Smithers' knowledge extends from hands-on production line experience to understanding the related internal and external pressures outside of the production floor which impact line efficiencies. Clients benefit from Smithers' understanding of packaging material performance & behaviour on high speed production lines to World's Best Practice identified by our global exposure. 

Projects can involve:

  • Material selection and auditing packaging converter capabilities
  • Specification writing to workable tolerances
  • Identifying & understanding non-direct influences to packaging line efficiency
  • Best practice in material storage and inspection
  • Machine and packaging variables
  • Manufacturing tolerances of packaging
  • Data collection & analysis
  • On-line troubleshooting
Projects include developing a detailed technical understanding of the factors affecting performance through pre-lab analysis, which might include line trials, desk based research, interview with customers and suppliers, all leading to a thorough evaluation.

Where suitable test methods and laboratory or line equipment exists then standard methods and equipment/techniques can be used in the investigation. However, often standards do not provide sufficient flexibility for investigatory work, so Smithers has developed expertize in test rig/equipment design and development, with the objective to generate specific data that goes well beyond that of conventional testing. In many cases it is only with this highly critical and technical based approach, coupled with practical experience of our consultants, that meaningful solutions can be identified.

Research collaborations

Smithers have recently collaborated with the University of Bath, UK, in a major study into understanding machine-material interaction for the improved design and operation of packaging machinery.

The study has provided the fundamental understanding of the nature of the interactions and the behavior of cartonboard packaging materials during processing that is necessary to create machinery that better handles thinner, lighter-weight and recycled materials. The tools and methods created by the research team have enabled the optimum material properties to be established for particular processes, the re-engineering of packaging design, the redesign of tooling and matching of tooling to new and emerging materials, and the determination of robust machine settings (less sensitive to material variation). It has been shown that the ability to represent machine-material interaction enables reasoning about material, machinery and product within a single approach, and bridges the link between the three key supply chains: materials, machinery and consumer goods manufacturers. The latter of these is critical for consumer goods manufacturers to meet the ever-increasing legislative requirements.

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