UK packaging machinery buyers are increasingly expecting new equipment to be delivered within as little as 12-16 weeks, a leading trade organisation study has revealed.

Globally, packaging managers are concentrating purchasing on fewer machinery suppliers so as to secure keener prices and lower administrative costs, says the research, by the Arlington, Virginia-headquartered Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute.

Speaking at Total, PMMI president Chuck Yuska outlined the key findings of a PMMI study focussing mainly on the UK packaging machinery scene. Not only have expected delivery times fallen to 3-4months from a former 26-week norm but UK end-users now increasingly want “press-button, walkaway-style” equipment and “low-priced, basic level” automatic machines as they seek to cut operating costs. Pallet wrapping and other overwrapping and flow wrapping processes are increasingly moving towards high-speed and higher output automation systems, while more prospective buyers are demanding demonstrations.

Other UK trends include increased focus on preventive maintenance, growing integration of state-of-the-art electronics with mechanical technology and a reduction in machine complexity, particularly in the motion control field.

Yuska also looked forward to November’s PackExpo exhibition in Chicago, which will feature new pavilions focussing on RFID and anti-counterfeiting, bioterrorism and product adulteration technologies.