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Top 9 packaging automation developments of 2015

Top 9 packaging automation developments of 2015
You'll find robots, cobots and hybrid robotic filling systems (shown) all part of the Top 9.

Robots, cobots, smart sensors, baggers, inspection systems and more topped the list of the most-read machinery and automation articles of the year at

Judging by the advancements we’ve reported on in 2015, it’s been quite a year in packaging machinery and automation. It was definitely a numbers game, and we don’t mean only from website metrics, though that was our determinant metric for this list. Notably, all but one of these best-read automation articles had a number in the headline to reflect 4, 5, 6 or 9 of something, though it turned out that that 13 was the most popular number of them all. We present our listing in reverse order, starting with #9.  


Filling machines—the core of most packaging lines—usually set the pace and character of a packaging operation. Modular designs in recent years have added some flexibility, and boosted delivery lead times. But a new concept in how fillers are built may upend how bottle liquid filling systems contribute to elite packaging operations:  hybrid systems integrated with robotics for accuracy and flexibility (shown above). Read more about it here.

Next is an article worthy of further inspection…


This five-product roundup of inspection systems set for display at Pack Expo Las Vegas offer a diverse range of technologies including X-ray, vision, thermal imaging and an integrated, space-saving checkweigher-vision combo system. Shown above is the latter, a checkweigher/vision system that accepts large package sizes, big inspection areas and multiple inspections while saving floor space.

Systems with “flexible” capabilities…


With the growing amount of flexible packaging across numerous product categories, it’s no wonder that an article on machinery to form-fill-and-seal pouches and bags drew interest. For example, the continuous-motion SVE 2520 DZ Doy Zip bagger (shown above) touts a record speed of 100 bags per minute and with small footprint requirements. You can read about it and three other related machines in 4 versatile baggers ease the conversion to flexible packaging.

A visit to ProMat 2015 provides 6 for #6…



A tradeshow like ProMat is an all-in-one experience that’s a boon for those vetting packaging machine models for purchase or simply perusing new equipment, features and options.  A March visit to this year’s show uncovered six diverse systems worth noting, including the new Octopus model stretch wrapper from Muller (shown) that’s a compact, entry-level unit rated in the 30-50 loads an hour range. You can get a grasp of the new machine from Muller and 5 others in 6 distinctive downstream packaging systems at ProMat.

9 case packers are next…


As most are, 2015 has been another a big year for tradeshows, including the Las Vegas iteration of the Pack Expo where Lisa Pierce, Executive Editor, reported on 9 key features of secondary packaging systems exhibited in Las Vegas. The case packers highlighted in her report handle cases, trays or shrink wrapped bundles. Shown is a new rapid-load case magazine on Wexxar case erectors cuts load time in half and safely loads cases while machine is running. Read about it and eight others here.

User-friendly machinery features rule at #4…


This report of machines with user-friendly features and attention to top performance on display at SouthPack these 5 new packaging systems stand out across a range of product categories: conveying, inspecting, flow wrapping, coding and case forming/sealing. Exemplary of the report  is this  lightweight, mobile belt conveyor. It is assembled and sold in 12.6-inch sections that can be connected in lengths up to 100 feet. You can read more in 5 hot new machines for your packaging operation.

Robots enabling packaging’s largest market…


Robotics make it possible for food and beverage processing and packaging companies to vastly increase the scale of factory automation over the past few decades. This increase in robotics integration has resulted in higher production rates, improved quality and improved safety—all by reducing the effects of challenging work environments and eliminating the impact of external environmental factors.

Find out more what robots can do in 6 ways robots improve food and beverage operations.

Small sensors are essential for Big Data and the IoT…



Continuing developments in sensing technology have fueled user expectations in nearly every industry, and packaging is no exception. Intelligent sensors are allowing packaging machinery manufacturers and their customers to get more data from individual sensors via a variety of interfaces, resulting in operational improvements. Even the big picture view, for Big Data and the industrial Internet of Things, starts with small data from smart sensors. Get a closer view of the action as seen from the view at the machinery and production line level in Smart sensors improve packaging machinery performance.

#1 is an expert compilation of 13 vetted automation developments…



13 automation game changers that ease engineering tasks was impressive in both its length and the amount of PageViews. Maybe the fact that it was one-stop shopping for a pallet-load of automation innovation, courtesy of John Henry, PD contributing editor, machinery expert and author of the KC Boxbottom Adventures in Packaging blogs. It shows what happens when an engineer is turned loose at a tech-heavy event like the Automate show, where Henry spent two days talking with exhibitors to discover the newest automation tools that included, of course, robots (shown).


Like machinery and automation? You’ll find that and more on the show floor at WestPack 2016, Feb. 9-11, in Anaheim, CA.


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