Packaging and consumer goods companies are faced with a variety of challenges when configuring their plants, including in reconfiguration of existing plants and lines and when building new lines and plants. These challenges and needs include:
- Many companies are trending towards close coupling of machinery and process – bringing these closer together for more efficient, line-of-sight operation. This means that equipment decisions should take these needs into account, favoring versatile, maintainable, flexible machinery.
- Real estate costs are increasing, and as plants are trying to achieve more processes and add more SKU’s to their output, they need to put more into less space. With SKU proliferation, today's plants are faced with fitting more production capacity into limited floor space. With rising real estate costs, floorspace is at a premium.
- As part of the close coupling trends, plants are trying to eliminate accumulation to reduce the buffers that often hide inefficiencies, thereby improving the flow of the line in a smaller space.
As plants reduce their staff and have more difficulty attracting and retaining skilled maintenance and engineering staff, there is a pressing need to simplify operations on the line. As a result, there is a trend toward equipment that needs little attention and requires little programming, while maintaining and/or improving the throughput on the lines.
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