Packaging Resource Center: The Latest in Product-Handling Equipment
Conveyor Belt Material
A manufacturer of conveyor belting and products offers a belt material made of structured spiral-link mesh designed to be easily spliced at any length into a continuous belt. It requires no special tools, presses, or other equipment. The ZipLink belt material’s construction is designed to eliminate points of weakness in a conveyor because it does not create any loss of strength in the splice area like belts made of seamed or fused materials. The design of this material is based on a low-stretch polyester monofilament that offers high lateral stability. Chemprene Inc., Beacon, NY; 845/831-2800; www.chemprene.com.
A company has combined two of its existing case packers to provide more versatility in a secondary packaging machine. The SW side-loading case packer accommodates both regular slotted cases (RSCs) and wrap-around blanks. The compact unit has an output of 15 cases per minute and features a collating system. A pick-and-pack gripper performs the loading operations. Pneumatic, mechanic, and robotic grippers with multiple axes are offered. Sloping plates enable the products to slide into the infeed, collation, and loading stations without product-retention zones. The case packer’s low-level case magazine is designed to improve operator access and ease reloading. A labeler and ink-jet coder can be integrated into the machine within the original footprint. Sidel Group, Cermex Inc., Norcross, GA; 678/221-3574; www.cermexinc.com.
A bagging print-and-pack system features loading and sealing functions designed to provide flexible solutions in pharmacy fulfillment, medical product distribution, and short-run packaging operations. The Autobag AB 180 OneStep system prints directly on the next bag to be loaded in order to maximize loading accuracy and efficiency. It can be integrated into semiautomatic and fully automatic packaging and distribution lines. Bar-code imprinting and verification can be added to the system. The system also offers job storage and recall. Automated Packaging Systems, Streetsboro, OH; 330/342-2000; www.autopkg.com.
A supplier of robotized automation solutions has developed productivity-enhancing, PC-based software for integrating robots with conveying product transportation belts and vision cameras. The PickMaster software features another company’s vision technology, which was chosen for its efficient PC-software interfaces for integrating the vision functions in the software manufacturer’s robot technology. The industrial vision technology is designed to provide the robots with virtual eyes to see where parts are located and accurately place them in precise positions while simultaneously performing quality inspection. ABB Robotics, Norwalk, CT; 203/750-2200; www.abb.us. Cognex Corp., Natick, MA; 508/ 650-3000; www.cognex.com.
A company offers a palletizing system that combines nonrobotic layer-forming technology with a robotic palletizer designed to transfer and stack a full layer of product at a time using a roller curtain. The Full Layer robotic palletizer simultaneously forms rows and layers while the robot transfers and stacks the layers onto the pallet. It can handle up to five layers or more per minute. The palletizer can load from both sides, which allows two single-level or two multiple-level layer-forming modules to feed the palletizer. The roller curtain, unlike vacuum or clamp end-effectors, is designed to gently support product from underneath at all times. The palletizer system squares each layer from all four sides to produce a tight load. Priority One Packaging Ltd., Waterloo, ON, Canada; 519/746-6950; www.priorityonepackaging.com.
Stacking modules are designed to count, stack, and separate die-cut blanks quickly and efficiently. The AutoStack modules can handle cardboard, paper, laminates, and more, at a stacking speed of 10 cycles per minute with pile heights of 100 mm. The modules can be added to converting machines and flatbed presses. They feature laser technology designed to provide exact product counts. They also feature independently driven blank-stacking trolleys that allow for the counting, stacking, and separating of individual product streams. Working widths from 260 to 1450 mm are available. Schober USA, Cincinnati; 513/489-7393; www.schoberusa.com.
A roller-top conveyor uses rollers as the conveyor belt. This design feature allows the conveyor to continually move while holding product in position. The ESP roller-top conveyor was designed in response to a customer request for a conveyor that could move packs of medical vials, which had to be positioned upside down for picking. The vials also had printing on the caps. Other traditional conveyor belts would have dragged over the caps, which could have resulted in smearing or damaging the caps. The roller-top conveyor maintained the placement of the vials on the conveyor without damaging the cap printing. Dorner Manufacturing Corp., Hartland, WI; 262/367-7600; www.dorner.com.
An automatic, in-line pouch flattener and conditioner is designed to discharge pouches in flat-and-stack stable condition using a massaging roller. The machine prepares the pouches for insertion into cartons, wrappers, or other containers. Speeds vary from product to product. An optional reject feature is available. Packaging Systems Automation Inc., Plymouth, MN; 763/473-1032; www.psautomation.com.