Automatic Packaging Equipment
- Automatic Packaging Equipment
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Automatic Packaging Equipment
HOW LOW COST AUTOMATION CAN IMPROVE OUTER SHIPPER PACKAGING
FOR SMALLER MANUFACTURERS
The packaging process for smaller food, beverage and household products manufacturers generally begins as a manual operation. This involves dull and repetitive manual tasks which at best, are time consuming and at worst may be injurious. Beginning at a simple level, low cost automation can reduce the drudgery of these tasks at the same time as improving the quality of the finished process at a significant reduction in production costs, providing fast payback of equipment outlays.
Obviously operator safety is of prime importance, and all PacPro equipment is fitted with self-locking safety doors fitted with safety switches which are interlocked to an appropriate safety control system. The machine control system monitors the total machine operation, which it shuts down and provides the necessary operator alerts in the case of an operational problem. All equipment is fitted with a touch screen control panel for operator control, product selection and error notification.
Appropriate Printers and Labellers can be fitted where necessary for product and shipper identification by barcodes etc. if required.
Semi-automatic Carton Erecting
The outer shipping process begins with carton erecting. The first step to this process can be with a simple no moving parts erecting fixture, which closes the bottom carton flaps during operator carton placement and supports the carton on a bottom skid plate during manual product loading.
This item is usually fitted to the infeed of a fully automatic carton sealer to form the PacPro PacStation which can be fitted with either tape or glue sealing. A product infeed conveyor is mounted in front of the operator allowing easy access to the open carton for product loading. On completion of loading the operator closes the carton’s rear flap and slides the carton towards the sealer section where a pair of belts fitted with drive lugs, square the carton and feed it through the sealing section, onto a set of accumulator rolls ready for the next operation, ie. pallet stacking.
As shown in the accompanying video, the product can also be supplied to the machine via a trolley, allowing the machine to service multiple production lines without the need for connecting conveyors to all lines.
Fully Automatic Carton Erector
All PacPro equipment is suited to standard shipping case cartons or cartons particularly designed for shelf ready packaging.
The PacPro VE series fully automatic vertical Carton Erector is designed to handle cartons in general usage and can successfully erect standard RSC or HSC cartons, at speeds up to 20 cases per minute. It draws cartons blanks from a manually loaded magazine, opens them and sequentially closes the bottom flaps, prior to feeding them through the bottom sealing section with a pair of lugged belts to ensure squareness. Erected cartons are then conveyed on their sealed bases to the next operation. Size change is a no-tool fast changeover operation, with length, width and height adjustments set using manual hand-wheels and digital counters or scales and pointers.
The accompanying photograph shows a special Erector manufactured to handle a range of large square cartons with equal length & width.
Fully Automatic Carton Packing - Top Loading.
The PacPro VP series fully automatic vertical Carton Packer builds on the VE Erector with the addition of a product infeed and packing pattern forming section, a pick and place loader and top as well as bottom carton sealing, using either tape or hot melt glue. The loader is a programmable twin servomotor mechanism, fitted with a replaceable product pick head for each product to be handled. It can handle either single or multiple layer products. In single layer mode it can handle up to 20 cases per minute. It is able to handle most package types ie. bottles, cans, tubs, trays, boxes, bags, pouches etc. although some products are better suited to horizontal rather than vertical packing.
The accompanying video shows a single layer bottle packing machine with glue sealing.
The PacPro range of equipment is designed for versatility and the following video shows how an automatic case packer can be setup to handle the output from one of several processing lines.
Fully Automatic Carton Packing - End Loading
The PacPro HP series horizontal Carton Packer is designed to handle products not necessarily suited to vertical pick and place, such as boxes, bags and pouches, but can still handle the full range of bottles, cans, tubs and trays etc.
It consists of a carton magazine with the cartons loaded so that when erected they lie on their sides with the opening facing the side rather than the top as is the case with the VP series. The HP Series comes in a number of forms from single row infeed to multi row infeed for bottles, tubs and cans etc. to stand up type feeders for boxes, bags and pouches, and either single or multi-layer product stacking. The HP series can also be fitted with either tape or glue sealing.
The accompanying video shows the prototype series HP Packer undergoing low speed factory testing prior to release, in both multiple and single layer packing modes.
Fully Automatic Carton Palletising.
For higher production speeds, heavier packages, or to reduce operator fatigue and or production costs, it may well be time to examine an automatic palletisation option.
The PacPro VT Palletiser is a single carton vacuum lift, 3 axis pick and place machine capable of operating in the range of 8-10 cartons per minute. The base level machine has an access door to allow manual placement and removal of empty and laden pallets. Faster versions of this machine ranging to 30 cartons per minute with automatic pallet handling are currently in design and will be available soon.
The attached video shows a compact combination of three machines with inner cartons exiting a glue sealer into a vertical packer and forming the inners into the required packing pattern whilst the outer shipper is erected and prepared for loading below. The inner cartons are then placed in the outer shipper which is then moved into the sealing section where glue is applied and the flaps fully closed.
The outer shipper then exits the sealer to the palletiser where it is picked up by a vacuum head, turned 90 degrees if required, and placed at the appropriate position on the stack. The pallet pattern shown has generous spacing to facilitate freezing, and is re-palletised to an appropriate transport pattern prior to shipment.
Whilst the standard range of PacPro Erectors, Packers, Palletisers and Conveying Equipment covers the end of line requirements of most producers, the company has the experience and expertise to produce special equipment when required.
The front page of this website shows a complete packaging line consisting of a Tray Former, Diverter and Conveying System to two loading points, a Carton Elevator, Overhead Conveyor, Carton Lowerator, Top Sealer and Outfeed Accumulation Conveyor.
The video shows a fully automatic Tray Former consisting of totally integrated special purpose Feeder, Former, Stacker and Safety System including guards and light curtains. The finished, high stacking strength tray is held together by multiple folds and locking tabs only, and has no adhesive, tape or staples. The machine completely eliminates a potentially injurious labour intensive operation.