Are you looking for greater efficiency, lower costs, a more capable process, and reduced safety risks? These are some key goals for manufacturers and industrial processors today, and they can all be achieved with packaging automation. But your business needs to be ready.
Since automation often transforms day-to-day operations, then your facility, employees, and overall procedures must be able to adapt to the changes.
In this blog, we share three simple steps in preparing for a smooth transition to automated packaging.
1. Plan out your automating process
When adding automation to your production line, you should assess how it runs now, and define exactly how the new system will improve your business. Failure to fully define your project scope before project commencement can lead to costly project overruns and missed opportunities.
Dependable support from your equipment manufacturer is key. That means having access to experienced engineers and technicians who understand how automated equipment capabilities best fit your particular case.
2. Set up training for your employees
Your staff should be thoroughly trained and up-skilled when transitioning to automated equipment. The most important reason is to ensure your employees’ safety, but training also helps ensure efficient operation and added value for your process.
Schedule in the training, it won't just happen and there is never a convenient time for it. Staff at every level, and from every shift, should be fully educated on the equipment — how it’s programmed, how to operate it, how it moves, and what the safety features and potential hazards are. Update SOP's. Carefully monitor new operators to ensure procedures are carried out safely and effectively.
3. Start planning for the future
Truly preparing for packaging automation involves getting your whole business ready.
First, determine if the workfloor and storage facilities has enough capacity for the new process output, and if so, whether the available space is appropriate and doesn't impede other processes, forklift movements and personnel flows. Keep factory standards in mind to avoid safety risks and inefficiencies.
Also, ensure that your staff are re-trained continually. To keep their skills sharp, employees should have at least quarterly training on health and safety procedures, and on equipment operation.
Finally, automated systems still need regular check-ups for peak performance, as well as replacement of wear parts. Arrange a detailed standard for both preventive and scheduled equipment maintenance in order to minimise cost blowouts and downtime.
Pro tip: Work with your equipment manufacturer to maintain an annual maintenance schedule and track maintenance requirements. Aurora provide this for our valued customers, along with on-site servicing of our process equipment.
Packaging automation can drastically improve your process line, as long as your business is fully prepared. If that’s the case, it’s possible to modernise your plant and create a more cost-efficient process, while improving staff safety and engagement.
So be clear of your project scope, implement staff training and plan your layout and maintenance procedures ahead of time, and your business can smoothly change over to automated packaging and realise all the benefits.
If you’re ready to move on from manual labour and streamline your end-of-line operations, get in touch with Aurora today.