Packaging refers to the technology of enclosing and protecting goods for various purposes like storage, distribution or sale. A bottle containing soft drink is called primary packaging because the bottle is in direct contact with the contents whereas a pack of bottles shrink wrapped for the purpose of transportation within the distribution chain is called secondary packaging. Packaging machine is a device that is used for primary or secondary packaging depending on various situations like the availability of floor space, costs, technology used by the machine and integrating capability with other available machines. It is the final step in manufacturing process and first step in the transportation process.
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These machines can be automatic or semiautomatic depending upon the dimensions and properties of the goods. The unit load consists of a group of individual items that have been stacked in accordance with the load sorting plan and determines the relative position of the items with respect to each other. The development of packaging machines is based on the dimensions of the unit loads and makes possible to opt for optimal industrial methods in machine packaging. They can be set up to handle items within the same range of standard sizes or of a given standard size with the necessary adjustments made automatically or manually. Some of these machines only assemble loads whereas some machines assemble as well as break up loads.
These machines are of numerous types and are segmented depending on their type and task performed. The first type is cartooning machines which are used for erecting, filling and closing carton blanks or side seaming sealed carton blanks. These machines are particularly useful in the non-carbonated beverages industry. Coding and marking machines are used to apply barcodes, dates or any unique information on the package. Conveyors are a type of packaging machines which are primarily used to carry products, ingredients or packaging components from one site in a manufacturing plant to another. Filling and dosing machines are packaging machines which measures out a product from a bulk supply with some predetermined value like volume or level in a container. These machines are largely influenced by the nature of product like liquids, powder or sticky paste. Tasks like wrapping a flexible packaging material like aluminum or paper around a particular product or group of products is performed by wrapping machines. Each of these tasks performed by various packaging machines can be customized and expanded depending on the current industrial demands.
Rising health awareness among consumers is influencing the growth of innovative packaging methods that promise fresh food products possessing nutritive value. Long working hours and long commuting time results in increased incidence of snacking during the day. Therefore out of home consumption and greater reliance on ready to eat foods has risen without negotiating on the nutritive value of the food. Another driver that contributes to the growth of innovative methods in packaging machinery is the increased availability of packaged foods that are affordable, quick to prepare and easy to store, saving a lot of time in the process.
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However, manufacturing packaging machinery to meet the packaging needs of large retailers for innovative packages to attract consumers is a major challenge that is faced by the packaging machinery market. These retailers are in constant need of streamlining their operations and insist on novel technologies which are at times unaffordable. Some of the major players in this line of business include Bosch Packaging Technology, Crown Holdings Incorporated, Tetra Pack and Toyo Seikan Group Holdings Ltd.
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