The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Smart Packaging Lines

Let’s talk about AI in smart packaging lines. Any company that packages products should take a closer look at the role of AI for packaging.

Any company that packages products should take a closer look at the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in smart packaging lines. AI is a game changer with many benefits. Take a closer look at smart packaging and AI, and why they’re so beneficial in any company that packages items.

What Is Smart Packaging?

Smart packaging is a packaging process that uses sensors, cameras, lasers, and other forms of technology to continuously scan, identify, and measure items being packaged to make sure they’re packaged safely, properly, and with less waste. It makes it easier to control quality, track the location of products, and avoid damage during packaging and shipping. All of this reduces waste.

Benefits of AI and Packaging Automation

When you pair AI with smart packaging, it adds additional benefits. AI offers the ability to analyze and diagnose issues in real time and make instant adjustments and changes to prevent loss. It stops having to shut down an entire line, so there’s no stoppage in workflows. Packing systems and AI do a lot for your company. Take a closer look at the benefits.

Better Efficiency:

Older machines use a lot more electricity than new machines. Changes in technology have made motors, pumps, etc. faster without consuming as much power. For this reason, you’ll find newer smart machines are more efficient. Plus, they constantly monitor the components and alert employees to changes before there’s a breakdown.

Increased Productivity:

When you have a packing line operated by people, they need breaks and meals. Sick days and vacation time also impact efficiency. If your worker had a rough night with a sick child, that worker may not be working at the fastest pace possible, and even if they are, the risk of mistakes is heightened.

Instead, your workers learn valuable programming skills, and machines run 24/7 never needing a break or making time-consuming and costly mistakes. 

Less Waste:

AI is precise and that doesn’t change as more work is done. Because you have the system constantly scanning weights, measurements, etc., there’s no waste. You won’t have the machine accidentally overfilling a jar and losing product. The machines aren’t going to lose their balance when tripping over a box and dropping a crate of materials that shatter and are no longer usable. 

Heightened Safety:

At the same time that you have less waste, it also keeps your workers safe. They won’t try to lift something and pull a muscle. They don’t have to use a forklift to load a hopper with more bottle caps. AI and smart machines take care of all of this. 

Another aspect is that packaging automation and AI work quickly while constantly running scans. This lowers the risk of food poisoning from materials that have warmed up too much while a canning line is run. They don’t need to work in a warm room or dress in multiple layers to stay warm enough if items need to be packaged in a refrigerated environment.

Enhanced Traceability:

AI makes it easy to track products from the start of the process until it reaches its destination. Items like QR codes and UPCs allow for tracking of materials from your factory to a store or warehouse. You can even use the technology to have consumers interact with your company once it’s in their hands.

Happier Customers:

Smart packaging is faster and more efficient. You can keep costs down with increased supply and less waste. Plus, you save money on utilities and maintenance, further reducing the amount you have to charge for your product. You’re filling orders on time and keeping prices down, which makes for very happy customers. Even if a shipment doesn’t arrive on time, you have AI that can quickly track where the order is and why it hasn’t reached the customer yet.

How Is AI Incorporated in a Smart Packaging Line?

All of these benefits are available, but it does depend on how AI is incorporated into a smart packaging line. The use of AI in your plant determines the exact benefits you gain.

  • AI-Powered Packaging Inspection: AI continually scans packaging to ensure quality.
  • AI-Powered Predictive Maintenance: Machines are monitored for wear and tear and adjustments are made if any calibration has changed.
  • Optimized Packaging Lines: AI makes sure all packaging lines are optimized and running efficiently.
  • Sustainable Solutions: AI determines what packaging is best given the size and weight of the items. It can also analyze what you use and guide you to more sustainable options.
  • AI-powered supply chain management: AI tracks inventory and ensures supplies are ordered in plenty of time to ensure items never run out.

Examples of AI in Smart Packaging Lines

What are some examples of smart packaging lines? Check out these case studies and examples of the benefits of AI.

Amazon’s Promise to Reduce Unnecessary Packaging:

Here’s an example you’ll probably have a lot of experience with. Online shopping picked up its pace during the pandemic, as more people stayed at home and remained socially distant to prevent the spread of the virus.

Amazon embraced smart packaging to cut the number of shipping boxes and cardboard that was being recycled even before that year. Starting in 2015, the company made it a goal to reduce the weight of its packaging by a third, which equated to a reduction of 915,000 tons of packaging materials around the world. To do this, they came up with a machine-learning solution powered by AWS technology. 

If you’ve ordered from Amazon, you might be amazed by how well it works. Suppose you place an order one day, but it hasn’t shipped yet when you realize you needed something else. You place another order, but Amazon’s smart packaging system notices that multiple orders are going to the same name and address and marks them all to ship together in one box. It also analyzes what’s being shipped. Something like a case of printer paper doesn’t need a second box.

Haley Manufacturing Provides Automated Packing For High Volumes at Low Costs

Mitsubishi Electric helped Haley Manufacturing come up with high-tech automated packaging systems that can bag produce just as well as it boxes it. With labor hard to find in the agricultural industry, these machines can carefully package produce to avoid bruising and crushing, which ensures it hasn’t started to rot when it reaches stores and warehouses. 

The robots in these automated packaging lines analyze the size of the box needed and choose the correct cardboard padding before and after the produce is added. Plus, the robotic system runs predictive maintenance to run efficiently throughout the year.

AI is becoming increasingly important in businesses today, and smart packaging is one of the best examples of why it’s so vital. It boosts efficiency and decreases scrap or waste. It heightens sustainability and accountability. At the same time this is happening, energy use decreases, saving money and embracing green-friendly factory practices. Best of all, customers are much happier.

Talk to Mitsubishi Electric about the benefits of AI in smart packaging. Our experts help you determine the best steps to take to bring your company into the world of automation and AI.

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