Workforce Issues and Machine Rigidity Limit Packaging Capabilities
Like many manufacturers, frequent employee turnover and a lack of technical skills are the primary challenges facing CRG’s customers. But in today’s fast-paced production environments, they no longer have weeks or months to spend training new hires.
“The labor shortage is real. It’s getting harder to find and keep experienced people on the job,” DeSmet explained. “What we heard is that customers want a machine that’s simple to use, easy to operate, and includes on board training and troubleshooting guidance so technicians can self-diagnose or self-adjust.”
With an increasingly inexperienced workforce, machine safety is also critical. “Safety is always number one. And if new workers are not intrinsically familiar with the factory environment or the specific machinery,” DeSmet said, “then it’s especially important that the machinery is intrinsically safe.”
Lastly, packaging customers must respond quickly to changing consumer preferences for various product sizes.
“Companies don’t want to buy several different machines to do their packaging,” explained Kevin Houk, OEM Account Leader, Rockwell Automation. “They want one machine that goes from trial and travel sized products to family sized products with minimal changeover time.”
Changeovers for traditional cartoners are mechanically driven. This means operators must shut down machines in order to manually adjust components and settings, which then results in downtime, lost productivity and less output.