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Packaging Automation Trends For Your Manufacturing Operations

In the fast-paced world of industrial packaging, the pursuit of efficiency, sustainability and innovation has sparked transformative trends in packaging automation. With manufacturing confronted by challenges like rising labor costs and shortages, the demand for operational efficiency is paramount. In fact, more than 40% of manufacturing leaders have cited these labor hurdles as significant challenges for their businesses, underscoring the urgency of adopting automation.1 In this blog, Network Distribution will uncover packaging automation topics that are paving the way for a cost-effective and streamlined future. 

Trend #1: Reducing Costs & Enhancing Efficiency

Over 80% of Manufacturing Leadership Council survey respondents have emphasized the importance of reducing costs and improving operational efficiency through technology investments. In an environment marked by rising input costs and tightening margins, the focus on efficiency and productivity has never been more crucial. Manufacturers are turning to automation to weather the economic uncertainties of the year ahead, enhancing precision and quality control while reducing costs. 

Trend #2: A Resilient Supply Chain

Considering recent disruptions, the significance of having a resilient supply chain has become increasingly evident. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are incorporating technological solutions, including IoT devices and blockchain, to boost visibility and efficiency across their supply chains. By harnessing real-time data insights and predictive analytics, these firms are empowered to make informed decisions, ultimately ensuring timely and pristine product deliveries.

Trend #3: Elevating Quality Through Automation2024.04_PRIVATE_Network_Blog Featured Image_Industrial Packaging

The packaging industry faces challenges in productivity, accuracy and quality control, with manual inspection processes being inefficient and error-prone, frequently leading to costly recalls. To address these issues, the industry is shifting towards automated manufacturing methods, ensuring packaging remains structurally robust to withstand rigorous shipping and handling conditions.

Manufacturers are increasing their investments in package quality control automation, providing an all-encompassing quality control platform that integrates seamlessly with other systems and hardware.

Trend #4: Active Packaging

The issue of food waste is a considerable challenge, costing companies significant losses. Active packaging, which increases shelf life of products, is gaining traction the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Techniques like modified atmospheric packaging use oxygen or ethylene absorbers and moisture regulators to preserve food freshness. Antimicrobial agents released by active packaging further prevent bacterial growth, reducing waste.2

Examples of Packaging Automation & Vision Systems

Automation in the packaging processes, including depanning, filling, packing and palletizing, is shifting to help support companies with labor shortages and operational efficiency. Robotic arms and grippers are pivotal in eliminating human errors and ensuring the safe handling of delicate products. Additionally, AI-powered vision systems are becoming more prevalent, analyzing package quality and automating tasks such as product sorting, quality control and inspection to boost overall efficiency.

Click here to read the full blog by Network.

Group Purchasing Strategy for a Cost-Effective & Streamlined Future 

Keeping up with the latest trends in packaging automation is vital, but so is an optimized purchasing process. By partnering with a group purchasing organization (GPO), your organization opens the door to immediate access to a portfolio of industry leading supplier contracts and better terms and conditions, resulting in cost savings. GPOs, like OMNIA Partners, walk alongside you throughout the entire purchasing process offering access to subject matter experts and a dedicated rep to ensure no questions go unanswered. Industrial packaging products, equipment and solutions are available through the OMNIA Partners agreement with Network Distribution. Let us help you streamline your purchasing process and speed up your operational efficiency.

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About Network Distribution & OMNIA Partners

Network Distribution is a global distribution organization supported by the power of local service expertise. We create and manage custom supply programs that ensure manufacturing plants have the industrial packaging products they need to help keep their lines running. Through the purchasing power of OMNIA Partners, private sector members can leverage a group purchasing agreement with Network to streamline their operations by uniting the unique demands of each of their plants under one national program. Discover a better way to buy and get connected with Network today!

1. 2023 Manufacturing Trends, Alithya
2. Discover the Top 10 Packaging Industry Trends in 2024, StartUs Insights