Automation trends in the packaging industry your business should take advantage of
Packaging is one of the most essential aspects of modern business. It’s not enough to have a great product, you also need an eye-catching package to show it off in. But for some companies, especially those with low budgets, finding the right packaging has been difficult.
That’s why more and more businesses are turning to automation as a cost-effective way of getting their products into the hands of consumers. Automated production lines can produce any size or shape package at any time – they’re fast too! And thanks to advances in technology, automated production lines are now capable of producing high quality products every single time… all while using less manpower than ever before!
But what if your company doesn’t have access or knowledge about automated packaging? You might be wondering if it’s the right choice for your company. In order to better explain how automation is on the rise in this industry and what you need to know if your company is looking to enter into the automated packaging world, consider these 8 trends below:
This is considered one of the most advanced forms of automation because it’s capable of collecting all kinds of information (i.e., chemical levels, temperature changes) and also performing certain tasks that require physical labor (i.e., applying labels to packages). Some companies are now using a pick and place robot to sort and even remove defective products from production lines with the use of laser technology, while others are purchasing automated arms that can sort or hang certain types of packaging materials on racks for future use by workers when needed.
2. Decorative coding
Decorative coding is a type of industrial printing that uses a particular machine to produce an ornamental design or pattern on the surface of a product. In the packaging arena, this is one-way companies can keep up with trends and also reduce their carbon footprint by being more environmentally conscious.
This is often referred to as 2D barcodes and it’s achieved through printing specific patterns on packaging materials that only scanners with optical character recognition (OCR) technology are able to read properly. These OCR scanners then save that data into a database for companies to access when they need it.
3. Data collection
This technology is often referred to as smart packaging. Smart packaging is basically the process of using sensor technology to track information about a product’s physical condition or its surrounding environment while it’s being shipped. This type of technology was first used in the pharmaceutical industry but it’s now being used more frequently by other types of businesses as well.
It’s important to note that some companies believe data collection applies only to pharmaceuticals, while others feel it can be used for all types of products. So what exactly do “smart” packages have the ability to track? That information includes the product name, date of production, expiration date, lot number (for food), country of origin (for imported products), etc.
4. Sensor technology
Sensor technology is another way to track information, but instead of using barcodes or data collection, these sensors actually monitor certain conditions that are essential to the manufacturing process. There are sensors that “see” when a package has reached its limit or needs attention in some way (i.e., too hot/cold). Sensors also monitor chemical levels and they change color if something is leaking.
For example, some sensors are used to detect oxygen levels inside a package so they can instantly communicate with machines if adjustments need to be made. That’s just one type of sensor technology being used today.
5. Machine vision
When your product is scanned by a machine vision system, its movement is directed via computer software that analyzes images of the package, notes any defects or potential problems, and facilitates corrections before the package is finished. Machine vision technology can also be used to reduce labor costs since employees are no longer needed for this process – it’s all done automatically. This eliminates the need for outsourcing certain tasks and opens up the door to outsource others.
6. Big data automation
One of the reasons companies are looking to automate their packaging processes is because it’s a way for them to take advantage of big data. Big data is a term used to describe the process of collecting, storing, and analyzing large amounts of data that was previously impossible to manage manually. With big data automation, companies can now shorten their supply chains and work more efficiently with their clients.
In order for this type of automation to work properly though, companies need to have access to an effective cloud-based. This type of automation focuses on using cloud-based technologies to collect data from multiple sources (i.e., electronic tags on products, packaging machines, etc.) in order to compile reports that show the operational status, production capacity, and many other things companies might find useful or helpful with regard to their packaging operations. Collecting these types of data can actually reduce your company’s carbon footprint – even if you’re not in the green industry!
This type of automation is considered basic. It includes the use of machines to carry out simple packaging tasks like sealing, labeling, etc. To put it simply, pre-automation can be defined as “dumb” automation because none of the products are able to track information or be controlled by computers or software. There’s also very little customization at this stage. It is, however, still an important part of the process as these machines make the process go faster.
8. Big data analytics
While this might be one step short of big data automation, it still plays an important role. This type of analytics is capable of collecting, sorting, and analyzing data for companies that want to improve their packaging processes. In fact, this process can also be used to reduce the amount of time a package spends in a warehouse by 30% or more!
Automation is on the rise in the packaging industry. The 8 trends are making automation of the packaging process a desirable goal for many businesses. If you’re looking to enter this industry, make sure that your business can take advantage of these trends and technology advancements!