For those facing labor and productivity challenges — perhaps as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — a new automatic carton magazine loader can help.
Carton loaders make it faster, more efficient, and safer for line operators to repeatedly lift and load heavy cases full of cartons on packaging lines. Now, with the debut a new automatic magazine loader (AML), packaging machinery supplier R.A. Jones extends those benefits another step upstream. The system automates these basic procedures:
• It automatically pulls carton-filled cases from a conveyor;
• Orients them properly for loading to match the magazine infeed;
• Aligns any fallen cartons before placing the new case of cartons on the magazine;
• Extracts cartons from the case and loads them into the magazine;
• Disposes empty corrugated cases after removing and placing cartons; and
• Continues replenishing cartons onto the magazine as long as they’re needed.
The system consists of six components: a case infeed conveyor (pictured); a case flipping station; a carton loading tool; an extended carton magazine; an empty case conveyor; and an operator platform. The company details these stations in its webpage for the system.
Carton correction tech picks up fallen cartons.
The company cites its proprietary carton correction technology as one of the keys to the new offering, because it helps prevent jams, bottlenecks, and slowdowns. Specifically, the company says it “helps catch and reposition any cartons that may have fallen over at the end of the printed stack” before the loader places the new case-load of cartons in the magazine. In such operations, the time and costs savings can be significant.
The technology is managed by a single integrated computer control station.
The system doesn’t use robotics but offers what the company says can be “a more manageable and cost-effective” option for those challenged by the technology. Those challenges can include greater capital investments, significant line overhauls, greater floor space, and, in general, greater complexity.
“Game changing” benefits.
In announcing the new AML, Jeff Wintring, chief technology officer for R.A. Jones noted that the COVID-19 pandemic “created unprecedented challenges for manufacturers, asking them to meet elevated production levels with limited resources.” And any technology that can “help ease that pressure, and do so in a way that also addresses important needs such as workplace safety, becomes a game-changer.”
The benefits of the AML may be that game changer based on the benefits it promises. They include minimizing the time employees spend loading machines, as well as eliminating the strain of repetitively lifting, rotating, and placing cartons on the horizontal magazine. All that’s left to do is place cases in the queue; the AML manages the subsequent steps.
You can see the system in action in this video: