Designing a packaging line can be a complex task. In order to describe the process to our clients, our team has found it helpful to simplify the line design process into a three-step methodical approach. It is essential to begin with gathering specific data about the application, product(s), rates required, and space available.
Step 1: Define Design
The data outlined above is organized and used to populate three critical documents; the Product Matrix, Flow Sheet, and Speed Matrix. Each of these documents provides insight into what is being produced, how it is to be produced, and how quickly it needs to be produced. These design documents are then used to define the design. A thorough review of these design documents with the client is required to validate that the data presented is aligned with the client’s goals and directive.
Step 2: Review Design
After confirmation of the information in the design documents, a general layout is created. The design team carefully takes into consideration the space allocations for each of the necessary unit operations, allowing for appropriate access and operator interfaces. They also evaluate the obstructions that may develop due to existing equipment or facility related structures.
This initial layout is reviewed against the design documents specifically in regards to the equipment, production rates, operator access and safety. Soon after, the functional conceptual layout is reviewed with the client to further test functionality with the overall goal of the project.
Step 3: Refine Design
The layout is further refined and updated as the progression continues towards a final design. In order to properly account for details, considerable thought must go into every aspect of the design. Having the design on paper usually brings light to questions and opportunities that stakeholders may not have initially considered.
In a collaborative environment, the design team holds several reviews until the design meets the customer needs and maximizes efficiency and productivity. Once the layout satisfies all the requirements of the design documents and meets the client business objective, a successful design has been created.
This introduction is a simplified approach to packaging line design. If you’d like to learn more about the process, contact one of our packaging experts, Jeff Fisher, Engineering Manager at email@example.com.