Pack Expo 2009: At a Glance

At Pack Expo 2009, attendees will learn how to transform transport packaging challenges into growth opportunities.

Featuring more than 1,200 exhibitors spread over more than 600,000 square feet, Pack Expo 2009 highlights the newest equipment and technologies designed to tackle the most complex packaging challenges. The Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), producer of the show, expects roughly 21,000 attendees this year.

The Conference

In addition to exhibits, Pack Expo also offers a conference program centered on the theme of “Maximizing Performance, Sustainability and Economics.” PMMI has organized more than 50 individual sessions into conference tracks, which include branding, converting, digital package printing, economics, intelligent coding, legal landscape, materials, processing, sustainability, sustainable operations and vision systems.

Each day's program features a keynote address delivered by an executive from the grocery industry. Each keynoter will explore, among other topics, the growth in the private-label business. Doug Palmer, vice president of Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.'s Own Brands business, will discuss retailer packaging and branding; Andrew Abraham, vice president of Supervalu's Our Own Brands division, will explore ways the private-brand industry can work with the packaging supply chain; and Steve Ryder, store design and planning director at Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, along with Kevin O'Donnell, founder of sustainable design company thread collaborative, will tell the inside story of Tesco's U.S. launch of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market.

What's New in 2009

The new DistriPak Pavilion, dedicated to packaging and paper distributors and sponsored by the NPTA Alliance (formerly the National Paper Trade Association), explores trends impacting packaging supply chains. Here, attendees can find industrial packaging distributors and manufacturers of machinery and materials.

Also, several organizations are hosting their own events in conjunction with Pack Expo. The Converting and Package Printing Expo showcases products for package printing, converting and finishing, while the co-located Process Expo, produced by the Food Processing Suppliers Association, reveals the newest developments in processing technology.

In addition, the Association of Independent Corrugated Converters, International Bottled Water Association and Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) are all co-locating their annual conventions with Pack Expo.

RPA is sponsoring and organizing an entire track of sessions at Pack Expo related to reusable transport packaging. Led by industry experts and end users, the sessions explore topics such as sustainability, RFID and reusable packaging in supply chains.

Packaging Automation

Case/Tray Packer

Arpac's intermittent motion DPM 2000 series wrap-around case/tray packer reaches speeds of 25 cases and/or trays per minute. DPM-2000 systems can be integrated into lines after cartoners and shrink bundlers or before tray stackers, shrink wrappers and palletizers. The machine integrates blank feeding, product loading, case forming and container sealing into a single, compact unit suitable for packaging cans, jars and bottles. Wrap-around case or tray blanks can reduce the amount of corrugated board used by up to 25%, according to ARPAC. Tightly wrapped cases and trays also enhance stacking strength and help reduce damage caused by materials shifting during handling. Standard features include a Nordson hot-melt glue system, Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller with Arpac operator interface and digital controls for conveyor speeds, timing and temperature settings.

Arpac, Booth C-1000

Bagging Systems

Automated Packaging Systems introduces its Autobag PaceSetter PS 125 and PS 125 OneStep tabletop bagging systems. The all-electric PS 125 bagger requires no pneumatic connection and can process 25 bags per minute. The tabletop system has three cycling modes: manual push-to-seal, foot switch and fully automatic. Loaded bags are automatically heat sealed and a new, pre-opened bag is indexed with each cycle. The PS 125 OneStep is suited for small to medium fulfillment operations with frequent changeovers between products. Both systems are portable, with footprints of 22 × 19 inches and weights of 82 (PS 125) and 110 (PS 125 OneStep) pounds.

Automated Packaging Systems, Booth C-1730

Picking Robot

The new M-1iA high-speed picking robot from Fanuc Robotics America is a compact six-axis, parallel-link robot designed for small-part handling and high-speed picking and packing applications. The robot can be installed in a variety of orientations, and has a three-axis wrist. It is also available as a four-axis model for simple material handling operations, such as part picking for kitting. A single-axis wrist offers speeds of 3,000 degrees per second. According to Fanuc, the robot has a parallel-link design that maximizes speed and built-in iRVision that requires only a camera and cable. A 2D robot guidance tool assists with part location, error proofing and other operations. Driven by a new R-30iA Mate rack-style controller, the robot also features a collision guard that detects robot collisions with external objects.

