If you’re evaluating an existing production facility – or planning for a new one – the discussion often focuses on the two-dimensional real estate metric – square feet. But it’s also important for business leaders to consider clear heights as they look toward the future.
For a company which is hand packaging its products, ceiling heights only need to accommodate the people working in the facility. Unless you happen to be hiring exclusively former basketball players and stilt walkers, those standard 9 or 10-foot ceilings are probably fine.
But once packaging automation equipment and other capital purchases come into the picture, new challenges can come into play.
Even if you’ve looked at multi-head weighers and various machines and researched the dimensions of each piece you think might be needed, you need to take it a step further than that and think about your packaging system from a holistic layout perspective.
While the weigher and pre-made pouch machine might both fit within the production facility on their own, a packaging system layout is generally laid out with the scale resting on a support platform above the bagger or pouch machine. The product then drops directly from one to another.
While every system is different, fitting an unmodified system requires roughly 13-14 vertical feet of space for most applications.
That thought process also extends beyond the primary packaging phase to other aspects of the production facility. Many end-of-line systems for creating cases or palletizing have additional requirements which you may need to account for down the line.
At Ohlson Packaging, we talk to companies every week who are working in a production facility with 9- or 10-foot ceilings. That’s when our team gets working and designs a system to custom fit their facility.
That design might utilize an incline conveyor or other piece of equipment – mounted below the scale – which then brings the previously weighed product back up to the height required by the bagger or pouch machine.
All of those enhancements play into the overall speed and accuracy of the system itself, so we’re always open with our customers about their long-term production goals and targets for future growth. Put simply – we do whatever is necessary to help our customers’ systems fit their needs.
In the end, planning and preparation is important. Even if your company is a couple years away from actually pulling the trigger on new packaging equipment, Ohlson Packaging is happy to work with you and create a draft layout drawing to help you understand how your potential packaging machinery might fit in your footprint.
Without the right marriage of production line layout and production space, you may find yourself touring the real estate market far sooner than you thought.