PWR - Effect pandemic on packaging productivity

Taking the right steps on an automation journey

Suzanne Gill from UK Magazine Food processing recently spoke to Peter Mellon of PWR about the effect that the current pandemic is having on packaging line productivity.

Traditionally, manual food packaging operations have been designed with just 1m distance between operators working on a line and often operators will also be positioned on both sides of a line. The current social distancing measures, introduced by the UK government to help stop the spread of Covid-19 have therefore effectively halved production speeds on a typical manual packaging line because it is now only possible to have 50% of operators working on the line. Of course, one solution is to install screens between operators, but these also take up space and still require operators to be spaced further apart than they traditionally would have been. So, productivity on many packaging lines has been reduced – at a time that many retail suppliers are seeing unprecedented increases in demand.

“Customers are telling us that social distancing and the need for self-isolation is having an impact on their business today and this is just one of the reasons that many food processors are now starting to look more seriously at automated robotic packaging solutions,” explained Peter Mellon, director of PWR, specialists in developing automated robotic packaging solutions for the food industry. “The pandemic has given many food processors a more serious appetite to look at automation. The current 2m social distancing measures are effectively putting UK industry at a disadvantage with the rest of Europe, where less stringent distancing is being implemented.”

Download the full interview Food Processing June 2020 – Interview.