Uptime is more than the absence of downtime: It is how well your packaging line is running, which is contingent on how efficient each system in the line is operating. Here are four pieces of packaging equipment that improve their efficiency to help give your entire production line a boost.
Performance improvements apply to packages, as well as to packaging equipment. So we also present one new child-resistant closure design that enhances ease of use without sacrificing safety.
You can see these five new products in person at EastPack 2017 (June 13-15; New York City) during the Innovations in Packaging Performance tour on Wed., June 14, from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. We’ll meet a few minutes before 2:00 p.m. in Booth 341 before embarking on our 1-hour circuit. I’ll be your tour guide, and will talk as we walk about how these performance improvements fit into overall packaging production and design trends. Come join us! Tour attendees will vote at the end of our trek on which new product will earn the 2017 EastPack Innovation Award.
We present the new developments here in alphabetical order by company name.
Page 1. Dartronics Inc.: Melt-and-dispense glue system efficiently seals packages
Page 2. EAM-Mosca Corp.: Strapping system uses ultrasonic sealing to secure pallet loads
Page 3. Keyence Corp.: Inkjet printer increases efficiency with auto-clean function
Page 4. The Plastek Group: Child-resistant closure performs for laundry pods
Page 5. Universal Robots USA Inc.: New 3D cobot packaging application shows performance flexibility
Melt-and-dispense glue system efficiently seals packages
A new compact design of the Graco InvisiPac HM25c Tank-Free hot melt application system integrates easily into existing packaging lines. The benefit of this on-demand system is the elimination of adhesive char and the inevitable downtime for maintenance.
Graco InvisiPac uses melting chambers that have a greater melting surface area versus the typical tank-based systems or reservoirs with melting fins. This means the equipment can melt the adhesive fast and dispense it immediately so waxes in the adhesive don’t evaporate, which saves on material costs. And since the adhesive doesn’t sit in a tank and char, frequent downtime for cleaning out plugged up nozzles is a thing of the past. According to the manufacturer’s distributor Dartronics, which will be showing this system at EastPack 2017, operators using InvisiPac hot melt systems can go over a year or more without changing settings or even touching the system, depending on the application.
Additionally, the InvisiPac HM25c is equipped with LineSite remote monitoring, so production managers can receive real-time performance reports and notifications to make sure their packaging lines keep producing.
Dartronics Inc., EastPack 2017 Booth 2821
Strapping system uses ultrasonic sealing to secure pallet loads
The new USI-Sonixs side-seal strapping system uses the Sonixs ultrasonic sealing system to create strong seals with no smoke, no warm up time and low energy use. With a long system life, low operating costs and affordable replacement parts, the Sonixs strapping head can secure loads up to 1.8 meters wide (almost 6 feet) by 2.75 meters high (9 feet). It applies tension of 450 lbs to plastic straps (polypropylene or polyethylene) with up to 750 lbs breaking strength.
Available with operator-initiated or automatic cycling, the unitizer is often integrated into a conveyor line and indexes to meet the side of the load to be secured. It offers optional pallet void feed, underfeed or automatic through/underfeed.
See a video of the system’s operation here.
EAM-Mosca Corp., Booth 2829
Inkjet printer increases efficiency with auto-clean function
The recently updated MK-U Series continuous inkjet printer has a unique auto-cleaning function that uses 70% less solvent yet ensures a deep cleaning. How? The system uses high-pressure pulsed jets of solvent to clean the ink path, nozzle, electrode plates and gutter all at once. No printhead disassembly or manual cleaning is needed.
Benefits of this system is using less fluids for lower cleaning costs. Also, minimizing exposure to chemicals is safer for employees. It is more efficient, too, because an operator can press the “clean” button and do other tasks while the system does the cleaning automatically.
You can see the Auto Shower Cleaning function at 0:14 seconds in this short product video.
Additionally, the system keeps track of when it is cleaned for any production reports.
Keyence Corp., EastPack 2017 Booth 3252
Child-resistant closure performs for laundry pods
Not all performance improvements take place on packaging equipment. In partnership with cleaning products leader Church & Dwight, The Plastek Group developed a new 125mm-diameter squeeze-and-turn child-resistant closure for laundry pods that provides easy access to the contents, while ensuring proper child resistance and senior friendly access in accordance with ISO 8317.
The design team adapted the squeeze-and-turn closure, used for many years for drug packaging, to a package with a much larger diameter. Main benefits of this new design is ease of use, including for seniors, without sacrificing child resistant protection.
The consumer overrides a lug to unscrew the closure to gain access to the pods. Two offset tabs—separated anatomically—can be squeezed, even by smaller hands, to easily span the lug.
Watch the video here.
The Plastek Group, EastPack 2017 Booth 3003
New 3D cobot packaging application shows performance flexibility
Robotics, in general, offer a high level of production flexibility due to their ability to be reprogrammed for a new task. Collaborative robots take that up a notch by also operating more flexibly in a plant environment along with fellow human workers.
Universal Robots will be demonstrating how its cobot arms have been used by integrator Robotic Vision Technologies to pick-rotate-and-place parts/products off a conveyor in 2.5D and onto a pallet or tray in 3D. RVT’s collaborative Vision Factory is a 3D product, and the demo will be showing both 2.5D and 3D.
What 2.5D means is a combination of 3-dimensional position (X, Y and Z) and 1-dimensional rotation (rZ). Essentially, 2.5D is a standard 2D solution with depth information, whereas the 3D solution finds an object’s location in all 6 degrees of freedom.
The system will be shown picking up randomly placed parts from a conveyor, rotating them and placing them in a moveable tray. Often times, packaging operations are presented with incoming product that is not well organized. This solves the issue when trays or pallets are not precise enough for the robot to blindly pick or pack.
With 2.5D depth information, the robot can just as easily find pieces that are stacked two to three high.
Universal Robots USA Inc., EastPack 2017 in co-located ATX East Booth 2529