With all the buzz about lean manufacturing and automation, it's surprising that more companies haven't integrated such practices into their production lines.
With today's economic pressures, more plant managers and others charged with conveying powders, granular items and flakes for packaging are adopting the automatic operation of vacuum conveying and packaging equipment as standards to hit critical price points for market success.
When contemplating the move to automated processes, those charged with streamlining production cite cost, flexibility, reliability and product quality among their top concerns. First and foremost among those concerns is how the process will affect product quality, as the moving of powder can typically change its size, density and texture
Pacon Mfg., a Somerset, NJ, contract manufacturer and product converter for the consumer, medical and industrial markets, had to consider this when a particular project required high-speed conveying and dispensing of a blended powder into two layers of nonwoven material.
The nonwoven material was being ultrasonically sealed after the powder was dispensed. The product, a facial care application that had self-lathering properties, could be critically affected by how it's conveyed to auger fillers. If the powder particles became too small, the product would selflather too fast upon use. It the particles became too large, the self-lathering process took too long. Changing the density, component blend and texture would produce inconsistent fill rates or volumes-both unacceptable by quality control standards.