Every once in a while a packaging development comes that is as revolutionary as it is simple, a combination of elusive qualities that is a rare bird indeed. Such is New Twist, a patent-pending metering system that comprises a worm-style feed screw of the type seen in many packaging operations. But in this inventive use, the feed screw is a servo-driven smart system that starts and stops with precision to meter the right amount of cans at the right time. With each rotation, it picks up a can in a screw thread; and once it has reached the preset amount of cans on each side of the screw, it releases them as a group.
The system can handle a numerous range of product shapes and packing configurations.
The New Twist patent filing published July 10 (and viewable here http://www.google.com/patents/US20140190126) summarizes the invention as “Grouper apparatus for a packaging machine and methods of grouping items for packaging.”
The publication date was especially timely for me as an editor because I had already made a visit two months earlier to one of the very first installations of the New Twist technology by patent-holder Holland Engineering LLC http://www.packagingdigest.com/automation/holland-engineering-llc for its Model CM-70 tray packer. The detailed case study for Merrick Pet Care centers on the cannery’s use of the New Twist technology to produce a space-saving, retail-friendly 2x6 pack that will be featured in the September issue of Packaging Digest and will be revealed next week at www.packagingdigest.com.
At Merrick, the New Twist screw portion can be changed out for a different can size in two minutes and the entire multipacker in 15 minutes in what is essentially a tool-less process. Merrick’s previous multipacker took 40 minutes to changeover.
While multipackers including Merrick’s are the first applications of the New Twist technology, Peter de Hertogh, Holland Engineering’s national sales manager and New Twist inventor, tells PD that “we have plans to offer this technology for shrink wrappers in 2015.”