System integration is a crucial component of any effective secondary packaging operation, significantly improving efficiency, output and uptime. Traditionally, integration work was either performed in-house or by third-party companies specialized in providing such services.
Today, many secondary packaging OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are taking on integration as a value-added service to offer complete end-of-line solutions. And rightfully so – their expertise, established relationships with industry partners, ability to customize packaging machines for overall line efficiency and direct access to full-line test areas make them a credible choice.
Many packaging machinery OEMs are uniquely qualified integrators because of their intimate familiarity with their own machines and how they best integrate with third-party equipment. In addition to utilizing their own core products, OEMs are generally open to using other vendors’ machines to find the best solution for a specific application. As a result of their often long-time experience building automation machinery and working with packaging customers, many OEMs are well equipped to assume the role of a resourceful partner, developing an accurate understanding of why there is a project in the first place, what is driving the project, and what goals are associated in terms of the system as a whole. Using this holistic approach to identify project requirements and limitations, OEMs can offer solid recommendations for cost-effective solutions, often helping customers avoid costly mistakes.
Simplified project management
With an increasing number of manufacturers applying LEAN principles, expert in-house personnel able to take on large-scale packaging line integration projects are often limited. Machine builders can take responsibility of entire sections of a secondary packaging automation solution and relieve the customer of managing the details. Often, this approach also reduces integrator/supplier conflicts such as communication barriers, limited vendor or equipment choices or determining appropriate delivery schedules.
In addition, OEMs assuming responsibility for safety compliance over the entire system can ensure these requirements are identified early in the design process.
Faster project completion
Assuming OEM integrators use much of their own equipment in the system design, they have control of lead times and can better coordinate schedules. Furthermore, most OEMs have the capability to pre-assemble the complete system on their own production floor as opposed to third-party integrators, who would do the work in the customer’s facility. Pre-assembly of the entire packaging line at the machine builder’s facility allows for identifying and solving problems early on. If alterations require outside support from fabrication shops, OEMs can then use local vendors with whom they have established relationships, while on-site integrators must rely on area vendors whom they may not know.
Prior to shipping the entire system, the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) enables the customer to verify optimal operation of the packaging line and to make last minute changes. Significantly reduced start-up times are a key advantage of choosing a packaging machinery builder to perform the line integration work.
Allowing a single source to analyze and optimize the total application assures continuity of design. Common controls, user interfaces, changeover procedures and parts simplify integration, operation and increase productivity.
During installation and startup, the system can be evaluated as a unit rather than discreet machines, effectively elevating system performance to a much higher level and predictability, while decreasing downtime. If complications do arise, the continuity of design enables maintenance technicians to diagnose and resolve issues much quicker and more efficiently. For any additional outside technical support, customers can generally rely on the OEM integrator as their single-source interface.
Increased quality with less waste
Common controls and standard features of an integrated system significantly increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). A smoother and more reliable packaging operation guarantees higher quality output and cuts down in wasted resources. In addition, if machines compliant with Pack ML are used, the result is a unified solution with reporting functions that can seamlessly tie in with plant level performance tracking systems to help further optimize OEE.
Secondary packaging machine builders are not new to the world of line integration and their substantial industry experience and unique advantages make them increasingly the preferred choice. When combined with a robust lifecycle service offering such as parts and aftermarket support, OEM integrators provide more value and have the potential to substantially decrease total cost of ownership.
For information about Pearson Packaging Systems’ full end-of-line integration capabilities, contact us directly. We look forward to discussing your objectives and assist in meeting and exceeding them.