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Filling liquid and dry chemicals

Ulano International (V.I.), Inc., Brooklyn, NY, specializes in the manufacture of stencil-making products and chemicals for screen printing, as well as masking films. The company recently installed two new packaging lines to run the chemicals: one line running liquid ink in gallon and quart containers, and the other running sensitizing powder in six bottle sizes ranging from 2 to 15 g.

Because of the hygroscopic nature of the powder, it is filled in a climate-controlled room. The powder line incorporates a Model A-410 automatic auger filler from AMS Filling Systems, Inc. (www.amsfilling.com). The A-410 filler features a digital, electronic scale from Mettler-Toledo, Inc. (www.mt.com) and Allen Bradley PLC-based controls from Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com) that produce netweight accuracies of ± 0.1 to 0.25 percent on fills ranging from less than 1g up to 100 kg. The containers are manually placed on an unscrambling table from which they are shuttled automatically through the filler using the included conveyor and indexing package. After filling, the small bottles are collected on an accumulation table from which they are capped and labeled manually.

The powder, which is added by the end user when they use the ink, is a component of the liquid developer, so the small bottles are taken to the case-packing area of the liquid line, where they are packed into the cases with the containers of liquid ink.

The liquid line incorporates an AMS Model A-110 single-head semi-automatic auger filler that is similar to the A-410 on the powder line, except that it uses a progressing-cavity positive-displacement pump, rather than an auger, to dispense the product. The operator initiates the filling operation by setting the container on the scale and stepping on a foot-switch. The system takes the tare weight of the container, after which the AMS performs a bulk/dribble fill until the target weight is achieved. At this point, the operator replaces the filled container with an empty one and repeats the cycle. All of the pertinent filling information is stored in memory.

Rypac Packaging Machinery, Inc. (www.rypac.com), which was deeply involved in this project, is the local distributor for AMS, as well as for Labeling Systems, Inc. (www.labelingsystems.com), which supplied the two labelers on the liquid line. Rypack also is the distributor for O/K Durable Packaging, Inc., a div. of the O/K International Group (www.okcorp.com), which supplied case-erecting and sealing equipment, as well as conveyors. Says Steve Friedman of Rypac, "My role in this project was to create the line concept, get the quotes done, sell the vendor's capabilities, negotiate the orders and act as a general contractor by tracking the manufacturing at each vendor and personally overseeing the physical installation."

The project was initiated at the 2003 Interphex show. "We met Steve Friedman at the Interphex show, and he helped us put the pieces together," says Raj Daniel, Ulano vp of operations. "And we've established a very good relationship with AMS. Our products are dangerous. They will explode if they are compacted too much, and AMS came up with a dispensing system that eliminates this problem. We also had some static problems that they helped us with."

Containers leaving the filler enter a semi-automatic capping station where a worker places a cap on the container and then activates a vertical press that descends and presses the cap into place. The containers then enter an adjacent labeler from Labeling Systems that applies pressure-sensitive front and back labels to the tapered gallon container and wraparound labels to the straight-sided, cylindrical quart container.

A top hold-down belt captures containers as they enter the continuous-motion labeler, and a photoelectric product sensor triggers the labeling heads to dispense label(s) onto the container while it is captured between the conveyor and a powered, top hold-down belt.

When the labeler is running the round, tapered buckets, labels are stripped from the backing web by a set of vacuum-grid applicators, which then apply them to the curved side of the bucket as it pushes through the applicator. A secondary wiping section equipped with spring-loaded rollers to ensure full wipe-down of labels on tapered buckets completes the label application.

The smaller, quart bucket requires applicator changeparts as well as an additional rail assembly to support the bucket's wire handle and keep it out of the way during labeling. The handle requires positioning by the operator as the bucket enters the labeler.

Wrap labeling takes place when the line is running round containers. One of the labeling heads features a linear slide base so it can be repositioned from the top hold-down conveyor to the wrap station to run round containers. An extended peeler bar dispenses the label into the pinch of the wrap belt and the container as it enters the wrap station, which is equipped with a high-friction belt and foam backup plate to rotate the container for complete wipe down of the wrap labels. A product sensor triggers the label dispenser at the appropriate time.

From the labeler, the containers are conveyed to a hand-packing station where workers place them in cases. The containers are conveyed to the pack station on a conveyor from O/K Conveyors, a div. of the O/K International Group (www.okcorp.com), which presents the filled containers to the operators at an ergonomic height that improves operator efficiency.

The filler features a digital, electronic scale and controls that produce netweight accuracies of ± 0.1 to 0.25 percent on fills ranging from less than a gram up to 100 kg.

Ulano has installed a Duraformer 2 automatic case erector and integral bottom sealer from O/K Durable Packaging, Inc. for its case-erecting needs. The Allen-Bradley PLC-controlled machine erects corrugated cases, seals the bottoms and delivers them to the hand-packing station. The Duraformer 2 squaring arm is equipped with a venturi vacuum system and suction cups to securely pick up each case from the walk-in, horizontal, powered magazine. The squaring arm erects cases, and a carriage assembly takes them from the arm to side belts. As each case travels through the machine, pneumatic flap-kickers close the bottom flaps, and tape is applied. Additional features include the Allen-Bradley text display, pass-code protected maintenance pages, a jam sensor and interlocked safety guarding. The erected and sealed cases exit the Duraformer 2 and are conveyed to the pack stations.

The operator at the first station takes the containers from the product conveyor and manually inserts the required number of containers into each case. When a case is filled, the operator steps on a foot pedal, which releases the case to the second station. The second station is used to manually insert stirrers, literature and/or the small bottles of dry sensitizing chemicals described previously, when any of these are required.

Once this second step is completed, the operator steps on a second foot pedal to release the case into the automatic case sealer. For products where nothing is packed at the second station, the station can be turned off so that cases pass through it unimpeded to enter the sealer. The automatic case sealer is an O/K Durable Packaging Duraseal 32FC Mini that closes the top flaps and seals them with tape.

O/K Durable Packaging, which supplied the conveyor for the two-person pack station, designed and installed all of the necessary carton stops, timers, foot pedals and controls.

Sealed cases exit the Duraseal 32FC Mini and are conveyed around a 180-deg curve to a single loading station. An operator from station one or station two packs the sealed cases into a master shipper. Once the master shipper is filled, the operator closes the top flaps and advances the case into the O/K Durable Packaging Econoseal 32 semi-automatic case sealer. Tape is applied to the top and bottom of the master shipper, after which it is conveyed to a Labeling Systems dual-head labeler that places preprinted labels on both sides of the cases. A Microjet ink-jet printer from Loveshaw, an ITW co. (www.loveshaw.com) then prints date and product codes on the cases, after which they are hand-palletized.

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