Easing Printing Changeover
Even if you do not need to switch packaging sizes or styles, chances are your changeover still involves a change in print setup. And if your form-fill-seal line relies on flexographic printing, you still have a tooling change—the printing plates.
Phil Morin dealt with countless changeover during his tenure at Johnson & Johnson. “We tried to keep our uptime as high as possible,” he recalls. One constant challenge, he says, was changeover. It often involved the printing equipment and print plate changeover.
So when he started to develop his own printing equipment, first for J&J and then on his own for Morin Automation (Forestville, CT), quick-change tooling was in order. One particular chore that always took up time was removing the printing drum for accessing the interior of the form-fill-seal machine. So he focused on making it easier to remove. “The print drum can be removed within a minute by simply pulling a spring plunger and pushing back the main shaft. It exposes the interior of the printer for easy access,” he explains.
Morin also added quick-change features to the ink doctoring system. “After pulling two levers, technicians can take it by lifting the trough out. This feature makes for much less potential strain on the technician. No more bending over the machine to remove retaining bolts,” he explains. Magnet-backed printing plates are also easy to change, he says.
Morin exhibited along with ALKAR-RapidPak (Lodi, WI) at MD&M East in New York City in June. The firm’s FlexoOne flexographic printer was mounted on RapidPak’s form-fill-seal machine. Morin is excited about sharing the efforts both firms have made to ease changeover. “The side-accessible tooling on the RapidPak machine helps increase uptime,” he says.