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Testing in the packaging industry is crucial for ensuring that packaging not only meets legal standards but also supports product quality throughout its lifecycle. Deciding between establishing an in-house laboratory and test equipment rental is a major strategic choice for companies, influencing not just cost structures but also the speed and innovation of packaging solutions.

In-house laboratories offer complete control and facilitate immediate adaptations in testing processes, which is vital for industries facing rapid technological changes or stringent regulatory updates. Renting equipment, on the other hand, provides flexibility and cost savings, especially beneficial for smaller enterprises or those in the initial stages of product development.

Test equipment rental: the short-term solution

Renting test equipment offers businesses in the packaging industry an alternative to purchasing, providing temporary access to necessary tools without full ownership. This approach is characterized by flexibility in test equipment rental terms, a broad selection of available equipment, and included maintenance and support services.

Cost efficiency: Depending on the economic focus or investment strategy of a company, it is interesting to consider renting packaging testing machines. This allows us to find companies equipped with a laboratory and use it only when necessary, thus avoiding the large upfront costs of purchasing. This can be particularly advantageous for startups or smaller companies that may not have the resources to invest in expensive testing machinery.
Variety of equipment options: Test equipment rental agreements often provide access to a wide range of testing machines and technologies. This flexibility allows companies to utilize the latest and most suitable equipment for their specific testing needs without having to commit to a long-term investment.
Access to professional expertise:  Many test equipment rental providers also offer the expertise of trained professionals who can conduct tests, analyze results, and ensure that the equipment is used effectively. This access to skilled personnel can be a significant advantage, ensuring that tests are carried out accurately and to the highest standards.
Criteria for choosing a test equipment rental for a company: When selecting a rental service, companies can base their decision on several factors:

  • Compliance Standards: Choose a provider that can meet specific regulatory standards required for your products.
  • Product Type: Select equipment that is best suited for testing the specific types of packaging you produce.
  • Support for Research: For businesses focused on innovation and research, partnering with universities or specialized research centers through equipment rental can be beneficial.

Despite its advantages, renting test equipment also presents several challenges that can affect the efficiency and long-term financial benefits of this approach.

Availability issues: The most pressing concern is the potential unavailability of equipment for long-term projects, which could delay testing processes.
Control over testing schedules: Renting may result in less control over testing schedules due to dependency on the test equipment rental company’s availability, affecting a company’s ability to perform tests promptly.
Long-term financial efficiency: For companies requiring frequent use of specific equipment, the costs of continuous renting might eventually exceed the cost of purchasing. Calculating the duration and frequency of equipment use is crucial; if usage is expected to exceed 60-70% of the time, purchasing may be more economical.
Logistical complications: Renting requires coordinating with external parties and transporting goods to off-site locations for testing. This can complicate logistics, potentially compromise sample integrity, and add unforeseen delays.

Renting test equipment can offer flexibility, lower initial costs, and access to advanced technology for packaging industry businesses. However, the decision between renting and purchasing should consider long-term usage, financial implications, and operational efficiencies. Companies must weigh the benefits of reduced initial investments and access to high-end technology against the challenges of equipment availability, logistical constraints, and potential long-term costs to make an informed decision that aligns with their operational needs and strategic goals.

Advantages of investing in testing solutions

An in-house laboratory is a facility owned and operated by a company to conduct tests and analyses relevant to its products and processes. These labs are built within the company’s premises and are fully equipped with the necessary tools and technologies to perform a variety of tests. Key features of an in-house laboratory include:

  • Integrated within company operations: The lab is part of the company’s infrastructure, enabling seamless integration of testing and production processes.
  • Dedicated equipment and staff: The lab is typically staffed by trained professionals who are familiar with the company’s products and needs.
  • Customized testing capabilities: Tests can be tailored specifically to the company’s requirements, allowing for more detailed and relevant results.
Unlimited testing: Companies can perform an unlimited number of tests without additional costs, optimizing their processes continuously.
Faster certification and analysis: In-house labs facilitate quicker product certification and more thorough analysis, reducing formalities and delays.
Potential for additional revenue: Once established, in-house labs can offer testing services to other businesses, creating new revenue streams.
Enhanced company image and logistics efficiency: Operating an in-house lab demonstrates a commitment to quality and optimization, potentially improving client perceptions and adapting more effectively to logistical demands.

In-house laboratories provide significant advantages including enhanced control, immediate testing capabilities, and tailored testing processes, albeit with notable financial and logistical commitments. Companies should consider these investments in light of their continuous testing requirements and the expected return on investment from operating such a facility. An in-house laboratory is particularly valuable for companies that regard testing as an essential and persistent element of their product development and quality assurance efforts.

While an in-house laboratory offers key benefits, it also involves significant challenges like high initial costs and ongoing maintenance needs.

High upfront costs: The initial investment required to establish an in-house laboratory is significant. Companies must purchase specialized equipment, which can be costly. This is a major consideration for businesses deciding between setting up their own lab and renting equipment.
Maintenance and updates of equipment: Owning a lab also entails ongoing maintenance and periodic updates of the equipment to keep up with technological advancements. These costs can be substantial and require dedicated budgeting over the life of the lab.
Required space and trained personnel: Setting up an in-house laboratory requires sufficient physical space, which may necessitate expansion of existing premises. Additionally, companies must invest in training personnel to operate the lab equipment and analyze the results effectively, which can be both time-consuming and expensive.

How to decide what’s best for your business: testing solutions vs. test equipment rental

Deciding whether to establish an in-house laboratory or opt for renting test equipment requires careful consideration of several factors that can significantly impact the financial and operational aspects of your business in the packaging industry.

Factors to Consider Before Deciding

  • Budget: Evaluate the available financial resources and the potential long-term savings or costs associated with each option.
  • Testing Frequency: Consider how often you will need to conduct tests. Frequent testing may justify the initial investment in an in-house lab.
  • Specific Industry Needs: Assess the specific requirements of the packaging industry and your particular product needs, including compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Scale of Operations: Larger operations might benefit more from in-house facilities due to the volume of testing, whereas smaller firms might find renting more cost-effective.

Decision-Making Checklist

  • Assess the initial capital and ongoing expenses for setting up an in-house laboratory.
  • Compare the long-term costs of renting equipment versus purchasing and maintaining your own.
  • Consider the potential delays in testing due to equipment availability when renting.
  • Evaluate the importance of having control over testing processes and data confidentiality.
  • Determine the capability of test equipment rental options to meet specific, custom testing needs.

Safe Load TT: create your laboratory and go beyond test equipment rental

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we have a track record of two decades in the field of transport simulation and packaging optimization, designing and manufacturing our own equipment and systems. We are the only company in the world that can deliver turnkey, personalized testing solutions.

We have assisted a number of companies in creating their own packaging laboratories and recoup their investment. Some examples include:

Stretch developed the first Mobile test engineering lab in the Nordic region

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Supported by our track record of over two decades in the transport simulation and packaging optimization sector, at Safe Load TT we adapt to your needs: from the selection of the most suitable equipment, to the training of technicians and an express maintenance & repair program available worldwide.

Additionally, we help you calculate your ROI, so that you can find a solution at an optimal price without limiting the technical capabilities of your laboratory. Get in touch with us and we will help you choose the best testing solutions to optimize your packaging processes.


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