Automation helps herbal cosmetics player boost production twenty-fold

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bottle

Herbal Works, a producer of all-natural bath and body aromatherapy
products, says it has installed a newly automated processing system
that has helped to boost its production nearly twenty-fold.

The company has experienced huge growth since its inception in 2001 - growth that has come off the back of significant consumer interest in natural-based products.

But off the back of this growth came a significant problem for the company - how to keep up with the demand. Basically the company was struggling to keep up with production demands, which led it to seek out a solution.

A visit to last year's Pack Expo show in Las Vegas gave the company a number of ideas concerning automated solutions, which eventually led to the purchase of a Vol-A volumetric filler from New York-based Kaps-All Packaging Systems.

"All of our packaging operations at the time were manual, which impeded our ability to increase production. I knew that we needed new automated equipment to help grow our business,"​ explained Nadia Gross, president of Herbal Works.

The company produces herbal body lotions, massage oils and body scrubs with ingredients such as ginger, lemongrass, rosemary, grapefruit oil, chamomile and bergamot, which are carried by major stores throughout the United States and distributed in international markets including Europe, Canada and the Caribbean.

But recognizing the limitations of the company's manual packaging operations, Gross realized that it was time to upgrade the production facilities.

The Vol-A is said to have a company design that saves floor space and is capable of handling a wide variety of bottle sizes containing both liquids and semi-liquid forms. On top of this flexibility is a key design feature, with a microprocessor allowing the machinery to be programmed according to fill volume and fill rate, thus limiting changeover times.

The company also purchased a 48" unscrambling turntable and a 48" accumulation turntable from Accutek Packaging Company, based in California. The equipment is designed to load containers onto a filling line and to collect filled bottles respectively.

According to Nature Works, the combination of the these two pieces of equipment has helped the company to increase production 1,900 per cent, in turn unlocking a production bottle neck and giving the company room for further expansion in the future.

"Before we attended the Pack Expo show, we were only able to produce 5,000 bottles of product in one month. With the Kaps-All and Accutek machinery, we now produce over 100,000 bottles per month,"​ said Gross.

"Thanks to this new equipment, our business more than doubled in 2005, and it doesn't show any signs of slowing down in the near future. We've already increased business by 78 per cent within the past few months."

And further expansion is certainly on the cards. The company says it will be attending this year's Pack Expo event, to be held in Chicago in October, to conduct further research into machinery that has the potential to further increase production efficiencies and continue to meet the still increasing consumer demands.

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