End-of-the-Line Solutions at Pack Expo
Pack Expo Las Vegas, sponsored by the Packaging MachineryManufacturers Institute (PMMI), had much to offer managers interested inend-of-the-line packaging solutions.
Covering nearly 400,000 square feet of the Sands Expo andConvention Center, 800 exhibitors took advantage of the largest packaging showin 2001 to present new products to an estimated 25,000 visitors.
Robotic palletizing systems were featured in more exhibitsthan even a year ago at Pack Expo International, the biennial show held inChicago.
“The driver for robotic systems,” said SteveAckerman, president, Alvey Systems, an FKI Logistex Company, “has to beergonomics as much as companies seeking more productive ways to palletize theirshipments.” Ackerman spoke to the business media at a combined newsbriefing with Craig Jennings, president, Motoman. The two companies have teamedto offer integrated robotic systems.
Another end-of-the-line solution was demonstrated by OrionPackaging Systems. It offered an automatic film roll changer forstretchwrapping systems. The machine allows a stretchwrap system toautomatically discard an empty film core and load a fresh roll of film.Depending on production capacity, the system can run an entire shift without theneed for an operator. A carousel holds six film rolls. For details, visitorionpackaging.com.
Responding to requests for an Instapacker packaging systemfor moderate volumes (10 to 50 containers per day), Sealed Air Corporationintroduced the Tabletop Foam-in-Bag Instapacker. The 19-inch footprint of themachine allows it to function in a variety of settings without taking upvaluable workspace. The operator selects a percentage of foam to fill the bagin order to achieve a cushion of desired thickness. Once the bag is filled withInstapak foam, the operator tears the perforated, foam-filled bag from thesystem, places it into the shipping container and nestles the product to bepackaged onto the expanding cushion.
Lantech was showing off several new machines, including anew straddle stretchwrapping system, designed for light, tall and unstableloads. A new item drawing attention was Lantech’s case erector. Specificdetails on the machine were not available at press time. One of the machine’sfeatures was its ability to erect and seal cartons that did not have one edgesealed. For details, visit lantech.com.
Other protective packaging introductions included new cornerkeeper protectors and a new inflatable pouch packing system from Pactiv. Withthe Pactiv Air 2000 system, two sets of two layers of a low-densitypolyethylene/nylon blend material are heat sealed around the edges to createopposing chambers. The product is inserted into the void between the chambers,and air fills the chambers to cushion the product. The bag can be reused orrecycled. For more information, visit pactiv.com.
Survey Underscores Need For Real-Time Asset Management
WhereNet has released survey results that provide insightsinto current asset management techniques, associated costs, and desiredsolutions for managing critical supply chain assets. Focused on assetmanagement in industrial manufacturing and transportation and logisticsenvironments, the survey was completed by nearly 150 operations managers,engineers and IT executives from some of the world’s larger corporations.Survey results indicate that a surprising number of respondents, 84 percent,still rely on manual techniques to locate and track physical assets — and100 percent of the respondents indicate that their asset management data isinaccurate due to this manual process. For a full version of the survey, visitwherenet.com.
New Lift Truck Attachment Group
Two prominent names in the lift truck attachment industryhave joined forces. Bolzoni Inc. of Italy has acquired Auramo of Finland.Bolzoni was founded in 1945, Auramo in 1947. The management and personnel ofthe two companies will not change. Emilio Bolzoni, chairman, and RobertoScotti, CEO, will continue in the jobs at Bolzoni, and Karl-Peter Staak will remainchairman and CEO of Auramo OY. The group has seven production plants and 13direct branches with 550 people.
Future of Mega-Distribution Centers
Automated, mega-distribution centers have a bright future,says Art St. Onge, logistics expert and president of St. Onge Company. Speakingat the dedication of Procter & Gamble’s new facility in St.Louis’ Gateway Commerce Park, St. Onge said, “We can expect to seemore of these giant warehouses sprouting up throughout the country. Storingwares of several products rather than just one product is an efficient,cost-effective way of storing goods.” The new P&G warehouse has morethan 800,000 square feet of space.
Ranpak Corporation was honored by Ohio Governor Bob Taftwith the Governor’s Excellence in Exporting Award. Ranpak manufacturesprotective packaging machinery, serving six continents and dozens of countries.The company was cited for its generation of jobs in the state.
Avery Dennison Retail Information Services is the new namefor Avery Dennison VIP Converted Products. The new name underscores what hasincreasingly become the organization’s primary focus — developingbusiness solutions for retail supply chain markets, including apparel andhardgoods.
In the June 2001 article “Getting the RightCharge,” Rick Hancock was incorrectly identified. He is western regionalmanager of Edison Minute Charger. His comments do not reflect the views ofEnersys Inc.
Letters to the Editor
To: An open letter to your readers:
Like the rest of the country, the events of last week leftus stunned and shaken. As rescue efforts continue, and the government pursuesthe perpetrators, most of us are asking what we can do. Donations of money andblood to the Red Cross and other organizations alleviate some of the short-termphysical and psychological needs. As President Bush has pointed out, there ismore that we all can do.
One objective of terrorism is to paralyze the enemy.Creating an economic depression would certainly accomplish this goal.It’s therefore imperative that we, in business, do everything in ourpower to prevent economic stagnation. We cannot depend on the government tostop a recession. Dropping interest rates is only a short-term expedient.Long-term productivity and efficiency improvements are the tonic that willrestore health to the economy. With this in mind, here are some suggestions:
• Encourage your customers. Not just to buy, but toremain optimistic. We are the strongest country, and have found a new unity ofpurpose. Help channel this to stimulate the economy. Communication and positive reinforcement are tools thatdistributors know how to use effectively.
• Don’t squander resources. People, equipmentand facilities must be used to maximize productivity. Change methods, proceduresand layouts to reduce unnecessary steps both physically and in the paperwork.
• Cutting inventory indiscriminately is wrong.Reducing the amounts of inventory held, and purchasing more often, is a moreeffective strategy than cutting out “dead wood.” Your customers aregoing to be more dependent on you to have what they need. Reducing item countundermines their confidence in your ability to deliver. Cut the quantity ofyour inventory, not the quality.
• Buy American whenever possible. With a globaleconomy this is not easy. Almost every item we use has some foreign content.What we can do is to favor American labor and American business. Even if thecost is slightly higher, the long-term return to our economy is worth it.
• Embrace change. There has been an enormous upheavalin the fabric of our society. Don’t waste time and energy fightingchange. The dynamic behavior of a free society is our most powerful weaponagainst economic terrorism. Smaller businesses, especially distributors, cansense changes, and evolve far faster than major corporations.
• Look for savings. We have never found an operationthat could not be improved, often without any major capital expenditure. Take acritical look at your facilities and operations. If you need more assistance,we, and other members of the Association of Professional Materials HandlingConsultants, are available to assist.
At this difficult time, we want to reiterate our support forthe United States of America, and the material handling industry. We, too, havea need to keep this country strong, and free.
Irving M. Footlik, PE, chairman; Robert B. Footlik, PE,president; William D. Bobco Jr., executive vice president; RFootlik@aol.com, orwww.mhia.org/apmhc.