When selecting an automation supplier, it is important for manufacturers and original equipment manufacturers to find a reliable and flexible partner with whom they can have a long relationship, said Jason Sutton, Area Sales Manager at SMC Australia/New Zealand.
Selecting the most suitable products for sensitive applications such as wetter conditions and thinner plastics is vital to the smooth-running of an application to ensure improved efficiencies and reduced downtime, Sutton said.
Today’s dairy packaging machines make use of thinner plastics so automation components need to be able to handle the intricacies of such materials.
“We have come across more and more dairy packaging machines which makes use of thinner plastics and here, not just any brand can be spec’d,” he said. “Wetter environments too require specific components to do the job and to ensure a long service life.”
Important factors to consider when automating such applications include more frequent splash with the use of thinner materials and bottles due to the increase in material strength.
IP ratings must also be considered, Sutton said.
“Environments such as these adhere to stringent health and safety requirements and as such, an IP67 rating is required when selecting your products”.
Price is always a consideration, he said, and customer support should be top of a supplier’s priority list.
“In understanding the scope and target price, a supplier will understand the intricacies of the application and will walk the journey with you to find the best possible solution. The consideration between selecting a full stainless-steel actuator needs to be balanced against using a standard cylinder with stainless steel inclusions to limit corrosion.”
The application, occurrence and severity of any splash or wash-down needed to be considered and an experienced partner would be able to guide a customer through that, Sutton said.