Why Almost All Packaging Machinery Is Custom Packaging Machinery

Working at a company that manufactures robotic packaging machinery, a person often receives a simple request for a quote on a specific piece of machinery. While it is true that a manufacturer may advertise for an accumulating turntable, overflow filler, a spindle capper, or any other “standard” machine it is also true that almost every machine built will be different in one way or another from every other machine manufactured in the past. For this reason, we often ask for additional information before returning a budgetary quote, as we view every machine we build as a custom packaging machine. Many times the differences between two machines will be subtle and they may appear the same. But simple components can change from project to project to ensure the ideal solution for each is reached. A few of the many subtle changes that may be found on packaging machines of the same type are described below to better understand the LPS definition of custom packaging machinery.


Even simple packaging machines or the robotic case packing can be custom manufactured to meet the needs of the individual customer. Loading and accumulating turntables are normally used to add bottles and containers at the beginning of a packaging line or to gather finished product at the end, respectively. The tops of these turntables or the disks that actually hold the bottles will obviously be built to handle the bottle size, the weight, and the necessary speed of the packaging line. Different motors may be used on different sized turntables. On loading turntables, the bottle guide that leads the containers to the power conveyor may be designed differently based on the shape, size, and weight of the individual containers. Finally, where the packaging environment or the product can detrimentally effect the “standard” stainless steel used for turntables, another material, such as HDPE may be used to build the machines. So, even one of the simplest machines on a packaging line, a turntable, should be custom built specifically for the project at hand to ensure maximum efficiency, consistency and reliability.


Conveyor systems can be manufactured to assist the manual transfer of containers or to automatically move containers through a packaging system. In other words, as non-powered or powered conveyors. Some systems will contain both types of conveyors. Like turntables, manufacturing conveyors means taking into account speed and weight to ensure the proper motors and reducers are used, but conveyor systems can be include a number of other subtle differences as well. The length and width of a conveyor system can be custom manufactured to accommodate the bottle rinser, filling machine, bottle cappers and any other machines to be used on the line, as well as to accommodate the range of bottles or containers that will be filled, capped, labeled and otherwise packaged. Not only can the construction material be changed to handle harsh chemicals and environments, but the belt material used can protect against static, heat, and other unique characteristics of a packaging project. The space in the packaging facility must also be taken into account, as conveyor systems can run in a straight line, curve, or even take advantage of vertical space to cool or accumulate product.


The first consideration when manufacturing a filling machine is the filling principle that will best work for the given project. Normally, the product will go a long way toward the selection of a filling principle—specifically the viscosity—but, even if the same filling principle is used, those subtle changes exist on the filler to make each job a custom job as well. A pump filling machine, for example, can use a wide variety of different pumps depending on the bulk tank location, the product itself and the speeds desired, among other things. The number of fill heads will vary from filling machine to filling machine as will the type of nozzle used on the robotic packaging systems. Again, like the turntables and conveyors liquid fillers may require special construction material for acid, bleach and other harsh chemicals, as the filler is the one machine that the product must traverse in the packaging process.

Generally, the same type of custom manufacturing is done on every type of robotic packaging machinery. Capping machines may require different methods of stabilizing a cap and bottle. Container cleaning equipment, like filling machines, may use different types and numbers of nozzles. There are those packaging projects that bring new ideas, new packages, and new challenges to the industry. In the end though, taking the time to customize even the smallest components of a packaging line ensures that each and every customers receives a packaging line that best suits their own needs.

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How Packaging Machine Manufacturers Find Solutions For Their Customers

Given all of the products that are packaged for consumers, finding the ideal equipment for any given project seems like it could be a monumental task. In most cases, however, looking at three general areas will allow a manufacturer to identify and build the robotic packaging machinery best suited for any particular project.


The product or products being packaged will be one of the first points of analysis. In choosing a filling machine, the manufacturer of the equipment will need to know the viscosity of the products, the tendency of the product to foam, the effect of temperature changes and any other unique characteristics. This is the first step in choosing the correct filling principle for the project. For example, thin, free-flowing products without any other unique or unusual characteristics will likely be packaged using either gravity or an overflow filling principle.

The type of product will also play a role in choosing the correct machine. For example, many products that contain alcohol will require accurate volumetric fills. Other products that use a clear bottle, such as bottled water and glass cleaner are more interested in a level fill that provides shelf appeal.

Industry can also play a role in choosing other machinery as well. Foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals will almost always add container cleaning equipment to a packaging line to protect against contamination from dust buildup or other debris. Even the material used to manufacture the equipment can be affected by the product in some circumstances. For instance, a harsh chemical may require plastic, corrosive-resistant power conveyors, turntables and other equipment to protect the life of the equipment in general. Some other companies are using a case packer.

By analyzing the product, the ideal machinery options are narrowed from a large pool of equipment to a few options that will require further analysis.


The second part of the analysis will focus on the package that is holding the product, be it a plastic bottle, pouch, glass container, or other type of vessel. The material, shape, and size of the container will have different effects on different types of robotic packaging systems. For example, large bottles may require an adjustment to the fill bar on a standard filling machine. The same bottles may make double gripper belts a necessity on a standard spindle capping machine. More details here: https://www.slideshare.net/liquidpouch/modern-packaging-machines-give-multiple-advantages

But it is not just the bottle or container that can cause modification. The type of closure will help determine the type of capping machine to be used. If the package includes tamper proof elements such as a neck band or an induction seal equipment to perform these tasks will also need to be added to the packaging line. Some products will not ship out as single items, instead being bundled together, which would also require a shrink wrap machine.

After analyzing both the product and the package, a clearer picture should be emerging of the ideal machinery for the given packaging project. However, there is one last inquiry to consider.


Demand for a product, for package purposes generally translates to the speed necessary on the packaging line. If a product is packaged for a reasonably small, regional market, the packager may opt for tabletop packaging equipment to save space or portable semi-automatic machinery that can be upgraded in the future. If a packager is serving a global market with a high demand for product, a fully automated, load to palletize packaging line may be the best choice. In general, the demand for the product will assist in choosing the level of automation desired for the packaging line.

While these are the three main inquiries when identifying the ideal robotic packaging machinery for any given project, keep in mind that they are not the only questions to be answered. There are often other inquiries as the answer to one question may lead to several others, especially when a unique product or package is in use. But analysis of these three basic areas will usually allow the project manager identify the best solution for any given packaging task.