Now more than ever before, to remain competitive food and beverage manufacturers have to bring high-quality products that cater directly to consumers’ current requirements onto the market, quickly and reliably. Holger Schmidt, Head of Product Management Technology at SIG, expounds trends and directions currently shaping the packaging market, and what they mean for the development of new filling machines:
We have recently been looking at the road Food & Beverage companies are likely to be taking to achieve their goals, as well as the trends that will affect their businesses over the next few years. As you know, there are a lot of changes afoot. And you also know we’ve been a leading technology pioneer in this business for a long time, so I’d like to share some of our thoughts about how we see the industry shaping up.
First milestone: dare to be different
“The difference today is that multichannel, multi-device digital marketing means consumers are exposed to even more “noise” than before.”
Standing out from the crowd has been important for a long time now. The difference today is that multichannel, multi-device digital marketing means consumers are exposed to even more “noise” than before. That’s why it’s a matter of survival to adapt quickly to consumers’ needs, be innovative, and have the suppliers behind you that help you achieve that. For example, you can use the latest eye-tracking technology to pinpoint the finer details of consumer behaviour.
Second milestone: connect your processes
This is all about joining up disconnected processes throughout your supply chain. For food and beverage manufacturers, a huge trend will be the connected pack – one that’s traceable throughout the value chain and helps streamline your supply chain processes. And marketing’s a part of the connected pack trend too – especially digital marketing solutions that help you get the right pack size and design to the right consumer at the right time. Find out more about how augmented reality can turn a carton into an interactive experience.
Third milestone: make smart investments
Everyone’s talking about smart factories now – and no wonder. The potential for increasing efficiency and flexibility – all while reducing costs – is uncontested. But for many companies, what’s not quite so clear is where to start and how to prioritise changes. We’re talking about trends in this article, yet it’s a good idea to step back and think about goals at this point. And how a trend can help you meet them. You may well have certain business objectives like thoroughgoing quality, stricter cost control, and higher production efficiency. That why it’s important to align the investments you’ll be making in smart factory trends with your goals. Let’s take filling lines as an example. Whether you’re looking at boosting efficiency or increasing throughput, we’re designing our machines and technical service to help you do just that. Read more about that here.
Smart machines for several types of carton
How? Well, for a start the flexibility is designed into the machine from the outset. With a single machine, you can fill a variety of pack sizes with different products. Let’s say you have a range of products like a blackcurrant drink without pulp, another variety with pulp, and a blackcurrant yogurt drink with real fruit pieces in it. If the bottom dimensions of the carton are the same, you can fill them all with the same machine – with minimal changeover time for the cartons and maximum communication upstream and downstream to fine-tune the whole process. That way, you can be sure that you’re meeting efficiency goals and increasing throughput, because there’s little or no downtime or human intervention necessary in the changeovers.
Adapt to multiple markets while reducing costs
“With comprehensive automation, you can be sure you’re achieving your production goals and reducing costs.”
This flexibility makes you much more competitive. It means that you can potentially serve several markets – domestic or foreign – in a single production run. The built-in smart factory precepts ensure that package and product changeovers happen seamlessly. With comprehensive automation, you can be sure you’re achieving your production goals and reducing costs. Constantly changing consumer tastes are no longer a problem when you have a smart solution – whether that’s a single filling machine or a complete line solution covering every stage of production or an end-to-end value chain solution.
Aside from flexibility with regards to the machine and the product you’re filling, you also need flexibility from the pack itself. Some sizes and shapes work better in some markets than in others, so you need to take that into account with your filling systems too. With SIG, there’s no longer any need to have several different machines to cater for each type of package. Just to give one example: you can make the increasingly popular handy packs of less than 200ml for kids or Asian markets, as well as special easy-open packs for senior citizens.
You probably already know about our commitment to quality and reliability. But we’re taking these to the next level with new generations of flexible and efficient machines and complete, end-to-end production solutions. Our goal? To help you achieve every milestone on your road to excellence.
Want to know more? Write us an email, leave a comment or give us a call.