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Packaging Line Capabilities

Automated Packaging Systems

Large gains in productivity can be made with strategic automation of certain packaging machinery or processes on your line. Not all packaging lines need to be 100% automated to achieve optimal results. Unlike other automated packaging companies, EPIC advocates a practical approach to packaging line automation that balances equipment expense with budget and automation solutions vs. complexity.

We start by examining your lines for quick and relatively in-expensive upgrades. EPIC works with you to determine an ROI for your line and find a solution that meets your needs. For some customers, a fully automated packaging line is needed; for others a design that integrates manual operations at various points throughout the line is more appropriate. EPIC’s packaging engineers are well versed in the advantages and trade-offs of each automation decision and will help guide you through this process during line design.

In general, packaging lines fall into one of four automation categories:

packaging level automation

  1. Manual packaging lines: Manual packaging lines have very little or no automation. Some low cost automation solutions from automated packaging companies – like a taper or case erector – can help improve line speeds dramatically.
  2. Semi-automated, low-speed packaging lines: This type of packaging line is the best solution for manufacturers that need flexible lines with lower case/day requirements. Combining an automated filler & conveyors with a hand-pack station or manual bundling operation allows for various packaging sizes and short runs at a reasonable cost.
  3. High speed packaging lines with limited manual operations: High speed lines bring the issues of cost and complexity, but offer fast fill rates and a high through-put. Keeping a few operations manual can provide cost savings without jeopardizing line speed. Alternately, some manufacturers opt to keep a complex portion of the line manual to provide high reliability.
  4. Fully automated packaging lines: Total automation is the best solution for manufacturers with large production runs and high product demand. The cost of automation work completed by automated packaging companies is justified by the number of products coming off the line daily.  Bottle labeling, in-line case printing, bottle and case inspection, machine vision systems and robotics are all parts of a fully automated, high speed packaging line.

EPIC  is a leader of the automated packaging companies, helping you implement your custom automation solution. Through our collaborative Front-End Engineering method we combine our 15+ years of packaging line automation experience with your knowledge of the product & packaging line goals. This process thoroughly examines:

  • Line rates and product shipped per day requirements
  • Accumulation requirements
  • Budget constraints
  • Critical and complex packaging functions
  • Degree of assembly automation
  • Equipment requirements
  • Line ergonomics
  • Packaging line layout
  • Plant space constraints
  • HVAC and Utility requirements
  • Safety and compliance requirements

We will help you prioritize which parts of the packaging line to automate by identifying the places where assembly automation will have the best value – the largest impact at the lowest cost.  Below is an example of how automated packaging companies weigh various packaging automation choices in order to help you determine the best solution.

 

packaging equipment automation equipment

Based on this example set of considerations, EPIC might recommend the following:

  • Automate case taping, case erection and stretch wrapping. These are low-cost functions that can quickly improve line efficiency
  • Strongly consider automating case packing – the expense is probably worth the gain in efficiency
  • Determine whether sprayer insertion, bundle packaging and bottle orientation are worth the cost in the long-term. Consider variables such as; manual expense vs. automation expense, required line rates, and space constrictions (can you fit a long hand-pack station in the space?).
  • Keep palletizing manual unless it will affect shipping efficiency. Palletizing is an end-of-the-line function and does not have the same influence over packaging line rates that up-stream operations would, x. bundle packing.

Contact one of our Packaging line engineers to discuss your custom automation solution today. Our Packaging team has over fifteen years’ experience automating packaging lines and we make sure to only hire nice, sociable packaging engineers.

Additional Automated Packaging Capabilities

EPIC’s ability to automate your packaging line does not end with programming and equipment selection. Our experience packaging automation engineers, control panel fabrication team and electrical team also provide:

  • Automation Design
  • Consulting for Automation Planning
  • Control Panel Fabrication
  • Control System Development
  • Controls Integration Services
  • Electrical Design
  • Drafting Services
  • MES & SCADA Solutions
  • Plant Floor IT Solutions
  • Robotic Work Cells Integration
  • Safety Engineering

Custom Automation Design

Custom Assembly Automation Design for Packaging Lines

Control systems are custom built to your standards, including:

  • Your preferred logic platforms and any previously integrated brands/equipment in your plant
  • Standardization and compliance with your current plant safety standards and regulations

The automation design process follows this outline:

  1. Determine project scope
  2. Discuss timeline and project milestone dates
  3. Evaluate cost savings
  4. Generate rough design
  5. Create detailed concept
  6. Submit formal quotation

Assembly & Fabrication of Control Panels

Assembly Systems and Fabrication of Control Panels

All FDA, ASME, and AWS standards for automated packaging companies are followed strictly during panel fabrication. Meeting these standards, area classifications and client specifications are top priority. Risks are minimized by production style-fabrication in EPIC’s panel shop. All panel are tested and undergo a strict quality assurance review before being installed on your packaging line. We test every panel for factory acceptance, component efficiency, precise and correctly functioning controls.

After we receive confirmation of your project, we progress through the following steps:

  1. Control panel fabrication
  2. Programming
  3. Electrical wiring
  4. Automation system testing and shipment
  5. System automation and validation
  6. Complete startup services
  7. Continue support after startup

 

Automated PackagingEPIC control panel features:

  • Fully fabricated enclosure ready for factory installation
  • Programmed and installed controller with optional HMI screen
  • Simple design for easy installation and maintenance
  • E-stop push button on front of panel for safety
  • Wire and terminal labels for easy identification
  • Parts list, electrical schematics, cabinet layout drawings, and PLC/HMI manuals included

Additional panel options:

  • Thermocouple card
  • RTD card
  • NEMA 4 water tight enclosure for hose down applications
  • UL 508 code certified panel
  • NEC (NFPA 70) certified panel
  • NFPA 79 certified panel
  • Hazardous material classification areas with appropriate air purge system:
  • Bebco X purge or
  • Bebco Y purge

In-plant integration services

In-plant Integration Services

Assembly AutomationUpgrading existing equipment, moving line components, upgrading current control panels and switches; these are all examples of some of the in-plant integration services automated packaging companies provide while preparing for installation of your new packaging application.  Our focus is on safety and minimizing downtime for your existing lines during these upgrades. Control system installation includes:

  • Installation of pre-fabricated control panels
  • Link in-feed and out-feed equipment installation
  • Power distribution construction including conduit and wiring installation to provide power if necessary
  • Plant integration including communication set-up between all equipment and corresponding production lines

We thoroughly plan and integrate for:

  • Handshaking between machinery including with pre-existing machinery
  • Control processor compatibility
  • Custom hardware or software interface development
  • Efficient plant wide data exchange
  • Overall plant compatibility
  • Adjustments in power distribution
  • Modifications to motor control centers
  • Changes to power distribution panels
  • Custom plant conditions
  • Successful start-up and support

Case-Study

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Find case studies about different project applications EPIC has completed and specific unit operations within each project.

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