Even with a solid plan on paper, integrating packaging machines into a smooth-running line can get a bit sticky in the real world. The experts at Pro Mach showcased their proficiency in this regard at Pack Expo 2014 (Nov. 2-5; McCormick Place) by joining equipment from seven of its business units into one integrated end-of-line system. Two case packing lines fed into one high-speed palletizing station to recreate a packaging environment in which multiple products in mixed shipping containers (trays and cases) are loaded and shipped on a single pallet.
While this type of integration happens fairly often in actual packaging operations, getting all the pieces of equipment installed and running smoothly in just the couple of days exhibitors have for booth set-up is challenging—and it never fails to amaze me that they are able to do this. In most instances, the systems are assembled in a plant, tested, tweaked, then broken down and shipped to the show.
But John Eklund, vp marketing, Pro Mach, tells Packaging Digest that the first time these systems were put together was once they arrived at the show. This is a telling testament of how well the sister companies communicate and work together on projects for their customers.
The first case/tray packing line received spouted pouches—which were filled elsewhere in the massive Pro Mach booth by its Matrix unit on a Toyo Jidoki TT-15CW-10 pouch filler. A Kleenline infeed conveyor delivered the pouches to the new Brenton Pro Mach 2 case/tray packer (shown in the first part of the video). Filled trays were then moved to the palletizing station via Shuttleworth conveyors.
The second case packing line received pillow bags of candy—which were filled separately in the Pro Mach booth on the Matrix Morpheus box-continuous-motion bagger. A WexxarBel case erector set up the cases, the new Edson Raptor top-load case packer filled them and they were sealed on a WexxarBel tape sealer. The cases also moved to the palletizing station via a Shuttleworth conveyor.
Cases and trays were palletized using the Currie by Brenton robotic MasterPal palletizer (shown in the second part of the video), which transfers a full layer at a time and is able to handle up to 500 lbs per layer. The system’s patented slatted-apron technology supports an entire layer from the bottom to ensure load stability. According to the company, MasterPal provides consistent tight layer grids of palletized product through a unique “cradle and place” technology to gently handle full layers of product with each motion.