Fanuc Robotics America, Booth C-4200

Palletizing Solutions

Intelligrated showcases its Alvey 950 hybrid in-line palletizer and Alvey robotic palletizing solutions. Th e Alvey 950 uses one or more robotic arms for pattern forming, allowing it to handle small finished case sizes, multiple product formats and complex patterns. Programming from the human-machine interface (HMI) allows for product reconfiguration, quick line changeover and packaging rates of more than 100 cases per minute, according to Intelligrated. The Alvey 950's gentle manipulation of product allows users to accommodate reduced protective packaging associated with sustainability initiatives. Intelligrated also shows the Alvey robotic palletizing solutions, which use jointed-arm robots for single- and multi-line applications. They can handle products of virtually any shape and size, from cases to pails, totes and bags, according to the company. Each robotic solution includes design and manufacturing of all critical robotic cell components, including end-of-arm tooling, infeed and discharge conveyor, case unscramblers and PLC programming. Intelligrated acquired Alvey palletizing products through its purchase of the North American operations of FKI Logistex in June 2009.

Intelligrated, Booth C-2800

Stretch-Wrapping System

Lantech's stretch-wrapping system features the company's No-Film-Break technology, which is said to reduce film use by up to 50%. The technology is available on Lantech's straddle platform for automatic, conveyorized stretch wrappers. The new machine, designed for in-line use with high-speed palletizers, can handle a range of consumer goods and beverages shipped in display packs or orderpicked loads of mixed goods. Lantech says the machine can contain loads without pulling, crushing or deforming those loads during the process. It feeds layers of 225% pre-stretched film that recovers once it's on the load to produce containment force. It can wrap partial layers on loads 110 inches high and is rated at 60 to 80 pallets per hour. The company also offers a high-speed option for 80 to 100 pallets per hour. The NFB machine also features a visual management system that provides productivity reports to machine operators, managers or a central monitoring system.

Lantech, Booth C-1823

Product Handling System

Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed shows its Magna-Switch product handling system for applications requiring multiple downstream machines. Magna Switch can diverge products from one lane into nine, or converge six lanes into one, using an electromagnetic switch assembly. The system reacts to downstream conditions, such as a disabled machine, by distributing packages to remaining lanes. It can also serve as a non-contact/rejecter to complement product inspection devices such as Hi-Speed checkweighers. The company says the system has multiple start/stop and E-stops and a control that can be mounted away from the system for remote monitoring. An Allen Bradley components package is available as an option.

Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed, Booth C-657

Five-Axis Robot

Motoman Inc.'s new five-axis MPK2 robot with a DXM100 controller is designed for high-speed material handling applications that require cleanliness. The MPK2 robot includes National Sanitation Foundation-certified (NSF-H1) grease and an IP-67 rating that permits washdown, even with certain caustic chemicals. The MPK2 robot features a hollow-arm design that allows cables and hoses to be run internally throughout the robot. Its slim arm design and internal cabling allow the MPK2 robot to reach into confined spaces without interference, according to Motoman. The MPK2 robot has a 64-inch vertical reach, 35.4-inch horizontal reach and 4.4-pound payload that increases to 8.8 pounds when the T-axis is parallel to the floor (wrist down). The wrist operates at 2,000 degrees per second, even when parts are rotated more than 90 degrees. Repeatability is ±0.02 inches. It is available with optional vision and conveyor tracking. The DXM100 controller handles multiple tasks and controls up to eight robots (72 axes), I/O devices and communication protocols.

Motoman Inc., Booth C-3643

Bundler

Standard-Knapp introduces the 597 Bundler, a continuous-motion multi-packer for food, beverage and personal-care material handling applications. With single-, double- and three-lane configurations, the 597 Bundler arranges product into compact pack patterns and wraps the configurations in film, thereby eliminating the need for trays and pads. The 597 then sends the packs through a heat tunnel to shrink the film around each multi-pack. The modularly constructed, stainless-steel bundler comes equipped with gull-wing guard doors that provide a clear view of moving belts and chains. The 597 Bundler features both a Robo-Wand wrapping section and servo-driven film cutting system and has a smaller carbon footprint than competing bundlers, according to the company. The 597 also has a wrinkle-free bull's eye and bottom seal and pull-out film-feed module for easy access. It comes with Standard-Knapp's operator interface and Zero-Gap II Infeed, which uses electronic sensors to monitor and control product movement.

Standard-Knapp, Booth C-2823

Case Packing Solution

ESS Technologies, Inc., has integrated the Bergami Model K 15 Horizontal Case Packer with the ESS Robotic Mini Palletizer Cell to create a high-speed solution for case packing and palletizing cartons, bundles, trays, pouches, etc. The space-saving design requires an area only 17'-1" × 7'-7" and features a FANUC M-20iA robot standard but may incorporate a number of models, depending on the payload and reach requirements of the application. The K 15 is capable of packing up to 15 cases per minute, while the integrated robotic pallet cell handles up to 30 cases per minute. Fast changeover (15-20 minutes typical) and touch screen controls make the system operator friendly. The solution is designed for packaging facilities where floor space is at a premium. Because the palletizer is robotic, no case accumulation is required at the palletizer infeed, further reducing cost and required floor space. The palletizer cell can be configured to include automatic pallet dispensers, pallet discharge conveyors, and tier sheet dispensers.

