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End-of-line systems increase efficiency at dairy co-op.

Upstate Niagara Cooperative Inc. has installed three systems from Delkor Systems Inc. in its new cultured products plant in West Seneca, NY, that dramatically impact its final product packing. This feature will focus on these systems. A future feature will look at a complete new filling line that the plant has installed.Cups are loaded into the Trayfecta tray by a pick-and-place robot that is equipped with vacuum cups. If more than one layer is required, the robot repaeats the operation.

Upstate Niagara, which is owned by dairy farmers in western New York State, was formed in 2006, when Upstate Farms Cooperative and Niagara Milk Cooperative consolidated. It markets a wide variety of products including cultured products such as dips, yogurt and cottage cheese, as well as ice cream mix, milk and flavored milk-based beverages in four plants under the Upstate Farms®, Bison® and Intense® and Crave® brands.
Five years ago, Upstate Niagara built a new state-of-the-art cultured products plant on 19 acres of land in West Seneca, southeast of Buffalo, as a solution for long-term growth and industry competitiveness. The new plant offers 175,000 sq-ft of space with an additional 40,000 sq-ft of mezzanine and can handle more than 100 million lbs of cultured products annually.
The West Seneca plant has eight filling lines running an assortment of plastic cup sizes containing 4 oz to 5 lb of product. Three of these lines have Delkor systems installed.

Two of the systems feature the company's unique Spot-Pak® technology with integral shrink systems, while the third system features Delkor's new Trayfecta case former with its top-load case packer designed for flange-seal corrugated cases.
Trayfecta forms top-load case
The Trayfecta case former was designed to form corrugated cases and display cases. At Upstate Niagara, the Trayfecta runs a flange-seal case. By eliminating the minor flaps, this style corrugated shipper provides the efficiency of a wrap-around case. With the top-load feature, this type of corrugated shipper is easily changeable with a variety of tray or retail-ready formats on the same Delkor packaging system. As Upstate Niagara was considering its packaging options for this line, the ability to easily convert to different shipper styles on the same Delkor machine was of considerable interest, as was the ability to minimize the amount of corrugated in the shipper. These cases are supplied by Smurfit-Stone.

 

The new Trayfecta case former erects the flange-seal case at a production speed up to 35 cases/min with dimensions ranging in size up to 48 in. wide by 33 in. front-to-back with a depth of up to 11 in.
To start the operation, the operator places the case blanks in the magazine of the Trayfecta. The ergonomically designed, low-level magazine makes case blank replenishment safe and easy. The pick-arm assembly swings in and selects a blank with vacuum cups. The arm then swings back and places the blank onto a shuttle assembly from which it moves forward into position between the forming head and the forming cavity.
Spray nozzles apply hot-melt adhesive from a Nordson Corp. Pro-Blue 10 adhesive melter to the case flaps during the controlled shuttle transfer for precision adhesive placement. Once a blank is in position, a forming head drives the case blank downward through the forming cavity to create the formed case.

The entire Delkor packaging line incorporates Allen Bradley (AB) controls from Rockwell Automation, with a Compact Logix PLC and a Panelview 1000 Plus color touch screen HMI that features security control circuitry and self-diagnostics as well as menu-driven selection of preset operating speeds and glue dispensing patterns. The machine also incorporates AB Ultra 6000 servo drives. The top-load case packer is designed for tool-less change-over for different product sizes, pack patterns or case sizes for maximum flexibility.

Cups of product for the Delkor top-load case packer are delivered to the case packer infeed conveyor by a three-lane swinging gate that places the cups into six lanes. The cups are delivered to the loader at a right angle to the direction of case travel. At the loader, the cups are separated into two loading stations, each feeding from three lanes of the six lane infeed. A pack pattern of 12 cups is transfered by a pick-and-place robot equipped with vacuum cups that swings over and lowers them into the stationary case. If two, three or four layers are required, the robot will repeat this operation. If a layer pad is required between the layers, a separate pad dispenser will pick and place the layer pad into the case.
The loaded case then transfers to the case closer on the Delkor top-load case packer, where the two longitudinal top sections are folded down and sealed.

Two Spot-Pak systems
The two other Delkor operations at Upstate Niagara utilize the unique Spot-Pak packaging systems. The Spot-Pak lines essentially replace the corrugated shipper with a flat corrugated base pad onto which the cups are placed followed by a shrink wrapper. As the pads enter the machine, a few grams of Delkor's temporary bonding adhesive is stitched to the point on the pad where the bottom rims of the cups make contact. The cups then are are placed on the pad, and are temporarily locked in place by the adhesive.
For double- or triple-stacked product, a pack pattern of cups with a bonded pad are lifted and the next layer of cups on a pad is conveyed beneath them. If necessary, this is repeated for the third layer. Prior to entering the shrink wrapper, a top corrugated pad is placed on top of the cups. The Spot-Pak package effectively uses the strength of the cups for stacking strength, and the net result is a 60 percent savings in corrugated. In addition, the Spot-Pak package provides more rapid cool-down than product in a traditional corrugated shipper.

 

Two Spot-Pak systems 

 

As with the case packer, the Spot-Pak system AB controls Delkor1.jpgfrom Rockwell Automation. The Spot-Pak packages are then conveyed to a Delkor Model 25TW shrink wrapper, which encapsulates the shipping package with PE shrink film.

"Delkor has given us outstanding service and has been excellent to work with," says engineering manager Rob Lemke. "We are very focused on sustainability, and the Spot-Pak system reduces packaging material costs tremendously compared to traditional corrugated shippers."

The two other Delkor operations at Upstate Niagara utilize the unique Spot-Pak packaging systems. The Spot-Pak lines essentially replace the corrugated shipper with a flat corrugated base pad onto which the cups are placed followed by a shrink wrapper. As the pads enter the machine, a few grams of Delkor's temporary bonding adhesive is stitched to the point on the pad where the bottom rims of the cups make contact. The cups then are are placed on the pad, and are temporarily locked in place by the adhesive.
For double- or triple-stacked product, a pack pattern of cups with a bonded pad are lifted and the next layer of cups on a pad is conveyed beneath them. If necessary, this is repeated for the third layer. Prior to entering the shrink wrapper, a top corrugated pad is placed on top of the cups. The Spot-Pak package effectively uses the strength of the cups for stacking strength, and the net result is a 60 percent savings in corrugated. In addition, the Spot-Pak package provides more rapid cool-down than product in a traditional corrugated shipper.

 

Delkor Systems Inc.,
800-328-5558.
www.delkorsystems.com
Nordson Corp.,
770/497-3700.
www.nordson.com
Rockwell Automation, 414/382-2000.
www.rockwellautomation.com
Berry Plastics Corp.,
812/424-2904.
www.berryplastics. com

International Paper Co.,
901/419-9000.
www.internationalpaper.com
Smurfit-Stone, 314/656-6600.
www.smurfit.com

 

 

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