A flexible format case packer that is able make quick format changeovers can change your business forever. Using one of these devices, you can package and prepare your products swiftly and efficiently. Like any machine with great benefits, they require frequent maintenance from their users. Companies that utilize case packers should know the machines may slow down, glitch, or even break down if their owners and operators do not keep a careful eye on them. At the end of the day, knowing how to keep your case packer running smoothly will allow you to protect and get the most out of your investment. Read these tips so that you can avoid a major malfunction. If there is any one thing you should take away from this article, it is that case packer maintenance cannot be ignored.
A Preventative Maintenance Plan
The best way to avoid paying for exorbitant maintenance costs down the road is to maintain a schedule of consistent preventative maintenance. Case packers require timed maintenance, such as checking wear components for replacements and lubricating the machinery. The main goal of this maintenance plan is to lower the chances of unexpected downtime by avoiding major disasters and minor problems. Some methods of preventative maintenance include:
- Machine inspections from the appropriate personnel
- Regular monitoring and changing of wear parts
- Keeping high-wear parts in stock
- Frequent lubricating of the machine
Only the maintenance personnel who are qualified—the individuals with mechanical or electrical skills—should complete the maintenance tasks. Most importantly, you must adhere to a consistent schedule throughout the year. You do not want to shirk your responsibility to oversee a case packer machine, whether the tasks be monthly, quarterly, or annual.
Set the Stage
It is imperative that you properly stage your case packer system. Once you program it, your machine will repeat the exact same sequence of motions over and over. To avoid downtime, you must deliver the items to be picked in the same location every time. Pneumatic brake synchronization, alleviation of back pressure, conveyor speed, and the elimination of “shingling” are important to successful case packaging.
Introduce Autonomous Maintenance Tasks
To supplement your preventative maintenance plan, you should add easy, task-based activities to be carried out by machine operators. All through the help of a checklist, operators get small maintenance tasks to complete in daily, monthly, and biannual intervals. These tasks must address inspections and basic cleanings.
The repetitiveness of the maintenance tasks will make operators more familiar with the machines. Over time, they will be better able to detect when something goes wrong before you receive a visit from the manufacturer’s technician. To that end, you must train your machine operators to be experts in their machines. It is not enough just to know how to operate the equipment; they must know how the equipment works. They should know how to detect unusual speed, strange noises, undesirable motion, and other signals of a faulty machine.
Know Your Variations
Operators may need to adjust the machine to match variations in the material. This is known as “off-centerline.” You may need to develop an off-centerline report and send it to your manufacturer so the proper changes can be made.
Work With Your Machine Manufacturer
At Robopac USA, we do whatever we can to make sure you know how to keep your case packer running smoothly. Whenever you have questions or concerns about your machine, please contact us so that we can help address them promptly. Every moment counts when your case packer is down. Do not let disruptors like that stop you from accomplishing what you need to get done. Give our service team a call so that you can see what we have to offer our customers by way of guidance.
Use Quality Glue
Make sure you have the best possible glue for your application. Furthermore, make sure the machine uses the glue at the right temperature. If not, you may risk “cobwebs,” charring, open flaps, and other issues. To avoid shifting or skews, maintain the compression section.
Understand Your Spare Parts List
Make sure you hold on to your list of recommended spare items after you purchase a case packer. A fully comprehensive list should be segmented into different part classes based on wear—for instance, low-wear, medium-wear, and high-wear parts. Low-wear parts almost never wear, while high-wear parts have a short lifecycle.
As best you can, always have your stock full of high-wear parts. This will be helpful when your machine is down and you want to avoid waiting for a part to be shipped or fabricated. Always remember: when your machine is down, you are wasting money.
Talk with your manufacturer about which components to keep on hand. Manufacturers usually keep inventories of spare parts to maintain emergency and planned replacement needs.
Test Case Material Consistency
Since out-of-spec packaging will create problems no matter how good the packer is, packaging material quality is critical. Make sure your cases are free from dust and other particulates. Cleanliness is often the key.
Plan for Upgrades and Obsolescence
Case packers and their software need upgrades. Some components may become obsolete over time. They stop being supported and require a replacement. In today’s fast-paced economy, packaging equipment moves as fast as any other area of technology. You should keep regular communication with your machine manufacturers so that you know what is being phased out. You never want to be playing catch-up.
To that end, have a plan for upgrades or replacements. Know which new components or software are on the horizon. This will limit your downtime. Planning is a major part of your annual maintenance.
As you enjoy the benefits of your case packer machine, do not lose sight of its routine maintenance. Whatever you paid to purchase a case packer can quickly be earned back through lower labor costs. But if the machine breaks down or needs major repairs before you earn back what you paid, you will be stuck paying more before you can actually recoup your investment. To keep everything running like it should and cost-effective, follow the suggestions outlined in this article.