Packaging Automation Study: A Focus on Packagers

Packaging professionals play a unique role in today’s production ecosystem. In addition to wrestling with “traditional” issues of reducing costs and optimizing production, packagers must also contend with rapid-fire changes brought on by the ebb-and-flow of consumer tastes. The following is an overview of the survey audience, the challenges and opportunities they face, and ...


Packaging professionals play a unique role in today’s production ecosystem. In addition to wrestling with “traditional” issues of reducing costs and optimizing production, packagers must also contend with rapid-fire changes brought on by the ebb-and-flow of consumer tastes. The following is an overview of the survey audience, the challenges and opportunities they face, and future growth of automation within packaging environments. Digital edition of supplement and research study are available .

How many packaging lines does your company typically run in your location?
• More than seven31%
• 3 - 421%
• 5 - 719%
• 115%
• 214%
How often does your company change packages on a line?
• Multiple times per day38%
• 1– 2 times per week22%
• Once per day18%
• Rarely/single-line15%
• 1– 2 times per month5%
• 1– 2 times per year2%
What is the primary reason for line changeover?
• Different/new SKU61%
• Package size change31%
• Other5%
• Accommodate prior shift shortfalls3%
Are you using industrial Ethernet for connectivity and communication:
• Yes49%
• No35%
• Don’t know16%
What format of Ethernet are you using?
• Ethernet/IP77%
• ProfiNet6%
• PowerLink4%
• Other3%
• Modbus TCP2%
• EtherCAT2%

Top 5 job functions of respondents:
• Engineering or production40%
• Corporate/general management19%
• Operations management15%
• Research & development8%
• Other7%
Top 5 product types packaged by respondents*:
• Food & beverage42%
• Pharmaceuticals17%
• Personal care/cosmetics14%
• Household chemicals/products12%
• Machinery/Electronic equipment10%
* Respondents were asked to check all that apply
Years of industry experience:
• 20+ years41%
• 11– 20 years29%
• 6– 10 years15%
• 3– 5 years10%
• 1– 2 years5%
Employee size:
• 1,000 or more39%
• 250– 49915%
• 100– 24914%
• 20– 9913%
• 500– 9999%
• Under 209%
Annual spend– packaging automation equipment:
• $500,000 or more28%
• $100,000– $499,99920%
• Don’t know17%
• $10,000– $49,99914%
• $50,000– $99,99912%
• $5,000 - $9,9994%
• Less than $5,0005%

For more information and analysis on the market challenges, please turn to page 5.
Top 5 reasons to automate*:
• Control labor costs81%
• Gain production efficiencies74%
• Gain competitive edge48%
• Increased reliability47%
• Flexibility45%
* Respondents were asked to check all that apply
Does any of your packaging equipment have automation options not currently in use?
• Yes49%
• No51%
How much value do you place on single-vendor availability?
• Moderate value55%
• Great value30%
• Little value12%
• No value3%
Does your company currently use preferred vendor lists?
• Yes75%
• No25%
How often are these lists evaluated?
• Annually47%
• By project29%
• Every 6 months10%
• Every 2 years6%
• Every 3 years or more5%
• Every 18 months3%
Does your workforce hinder you from making purchasing investments?
• Yes10%
• Sometimes49%
• No41%
Top 5 reasons your workforce hinders new technology purchases:
• Operators lack technical/learning skills68%
• Maintenance/support staff lack skills44%
• Difficulty attracting skilled workers42%
• Too focused on “hitting the numbers”38%
• Management reluctant to invest35%

For more information and analysis on trends and opportunities, please turn to page 7.

Read other articles in the Packaging Automation Benchmark Study, Part 1:

Change is constant

Market Challenges

Opportunities For Improvement

Future Prospects
How would you respond to the following statement: Packaging machine flexibility provides key competitive advantages
• Completely agree51%
• Somewhat agree43%
• Somewhat disagree4%
• Completely disagree2%
Five years from now, how will your number of automation suppliers change?
• Increase42%
• Remain the same47%
• Decrease11%
Top 5 automation and control features to become important in next 5 years*:
• Ease of changeover62%
• Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)51%
• Human interface features41%
• Data acquisition46%
• Interchangeable/modular design38%
* Respondents were asked to check all that apply
Top 5 most desired product features*:
• Ability to access production data48%
• Recipe-driven/tool-less changeover44%
• Ability to access diagnostic data42%
• Connectivity via industry-standard network40%
• Consistent software structures (regardless of OEM)32%
* Respondents were asked to check all that apply
Top 5 most important product attributes*:
• Reliability70%
• Quality/durability62%
• Price60%
• Easy to use/install/maintain56%
• Price-to-performance51%
* Respondents were asked to check all that apply

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