Optimized Space on the Shuttle
The Aergo family of medical tray shuttle sealers from Alloyd Brands was originally designed to meet operator needs—and the latest line extension is no different. The Aergo 2 Max PS can accommodate larger packaging sizes, yet is narrower in width, satisfying specific operator suggestions. These are just a few of the new model’s features, which were unveiled at EastPack 2009 in New York City in June.
The Aergo 2 Max offers more sealing area in a narrower machine.
”When updating our Aergo 2 Plus, we listened to medical device firms about their needs for operator safety, convenience, productivity, and cleanliness,” explains Robert van Gilse, director of marketing and business development for Tegrant Corp., Alloyd Brands (DeKalb, IL). In addition to the size enhancements, “all components in the new Aergo 2 Max comply with ISO Class 5 room requirements, and sealing is automated with a power shuttle option.”
Using the same frame as the Aergo 2 Plus, the Aergo 2 Max PS features a 42% increase in seal area—from 14 × 28 in. to 20 × 28 in. “The physical footprint of the machine allowed us to employ a larger heating platen,” says van Gilse. “We have had a few Plus users say, ‘Boy, it would be nice if we could have larger tooling for larger packages,’ for instance. The Plus covered most packages, but the Max also allows for multiple ups in the same cycle, which makes for higher productivity.” Ensuring package seal integrity for the larger size was accomplished with an 82% increase in sealing force through dual 8-in. cylinders.
Even with the seal area increase, Tegrant was able to reduce machine width by 13 in., or 24%, to just 40 in. wide. “There were doorway issues,” says van Gilse. “Sometimes, companies have to shut down cleanrooms, tear out doorways, install a tray sealer, then rebuild the doorway.” To reduce machine width, Tegrant incorporated control elements, such as the electrical control box, right into the machine frame.
Cleanroom managers also appreciate the reduction. “Cleanroom space is an issue, especially when you calculate the cost,” he adds.
With the increase in tooling size, Tegrant had to find a way to maintain operator ease. “Aluminum tooling is heavy, and we added weight with the increase in seal area. So we developed autocycling power shuttles rather than depending upon operators to push shuttles under the platen. The result is that operators are exposed to less repetitive motion and less weight,” van Gilse explains. “Touchpads with Category 3 safety components require operators to keep their hands on the pads for the cycle to complete, so there are no ways to get around safety.”
Additional options to improve productivity, improve operator machine interaction, and maintain product validation include automatic product lifting at completion of sealing cycle; PLC with color touch screen; validation ports to record time, temperature, and pressure; a second thermocouple for redundant monitoring; locking casters; antifatigue mat; 7800-W heater; and dual pressure and temperature readout.