Half of the food manufacturers surveyed in new research from PMMI (www.pmmi.org) say they expect to purchase new equipment in the next 12 months, and more than a third of those (34%) expect their spending to be even higher than originally budgeted. What those potential customers want from their new machines are automation, ease of use, energy efficiency and adaptability, according to the study, "Trends and Advances in Food Packaging 2010."
Food packagers want multi-functional equipment, PMMI says, and they want equipment that is more intelligent and more automated, and has a user-friendly interface. "I want state-of-the-art equipment that's energy-efficient and will reduce labor and increase capacity," says one plant manager interviewed for the study. "Machine flexibility for easy pouch size changeover is important, as is machinery that does not cost a lot to repair and maintain."
Energy efficiency is important, respondents say, not only to comply with food packagers' evolving sustainability initiatives, but also to make the machines more cost-effective to operate. In another economy-driven trend, many food packagers are trying to stretch their operating budgets by extending the life of existing equipment or refurbishing older equipment not currently in use.
When it comes to new equipment, food packagers demand more-sophisticated packaging machinery, with flexibility, multi-purpose functionality at the push of a button, variable product line speeds, and energy efficiency—all at a reasonable price. "Flexible changeover, versatility to retrofit for changing up the line and multi-purpose equipment that meets several needs are what we envision in the next generation of packaging equipment," says one senior engineer.
PMMI's study is based on interviews with 50 food manufacturers and 15 packaging experts who represent 20 of the top 75 food packaging companies. The combined revenues of those 20 come to more than half of that industry's revenue.
Looking to Buy
Half of the food manufacturers surveyed recently by PMMI
say they expect to purchase new equipment in the next
12 months. From those new machines, they want ease of
use, energy efficiency and adaptability.