end when the right machines are chosen. They need to be integrated together into a line. Some of this is mechanical such as connecting conveyors and making transfers. Other integration is electrical/electronic to make sure that the various machines talk to each other. Still other integration is aesthetic such as running ducts under, over or behind the line to manage all the wiring and tubing to each machine. A good looking line will run better than an ugly one all things being equal.

There is a lot more I don’t have space to mention here. The main point is to think of the line as a single system or “machine” rather than a collection of machines. Do this and you will be well on your way to building a better line.

At Frain we know about integration. We have over 8,000 machines in inventory buy new machines as needed. This lets us provide you with not just the proper machine but the proper combination of machines for your needs. Then our team of mechanics, electricians, programmers and engineers build a line that meets all your needs. Since we build the entire line, we can test and demonstrate the line as a system to your satisfaction before they leave our plant.

At Frain, we make it work for you.

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