A quality bagging machine automates the packaging process, conversely reducing the number of employees needed for the task. This boosts productivity and greatly minimizes labor costs. A suitable machine also improves the quality of packaged goods by eliminating human errors.
But with the vast array of bagging machines on the market, how do you identify the right fit for your company’s needs? This article will walk you through the various factors to prioritize while reviewing your industrial bagging system options.
How to Choose a Bagging Machine
Whether you’re in the food processing business or ship your products to consumers via e-commerce, suitable packaging boosts product appeal and can even improve shelf life. But proper packaging can only be achieved through the right bagging machine, which is why we’ve listed what to consider while choosing one below:
The Nature of Your Product
The packaging process is usually different for various products. For instance, while non-perishable products such as plastics require only a simple bagging machine, food products require modified atmosphere bagging machines that can automatically expel oxygen from packing bags and replace it with oxidation-inhibitive gases to prevent microbial contamination, consequently increasing product shelf life. The nature of your product also dictates:
- The ideal bag style
- Bag dimensions
- Product fill weight
All these factors come into play when selecting the right industrial bagging system, since packaging machines often differ in terms of the materials, style, and even size of packaging they can handle. Failing to consider the nature of your product means you may invest in an incompatible machine, which in turn leads to premature breakdowns that cause downtime and costly repairs.
On average, most packaging machines fill and seal 1-5 bags a minute. Others (primarily automatic) have a high throughput rate and can fill, weigh, and seal up to 12 bags in a minute, significantly increasing your production capacity and even allowing scalability. Consider your standard output capacity in order to choose the ideal bagging machine.
Type of Machine
Bagging machines come in all shapes and sizes. From open-mouth machines that feature a large spout to efficiently fill, weigh, and even seal open-mouth packaging such as burlap sacks, to bulk bagging machines that can quickly fill bulk containers of up to 2,200 pounds, the options are simply endless.
However, they are all usually categorized as either manual, semi-automatic, or fully automatic bagging machines. Generally, with manual options, you’ll need a substantial amount of labor throughout the bagging process to place the bags, activate the filling process, and remove the packaged bags from the machine. Semi-automatic requires an operator to activate the filling, weighing, and sealing sequences. With fully automatic bagging machines, on the other hand, the process is generally optimized for minimal operator involvement. As a result, auto packaging machines give you the following benefits:
- Improved throughput rates
- Unbeatable uniformity
- Improved packaging quality, as the process is free of human errors
- Reduced material and labor costs
- Boosts productivity by automating repetitive bagging tasks
To determine the ideal type of bagging machine you need, consider your production capacity levels – now and in the future.
Overhead and Operational Costs
Some bagging machines – for instance, manual options – are often cheaper to invest in but come with incredibly high operation costs, since they require a significant level of human labor. They also have high maintenance costs in the long run.
On the other hand, automatic bagging machines might have a high initial cost but considerably low operational costs, since they require minimal human involvement and have been optimized for high throughput rates.
Compared to their manual variants, you’ll also find that automatic bagging machines are compatible with affordable, environmentally friendly yet highly durable materials such as roll stock film, which reduces your operational costs even further. To determine the cost of an industrial bagging system, consider:
- The initial purchase price
- Installation expenses, i.e., does the new machine mean moving to a bigger, more expensive space?
- The cost of ownership, i.e., do you need operators, and how much preventive maintenance might cost you
- Whether it’s upgradable, or you’ll need to invest in another one in a few years
Packaging requirements vary in each sector. For instance, food, pharmaceutical, and home care product manufacturers are often held to stringent hygienic packaging standards by national and international regulatory bodies.
Failure to comply with such standards may see your enterprise become subject to hefty fines, legal battles, and in some instances, even shutdowns. Evaluate and understand the packaging requirements in your industry to select an industrial bagging system that’s up to par.
Employee Safety and Training
Your packaging line should run at peak performance without compromising the safety and wellbeing of your employees. That said, another essential factor to consider while choosing a bagging machine is how safe it is for use. Before you purchase a particular industrial bagging system, consider asking the vendor for a risk assessment. It’ll help you understand the hazards associated with their offering and identify ways to reduce the risk.
While at it, also consider the level of training or expertise required to run the machine. Some bagging machines feature heavy automation and may require operators with technological know-how, while others, as shown above, are primarily manual and can be operated by pretty much anyone.
In an era where consumers will pay extra for sustainable packaging before they purchase a product, considering the environmental impact of packaging machines is incredibly vital in selecting the right one. Some bagging machines with pneumatic components will consume considerable amounts of energy.
Instead, look for machines with advanced built-in features that maximize production, use less energy, and minimize waste. For instance, some automatic bagging machines often feature technology to reduce material waste by preventing film breaks.
Ready to Upgrade to a New Bagging Machine?
In a world where first impressions matter, great product packaging is of the essence. And the easiest way to achieve it is by investing in a quality automatic bagging machine. Hopefully, the pointers highlighted above will help you choose the right bagging machine for your enterprise.