Importance of Packaging Solutions in Food Industry

Packaging is an essential operation in the food industry which uses a variety of solutions to carry out cartooning, shrink wrapping, pelleting, capping, labelling, etc. The good news about these packaging solutions is that a number of automated machines are now available to perform most of these functions.

The need for packaging in the food industry is crucial for more reasons than one. The foremost reason why food packaging is done is to ensure consumers’ safety. There are many food safety guidelines and laws that have been put down to ensure safe delivery of food. Food may be exposed to external conditions at various points before reaching the hands of a consumer, and there is a possibility or chance of contamination at each one of these points. Food packaging is the perfect solution to address the safety requirement by creating a barrier between the product and any possible source of contamination.

Another reason for which the food industry needs packaging solutions is to prevent the spoilage of food. Many food items are perishable in nature and some of these need to be transported to a long-distance destination. Delivering such items to consumers would be impossible without the guarantee of safe packaging. The food industry has appropriately designed packaging material for each type of product, based upon certain requirements . Some of these materials even provide certain atmospheric parameters that keep the food fresh.

Last but not the least, food packaging, with its labelling, provides important information about its quality and safety. Food labelling matters the most to customers who pay attention to what they are consuming. Food labelling contains specific information about calories, ingredients, validity and allergy warnings, among several other details. Food companies are legally required to sell food with all the necessary information. Apart from that, food packaging attracts customers. Many consumers tend to buy food with the most appealing packaging, especially when they are buying a product for the first time. So, packaging in the food industry cannot be neglected. It is due to all these reasons that the food industry needs appropriate packaging solutions, which can help companies pack food in the most efficient and safe manner, before delivering it to the customers without any contamination.

PR_102_A_strapping_machine

How to carry out maintenance of your Strapping Machine

A strapping machine is a complex equipment whose operation requires coordination of various elements. It is also one of the regularly-used pieces of equipment in the packaging industry. Due to this, its maintenance is of immense significance.

PR_102_A_strapping_machine

The foremost factor to consider when it comes to the maintenance of strapping machines is having a trained operator. The working of the strapping machine may be complex, but people can be easily trained for this and it is advisable to have designated operators who have the technical know-how.

Besides the basic premise of trained personnel operating strapping machines, there are certain maintenance points which an operator should be taught. The strapping machines should be cleaned daily after operation. It is ideal to always remove the unused strap and put it back on the reel at the end of the day, especially if a machine is not to be used for a few days or more. The straps may otherwise develop a bent that can create a problem in dispensing them later. The strapping machines collect a lot of dust everyday, so cleaning should be done carefully to avoid any jams during operation. It is also important to turn off the machine after use.

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Lubrication is another important aspect in the maintenance process. Some components require lubrication before and after the operation, making this step indispensable. The gear box requires regular changing of oil, which should happen once a month for some machines, but this requirement may vary for different models, so it is wise to either ask an expert or refer to the manual guide. Some manufacturers also recommend sticking to a certain maintenance routine, after a specific number of straps have been used. For instance, vacuuming the interior of a machine may be needed after every 15,000 straps, but it must be kept in mind that these specifications vary, which makes it
crucial to read the instruction manual thoroughly to check the maintenance tasks that need to be performed at a regular interval.

Some other maintenance tasks may include checking and cleaning the heating elements and checking clutch gaps and blades, among other things. It should be noted that the cleaning of heating elements is of utmost importance, but the activity should be carried out only when they elements have cooled down completely, to avoid any injury, as the high temperatures can cause a severe burn. Some operations such as changing the electrical outlet socket or switching to a different strap width assembly should be performed only by trained personnel. The operator should ensure the strap remnants be removed from the strapping machine, to avoid the jamming of the strap. Last but not the least, the maintenance manual should be read carefully to learn about the frequency and type of maintenance tasks to be performed.

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Choosing the Right Strapping Machine

Strapping machines are available in different models with each model having its own strengths and limitations; so choosing a suitable strapping machine for a business may not be as easy as one thinks. There are several parameters that determine the suitability of a particular strapping machine for an operation.

