automatic format change

What are the advantages of an automatic format change in the end-of-line?

In the era of automation, the ability to produce more pieces of a product in a short space of time is no longer sufficient to determine a competitive advantage, due to the complexity of customer requirements and the variety of products now available on the market. The end-of-line automation and packaging sector has also had to adapt to the technological requirements for companies imposed by the rapidly changing market: during the production process, it is necessary to palletise different product types in a single working day, with ever-smaller batches and different formats. Format changes are an ever-more common procedure for industry, and the increase in tailored requests from customers requires the highest level of flexibility from production systems.

Adopting an efficient and intelligent automatic format change can optimise the entire end-of-line automation process.

Automatic and Intelligent Format Changes

On the one hand, the evolution of the market from large production runs to ever-smaller and differentiated orders. On the other, the format change, which represents dead time: the machine is stopped while the equipment is being changed, and work is in standby. Managing to reduce or eliminate this period of time can increase the efficiency of the entire line and the overall profitability. It is for this reason that successful machines and manufacturers now must have the ability to manage automatic format changes, managing to set all the current formats in order to deliver the exact product required by the customer, as well as any variants which might be commissioned in the future. Intelligent units are used to automatically regulate the format change in a rapid, flexible and extremely efficient manner. 

The Advantages of Automatic Format Changes

The trend for product customisation and ever-more flexible packaging is destined to grow further, and having the format change integrated with the end-of-line automation offers a significant competitive advantage in production. Speed, safety and precision are just some of the advantages of automatic solutions compared to manual operations. Below we will take a detailed look at all the benefits of automatic format changes.

  • Reduced time required for format changes and retooling, a key aspect above all when faced with frequent product changes. This makes it possible to implement the service for the customer.
  • Reduced costs and increased profitability of the machines, as a direct result of the reduction in machine stoppage and preparation times involved in format changes.
  • Flexibility of the production processes, with the resulting response to product customisation requirements dictated by the market.
  • Greater safety for the systems, as no human intervention is required in potentially hazardous or hard-to-reach areas.
  • Ultimate precision: when performed manually, variations in the settings of a machine can lead to potential errors which would compromise the entire end-of-line automation process. Thanks to the development of ever-more efficient and automated machines, even the format change will no longer be a potential source of errors, but rather a further guarantee of quality. This also makes it possible for the qualification/experience requirements for personnel to be reduced.
  • Reproducibility and modularity of the automatic format change system, with the ability to implement the processes on the basis of changing market requirements.