Which devices are used to package products?

Author: E2M Couth
May 28, 2024

Product packaging is an extremely important process on a production chain. It not only protects products during transport and storage, but also plays a crucial role in the client’s experience. Picking the right packaging system can make the difference between a product arriving in perfect condition or not. In this post prepared by E2M COUTH, we will talk about machines for automatic packaging, what they are, what kinds there are, and how they work.

Huge progress has been made with packaging technologies today, with solutions that can adapt to each product or market’s specific needs. These automatic packaging machines not only ensure the physical integrity of the product, but are also vital for compliance with strict safety and environmental sustainability regulations.

What is a packaging system?

We are going to explain what a packaging system is. It can be simply defined as an ensemble of processes, technology, and machinery used to package a protect, which makes it protected, easier to transport, and look better to the end consumer. There are automatic packaging machines, like vacuum sealers, aseptic filling machines, and smart labelling machines.

Within many industries, packaging systems are very important, including beverage, food, and pharmaceutical industries. For the food industry, machines for automatic packaging are crucial for keeping food fresh and safe. For pharmaceutical products, they are essential to guarantee the sterility and precise dosage of medications.

Automatic packaging machines play a key role, especially from the perspective of efficiency and precision. By using them, companies can automatic simple and complex tasks to reduce production time and human error. These systems can also adapt to different container sizes and shapes.

What kinds of packaging are there?

It is important to understand the kinds of packaging there are so you can choose the best option for the product and its requirements. This classification is divided into three main categories: primary, secondary, and tertiary. Each phase plays a specific role in terms of product protection and distribution.

Primary packaging

Let’s begin with the kinds of packaging there are with the level nearest the product. The purpose of this kind of packaging is to contain and protect, to keep it in perfect condition, until it reaches the end consumer. Additionally, this primary packaging normally has an attractive design, as well as important information on the product. Some examples would be beverage cans or biscuit packages. Before this process, many of these packages must undergo a quality control process, using systems like  Ebivision, which inspects empty containers and is available at E2M COUTH.

Secondary packaging

Secondary packaging groups several primary packages, providing easier handling and the right distribution. Its role is normally to provide another layer of protection, as well as a marketing tool at points of sale. An example would be cardboard boxes with several units of product, like a package with beverage bottles and similar.

Tertiary packaging

Lastly, we have tertiary packaging, whose purpose is large-scale shipping and transport. The purpose of this kind of packaging is to make it easier to handle, store, and transport large quantities of product. This might include pallets, large containers, and more.

What kind of devices are used to package products?

At E2M COUTH, we have different technological solutions for quality control in the complex packaging process that can guarantee efficiency and compliance with quality and hygiene standards. Here are the devices used for product packaging:

Bagging machines

These devices for product packaging are very important for primary packaging. So you know what the process is like, automatic bagging machines take the material from the roll, shape a bag, fill it with product, and perfectly seal it. This is a continuous and automated operation.

Food packagers

This kind of machine is specifically designed for typical packaging requirements in the food industry, for vacuum sealing, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), and aseptic filling. One example would be vacuum sealers, which extract all the air from a package, seal the product, and increase the product’s lifespan.

Labelling machines

Labelling is a very important process on a production line, because it not only helps to identify the product, but also to place important information, such as ingredients, expiry date, and other regulatory information. These labelling machines can place labels on a wide range of formats and in different positions. To verify that the label is properly placed and that the information on it is correct, E2M COUTH has the Contourvisión system, which can inspect labels. This provides greater quality control for products leaving an industrial plant.

Sealing machines

Lastly, another device used to package products are sealing machines. They can be thermal and are used to seal plastic and laminated materials with heat, as well as impulse, and are perfect for heat-sensitive materials.

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How to classify kinds of packages

There are different kinds of packages that are classified based on different aspects, ranging from the manufacturing material and functionality to the degree of protection that they offer. This classification is highly important when selecting the appropriate package for each product, when one must consider factors such as durability, sustainability, and cost efficiency.

Package classification by material

Depending on the container material, there are several different kinds:

  • Plastic: This is one of the most widely-used, thanks to its versatility and low price. It can also be designed in different shapes and sizes. It is lightweight, which reduces transport costs. That being said, the environmental impact is significant, since many of the plastics used are not biodegradable, with very limited recyclability.
  • Glass: This material is one of the most popular, thanks to its ability to preserve flavour and product the product from light and air. It is perfect for food and beverage. It is true that it is 100% recyclable, but its weight and fragility increase transport costs and risk of breakage.
  • Metal: Metal containers include aluminium cans and containers, which are robust and can be recycled. They are an excellent barrier against light, air, and microorganisms, and are perfect for preserves. However, they are more costly to produce and can interact with certain foods.
  • Paper and cardboard: Lastly, these materials stand out because they are biodegradable and recyclable, lightweight, and affordable. They are perfect for secondary and tertiary containers, but do not provide great protection against moisture or contaminating elements, which is why their use is limited in perishable products.

Package classification by functionality

You can also classify containers based on the role they play. They include:

  • Protective containers: This kind of container is designed to protect the content from physical and environmental damage.
  • Barrier containers: Barrier containers are designed to prevent the transfer of oxygen, moisture, and other gases, essential for food and sensitive products.
  • Active and smart containers: They have technologies that can extend the lifespan of a product, and also indicate its freshness.

How products are labelled

Product labelling is a process that all industries must carry out. Labels both inform the consumer and comply with legal regulations. Product labels must include information that is precise and verifiable.

Labelling process

This entire process begins with the label design, which must meet legal standards, including the list of ingredients, nutrition facts, instructions for use, safety warnings, and manufacturer information. After all this, labels are printed and placed on the products, either manually or in automated fashion.

Relevance for consumer information and legal regulations

Labelling is essential for transparency and consumer trust, since it makes it possible for purchasers to make informed decisions about ingredients, allergens, and manufacturing processes. Also, in legal terms, this guarantees that the product complies with local and international regulations, thereby avoiding fines and product recalls. In some countries, there are heavy fines for poor or incorrect labelling.

Technology used for labelling

The technology in charge of labelling has significantly improved for labelling processes. High-speed printers and machines that automatically apply them make labelling efficient and high-volume. E2M COUTH has different devices that can be highly useful for labelling, such as Contourvision, which can inspect the labels to make sure that they are properly placed.

Quality control in packaging

Quality control during the packaging process is a critical aspect in product manufacturing, since the products are designed to ensure that all packaging elements meet specific standards before reaching the consumer. This process not only includes product protection and preservation, but also the client’s perception of quality and trust in the brand.

Learn the methods and technologies used in quality control

There are several different methods and technologies used in quality control for packaging:

  • Automatic visual inspection: More modern packaging lines include systems with cameras and sensors to conduct visual inspections and find all defects in packages. They can quickly identify improperly placed or deformed labels and remove these products from the production line.
  • Seal integrity tests: Techniques like air leak testing are also used to ensure that all containers are perfectly closed and that the protective barrier has not been compromised.
  • Weight and volume control: These devices are specialised in verifying that each container has the right amount of product to guarantee consistency and regulatory compliance.
  • Quality control and traceability: The most modern systems, like the ones we offer at E2M COUTH, stand out with their artificial vision and smart sensor technologies, so they can guarantee the quality of the product throughout the entire supply chain.

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This quality control not only guarantees the quality and safety of a product, but will also greatly increase consumer trust. A properly packaged product suggests higher quality and attention to detail, which tend to play a huge role in customer satisfaction.

At E2M COUTH, we have the best systems for quality control, so your production line can be as efficient as possible. Do you want to find out more about our systems? Then contact us. We would be delighted to help you.

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