1. Better integration capabilities. While equipment controls have remained relatively the same, machines have evolved to integrate more effectively across the packaging production enterprise, particularly to ensure that coding on the case ties into the package itself.
2. Triumph of the visual. Not only has packaging become more graphic, so has coding equipment. Coding suppliers are incorporating better and more colorful touchscreens to help simplify operation, improve productivity, and maximize control. Even ink containers have become more visual: in many cases bottles have given way to self-contained cartridges that have meters for easy and more accurate visual assessment of levels.
3. Response to harsh environments. In harsh environments, there is greater variance in stainless steel on bagger machines, but in environments with caustic chemicals, stringent stainless grading is the rule. Also, better bracketry is being used, along with food-grade print rollers.
This was excerpted from the forthcoming Primary Packaging Line Equipment Playbook, due to be published this month.