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Extent of Automation

There are manual, semi-automatic and fully-automatic strapping machines. Both manual and semi- automatic machines require an operator to continuously supervise the operation and place the packages to be strapped. On the other hand, a fully-automatic strapping machine does not require an operator at all. Besides this, each one of these machines has a varying degree of customization options that can be chosen from depending on how fast one wants the operation to be done and how many steps assistance is required with, while performing this task. For instance, strapping tension may be different for each version of a strapping machine, and one can decide how secure they want their product to be while shipping.


Volume of Operation

This is one of the most important factors while making a purchase for a strapping operation. Small businesses with requirement of fewer than 15 strapping boxes per day may not need to consider buying a strapping machine, as hand tools may be sufficient to carry out this operation. However, for bigger volumes, it is advisable to use a strapping machine. A fully-automated machine may be able to strap as many as 60 boxes per minute, which is suitable for a high-volume operation. For a middle-sized business, a manual strapping or semi-automatic machine with a strapping speed of 30 straps per minute is sufficient.


Specifications

Each strapping machine has its limitations when it comes to the type of strap it used. While some are suitable for wide straps, others may not offer this function. Additionally, not all strapping machines can be used for a steel strap, so if a business requires the use of a steel strap, it is important to consider such specifications beforehand. Strapping table height, strapping speed, strapping force, et cetera are some other specifications that vary with the model. There are also features such as automatic loop ejection system that make an operation smoother. It is important to consider all these parameters before purchasing a strapping machine.


Load Type

Some strapping machines have an in-built arch through the load pass for the operation. This arch also limits the dimension of the box that can be strapped using such machines. Other machines may also have their limitations, when it comes to the weight and dimension of the boxes. Moreover, some loads are oddly-shaped and unmanageable for strapping, which restricts some types of machines to strap them. So, it is wise to ask the manufacturer if one deals with varying sizes of loads on a regular basis.

Besides this, the investment involved in the purchase requires significant consideration. It goes without saying that a machine with more features and flexibility of operation would cost more. Thus, it almost becomes imperative to consider if such an investment balances the initial investment or not.

PR-105-B automatic pallet strapping machine

An Automatic Pallet Strapping Machine for Box Packaging

Automation for pallet-strapping operations has been made possible with the invention of machines designed to fully perform a task. An automatic pallet-strapping machine is the scaled up version of a box-strapping machine, as it is used to secure an entire pallet rather than small-sized boxes. It is equipped with a bigger arch, which may be as high as 200 cm and with a width of up to 150 cm, and these dimensions are in accordance with the standard pallet size used in the shipping industry. Additionally, machines are built sturdily using aluminium alloy, which only serves to increase the
longevity of the equipment.

PR-105-B automatic pallet strapping machine
PR-105-B

An automatic pallet-strapping machine has many features that assist in the complete automation of the machine. It has a PLC control panel which processes all the digital input and helps with the customization of the operation. This feature is essential for the convenience and flexibility of the equipment. It also has an auto reset button which comes in handy for reprogramming the settings. The possibility of adjusting tension up to 90 kilograms for each pallet is another feature that helps with securely tying the straps. One can use straps of width 9, 12 or 15 mm with this equipment. The strapping efficiency is largely dependent on the number of pallets that can be strapped per minute. One pallet can be fully wrapped in 5 to 15 seconds, depending upon the model. High-efficiency models may even strap up to 27 pallets per minute. The machine has an auto-loop ejector which can operate through the pallet-void strapping of a pallet vertically. For side strapping, the machine also has loop ejectors on the sides which can operate at various heights to allow strapping at different points on the pallet.


The advanced features of an automatic pallet strapping machine consist of a roller conveyor to deliver the pallet to the strapping site and a turntable to allow the sealing from every side. The straps are easy to change, so that the operation is not halted for a long time. Some models are also equipped with a power-saving feature, which shuts down the machine once no pallet is sensed for a pre-set time period. All in all, the machine has full control of the strapping task and is of great use for shipping operations.