Pre-pandemic, Pandemic, and Post Pandemic have one common denominator – The need for EOL (End of Line) automation. While the needs or requirements within EOL automation may have changed, the overarching solution of EOL automation has not.
Pre-pandemic had a booming economy where manufacturers had trouble keeping up with demand utilizing current processes. Automation allowed them to increase production to meet demands and expand their capacities to offer other SKU’s. Regardless of the company’s size, the benefits of EOL automation are achieved by implementing the right-sized solution.
Throughout the pandemic certain markets exploded and manufacturers again could not keep up with demand. Conversely some markets contracted and needed to become more efficient. Either way both needed EOL automation to help resolve the pain the manufacturer was experiencing. Labor shortage became one of the biggest pushes for automation along with quality, safety and optimizing floor space.
Post Pandemic is seeing a softening of the economy. Some are even discussing a potential recession. Even in a softening economy, food, pharmaceuticals and beverage typically hold steady. If a market is seeing a softening most manufactures diversify and grow their SKU’s or offer them in different formats. This brings the challenge of flexibility into EOL automation. As technology evolves so does the flexibility of automation. Robotics (Industrial or collaborative), allow for flexibility in EOL line automation such as case packing or palletizing. Another way to incorporate flexibility is a recipe driven Mono-frame machine which incorporates a number of different pieces of automation. The key point is to right size the EOL automation solution.
Over the next decade EOL line automation is anticipated to grow. Even though EOL packaging is the last operation performed before product is shipped, it should not be last on the list. EOL automation needs to be smoothly integrated into the manufacturing process to provide positive effects to safety, efficiency and the company’s bottom line.
*Source: PMMI Business Intelligence