Breweries rely on efficient processes to maximize efficiency and keep their customers satisfied. A key component of this system is selecting the right case packing equipment – but with so many options available, choosing the ideal solution for your brewery might seem like a daunting task. Fortunately, by understanding what features to look for in a reliable case packer, you can decide which system will work best for your specific needs. This blog post will walk you through five steps that cover the essential elements of choosing the right case packing system for your brewery. By following these simple steps, you can be confident that you’re making an informed purchase and getting ideal packaging results across all of your beer cans or bottles !
1 – Establish a Budget for the Process
Establishing a budget for purchasing a case packing system for your brewery is crucial to ensure you get the best system for your needs. Evaluate your current packaging process and determine what goals you want that system to meet – whether it’s improving the aesthetics, increasing efficiency, or eliminating repetitive motion injuries. With a good understanding of the present process and identified areas of improvement, you can find the right case packing machine that meets both the goals and budget constraints.
Automating your case packing operation is a smart move for long-term success. The cost of the machine is justifiable in the short term, and you will see savings in your packaged material costs over time. This decision involves financial savvy; not only does it increase efficiency and reduce labor costs, but your investment also brings lucrative long-term rewards. Automation is a wise choice for any business looking to improve its bottom line and maximize its returns.
It’s easy to get caught up in the notion that engineering advances can always automate labor on the line, but it’s important to take a step back and consider the full cost of such approaches–both from a budget perspective and a technology standpoint. Don’t forget that skilled labor on the line can improve overall line performance if ergonomics are taken into account. It’s also important to recognize that even with vision systems, there remains some merit in manual inspection on smaller lines. Of course, recognizing where automation strategies should or shouldn’t be used is key to making an informed choice.
Whether you are new to case packing or looking to change your current system, these considerations will help keep you on budget and make the best decisions for your business.
2 – Choose the Right Equipment Configuration
Once you have established a budget for the process, it’s time to consider the type of equipment configuration that will work best for your brewery. Consider the size of your brewery and the volume of product you need to package. Various configurations can be used for case packings, such as top-loaders, end-loaders, wraparound systems, or robotic systems.
Top loaders work well for larger breweries since they offer the highest number of containers per minute (CPM) for their size. On the other hand, end loaders are more compact and offer slower speeds. Wraparound systems allow for greater flexibility in terms of speed and container sizes, while robotic systems provide increased levels of automation and can easily be integrated into existing packaging lines.
For example, if you’re packaging a variety of beer styles and sizes, a wraparound system may be the best option for you. A top loader or robotic system would better meet your needs if you need to package large volumes of products on a tight timeline.
3 – What Speed Do You Need ?
Answering the question, “What speed can you give me?” is key to making sure your purchase decision is suitable for the project. Pinpointing whether the case packing operation will be online or off-line production will help narrow down the right choice. The difference between these two options lies in that an online operation is done while the production line is running, whereas off-line involves setup and adjustment during a pause of activities at designated intervals to allow for quality checking and maintenance. Knowing which process works best will be crucial to finding what speed best fits your needs.
Making the decision whether to case pack your product on- or off-line can be critical, so don’t let your ego get in the way! When estimating volumes and determining the right machine, be realistic about both current volume levels and potential future growth. It’s all too easy to overestimate and end up with a larger, more expensive machine than you really need. Similarly, if higher volumes are really needed, look carefully at capabilities rather than price. Having a cheap machine that falls way short of your requirements is no use! So make sure you do your research properly: don’t fool yourself !
4 – Know Your Company’s Capability and Needs
Knowing exactly what your company needs and what you can handle is extremely important for any major equipment purchase. Understanding your existing staff’s capabilities and whether they can run complex machinery is essential. Do they have the training and qualifications needed? Finding out how much time will be required for setup, calibration, maintenance, and training associated with any new equipment should also be taken into account. If this process requires more people than you currently employ, budgeting for additional personnel becomes part of the overall cost calculation.
When making a machine purchase, conducting a reference check is the best way to determine whether it will fit your staff’s skill set. However, as a small craft brewer, don’t settle for simply checking references from large and multinational companies. You need to look at how similar-sized breweries manage that same equipment. Ask what their experience was like, review any issues they encountered and learn about their success stories. Doing this allows you to make an informed decision, ensuring that you select the ideal machine for your brewery.
The usual budget, type, and speed considerations are only the beginning when shopping for a new machine. Time-sensitive market rollouts require machines with fast delivery times and quick size changes, while service capabilities may be especially important if you don’t have in-house skills. Additionally, parts availability can be important if your location is remote. These specific needs should be considered to ensure the best machine selection for your organization.
5 – Research and Differentiate Your Supplier Options
When researching potential suppliers and their respective machines, it’s important to compare the features and associated costs of each. While the most important factor for many companies is price, other factors such as speed, flexibility, service capabilities, parts availability, and return policies should also be considered.
In addition to comparing supplier options on these criteria, consider what makes them stand out from the competition. Do they offer shorter lead times? What about an automated setup process or quick changeover times? Are their machines easy to troubleshoot and maintain? When selecting the right machine for your operation, these things can make a difference.
Finally, don’t get overwhelmed by seemingly endless trade shows or industry events with new and exciting machine options. Take your time, research, and focus on what is best for your brewery’s needs. The right decision can make a big impact on the success of your business !
Overall, when it comes to choosing the right machine for your brewery, there are a few key factors that need to be taken into consideration: budget, type, speed requirements, company capability and needs, supplier options, and their respective features and associated costs. Be sure to research to find the perfect machine that fits all of these criteria and any additional requirements you may have. It will be essential to understand exactly what is needed to select the best equipment to ensure maximum efficiency and success for your brewery !