PMMI is the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute. It’s a trade association focused on connecting goods producers with packaging and processing technologies. The organization puts on a variety of great trade shows under its Pack Expo umbrella where brewers and other product makers can inspect the latest packaging tech.
Those events, PMMI and its 800ish members have definitely had a growing interest in the craft beverage markets over the years. Just last week, the association released a white paper to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) advising the makers of processing and packaging equipment how to design machinery and services specifically for craft brewers and distillers. The white paper was also full of intriguing packaging trends. Here are just four solid nuggets.
Phasing out manual filling operations
One of the key processes to automate at craft breweries and distilleries is filling. Manual filling is a laborious procedure that can result in significant amounts of lost product. When considering automation, this is typically one of the first manual tasks craft producers are looking to eliminate. It allows for increased production speeds, it frees up human resources to be used elsewhere on the line and it can prevent unnecessary product loss due to human error during filling. Craft producers are typically looking for smaller, mobile filling lines that can be easily moved around the production area.
It’s gotta be affordable
Craft producers in particular are challenged with extremely thin margins that allow very little room for error when budgeting machine purchases. In many cases, craft producers are searching for lower cost machines as opposed to higher functioning machines; craft producers are willing to sacrifice functionality luxuries in some areas if it means lowering the cost of a machine.
OEMs should work closely with craft producers to design low-cost machines suited to their budget constraints and offer a variety of flexible options to adjust the cost and capability of their machines.
Labeling is one of the most time-consuming manual processes for craft producers and can result in significant material loss from human error in applying labels. The addition of an automated labeling machine can greatly increase the overall efficiency of production operations by speeding up the labeling process, decreasing application error and preventing packaging loss from mislabeling.
Craft producers are typically in the market for a modestly sized labeler capable of keeping up with their filling demands. An air blower can also be a valuable addition to an automated labeling line as craft producers frequently contend with excess moisture on the package.
Breweries want modular equipment with easy changeovers
The plethora of new flavor and style varieties at craft producers creates unique adaptability challenges for a production line. Most craft producers, especially smaller operations, previously didn’t have to worry too much about the efficiency of their changeover operations, as products were typically run one at a time in large batches.
With the explosion of product diversity, there is a renewed focus on the ability to change out machines and labels quickly to accommodate more than one product on any given day. OEMs should focus on making changeover a simplified process, especially on smaller machines, and assist craft producers in structuring an efficient changeover procedure.
There’s lots more. Download the entire white paper right here. It’s intriguing info. Other nuggets include how bigger breweries are bringing labelers in house in an effort to offset the unpredictableness of the TTB approval process and how weight is a major concern in the glass packaging industry because of the cost of transport.
After reading the white paper, maybe consider attending PMMI upcoming shows — Pack Expo Las Vegas and the co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo (Sept. 23-25, 2019; Las Vegas Convention Center). We’ve attended before, and we learned a ton. Enjoy that info right here. Now, enjoy an infographic.