According to a survey by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute, sponsors of Pack Expo International 2002, U.S. capital spending for packaging machinery is predicted to increase by 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent this year. That would make the total expenditures for machinery close to $5 billion.
Other findings of the study, published in April, include the observation that 42 percent of the capital spending will be devoted to replacement of existing machinery with new models as companies strive to increase productivity.
While new machinery and material are the heart of Pack Expo, its educational conference is always a major draw for many attendees. This year’s conference, beginning November 4, has a number of sessions material handling managers will find interesting.
What to listen for
Billy Goodman, president, Goodman Packaging, will discuss ways to understand and satisfy the differing needs of corrugated cases demanded by club stores, mass merchandisers and others.
“The presentation is to help packaging professionals better understand the significant changes developing in the shipping of different products,” says Goodman.
Bill Armstrong, technical development manager, Sealed Air Corporation, will talk about the changing environment of the distribution center from the packaging professional’s point of view. Distribution centers, fulfillment operations and e-commerce ventures create unique global packaging opportunities, says Armstrong. Pick-and-pack operations, involving thousands of SKUs and resulting in a nearly infinite variety of shipping package configurations and destinations, are one of the faster-growing segments in the U.S. packaging industry.
If you’re interested in hardware, two sessions of particular interest are: Gantry Robotics and Automatic Guided Vehicle Systems. The session on gantry robotics, led by Bill Torrens, director, RMT Engineering, will take a look at applications previously thought technically or economically unsolvable. Brian Keiger, manager, systems business, Transbotics, along with Ken Gantt, senior engineer, Universal Manufacturing and Logistics, will discuss new technologies that benefit packaging operations of any size. They will talk about laser guidance, maintenance-free batteries, design tools and software.
What to look for
With more than 1,600 exhibitors spread throughout nearly 1.5 million square feet of show floor space, we can give only a sample of products you’ll see.
A new product from Marq Packaging Systems will be its Quick Changeover case erectors and sealers. These machines are capable of changing all adjustment axes at one time, reducing changeover time to as short as 30 seconds. The motorized changeovers are accurate to within 1/16th of an inch. Electronic communication between the case-forming station and the sealing station allows the former to relay information to the sealer regarding number of cases and changeovers approaching the sealing station.
Markem Corporation will demonstrate its CimControl technology that integrates coding operations with bagging and wrapping machines, weigh scales, laser readers and other devices for more flexible automated control.
Sealed Air Corporation’s Instapacker Tabletop foam-in-bag system is compact and designed for companies that package between 10 and 50 items per day. An operator can produce as many as 16 foam-filled bags per minute, guided by easy-to-follow graphics on the touch key control panel. The system uses a roll of perforated film with a fixed bag size.
What happens with transport packaging material that is not reusable? American Baler’s 6042 wide-mouth baler is the answer. This machine is capable of keeping up with high-volume operations. It can bale paper, miscellaneous fibers and light metal as well as a variety of plastics.
E-Z Bubble-Out Bag On a Roll is being launched by Pactiv Corporation to offer filling convenience and protection for a variety of packaging applications.
The clear pouches, which are now available on a roll, feature 3/16-inch air cushioning made from a co-extruded polyethylene/nylon blend. A fold-over flap features a peel strip, which is removed to reveal a pressure-sensitive adhesive. The bags can be accessed from a dispenser carton for small-volume users or from multiple-roll bundles for large-volume users. They can also be used in conjunction with semiautomatic dispensing systems. The rolls also help to minimize inventory space and add to plant cleanliness.
The ability to print and apply labels to shipping cartons is of increasing importance with the growth of small parcel shipping. Kevin Young, general manager, Avery Dennison, says his company’s 64-bit processor-based print-and-apply system, with corner-wrap capability, is the first such unit available in the U.S. “The system was developed to address the increased customer demand for compliance labeling,” says Young.
In a marked departure from its conventional, structural tube machine design, Orion Packaging will demonstrate the Spectra, a high-performance, semi-automatic turntable stretchwrapping machine with a rugged formed steel frame. Components such as motors, gearboxes and electronics are encased in the mast, yet accessible. The machine uses a maintenance-free belt for the film carriage drive.
The Spectra has a maximum load weight capacity of 5,000 pounds, and can handle larger- than-normal pallet loads measuring up to 55" x 55" x 90". Automatic height sensing is standard, as is a lift truck portable base design for easy machine transport from both the front and rear of the machine.
For more information about Pack Expo International 2002, visit the PMMI Web site at packexpo.com. The show begins November 2 and runs through November 7 in Chicago. MHM