ESS Technologies Inc., Booth S-5027

Transport Packaging

Insulating Liner

AirLiner from Coldpack is an inflatable insulating liner that converts a corrugated box into a cooler. AirLiner helps maintain a temperature-controlled environment and is said to reduce a shipper's supply chain costs and environmental footprint. Coldpack says the new liner can reduce landfill impact by 19.1 billion cubic feet per year. It is produced with 50% less raw materials, water and energy than an equivalent foam container, the company says. AirLiner has layers of reflective barrier film sealed into a design that blocks heat transfer. Applications include shipping pharmaceuticals, biotech products, high-end seafood and meats, gourmet foods, chocolates, fresh-cut flowers, live tropical fish and specialty industrial material products that must be kept at specific temperature ranges. The liner ships and stores flat and occupies less warehouse space than foam boxes.

Coldpack, Booth S-5573

Reusable Container

Orbis Corp. adds a new container to its FliPak distribution container series. The FP171 container stacks when full and nests when empty and can be used for picking, handling and distribution of health and beauty-care items, pharmaceuticals, general merchandise, soft goods, office products, automotive aftermarket parts and packaged grocery items. The new 21-×-15-inch container features a shorter nest stop and narrow gull wing span, enabling more empty containers to be stacked and positioned in a standard 53-foot trailer for return trips. Additionally, its internal clearance allows more product to be packed per container, according to Orbis. The FP171 is recyclable and injection-molded in high-density polyethylene for impact resistance, durability and dimensional consistency. When palletized, five containers fit per layer on a standard 40-×-48-inch plastic pallet, and six containers fit per layer on a standard 45-×-48-inch plastic pallet.

Orbis Corp., Booth 5715

Twist-and-Lock Containers

Plastican's new line of plastic pails includes a twist-and-lock feature. Currently available with 3-, 3 ½- and 5-gallon containers, the feature is designed to make the containers easy to open and close. Pushing a tab and twisting the lid opens the container, and twisting the lid locks it in place for secure closing. Recyclable and stackable, the Twist-and-Lock containers offer various labeling options, including graphics and barcodes.

Plastican Inc., Booth S-5001

Equipment Components

Photoelectric Sensors

Eaton shows its E68 integral sensor valve photoelectric sensors, which help prevent product damage and mishandling caused by mechanical sensor rollers. The sensors have embedded communications logic and the ability to daisy-chain multiple sensors along a conveyor. They also eliminate measuring, wire stripping and cable runs typically required for custom sensors. Sensors, premeasured cables, power supplies and accessories snap together to provide zero pressure accumulation conveyor control. The sensors are available in polarized retroreflective or diffuse mode. Eaton says the sensor's 10-foot range provides high sensing reliability when used at common conveyor widths.

Eaton Corp., Booth S-5279

Conveyors

Spiral and Roller Conveyors

Nercon Engineering and Manufacturing Inc. introduces its spiral conveyor system that uses a cylindrical drum to help drive the modular plastic belt. According to Nercon, the Live-Drum spiral conveyor features low belt tension, increased elevation changes and capacity, versatility and low maintenance. The rotating, stainless-steel drum imparts driving force to the inside edge of the belt, creating low tension on the belt. This allows for long runs and multiple tiers in a relatively small footprint. The Live-Drum Spiral conveyor can attain greater elevation changes compared to shaft and sprocket-driven, high-tension spirals, says the company. It can be configured with various infeed and discharge locations and can be engineered to lower or elevate products. It can also carry products between floors and machines or over aisles and transports jars, tubs, cups, bundles, cans, bottles, bags, pouches, cartons, totes and cases. In addition, the Live-Drum Spiral can accommodate various product sizes on one production line with no changeover. The conveyor operates at speeds of 10 to 150 feet per minute. Nercon also shows its Live Roller Metering and Merging roller conveyor, which stalls product on the conveyor until the items are in proper sequence. When product moves onto a primary modular plastic belt with integrated rollers, an exciter belt downstream engages the rollers on the primary belt in a backwards spinning motion. Product floats on the roller sections briefly until the rollerless chain section emerges, putting the product in forward motion on the indexing pocket. Plow rails or powered side rails merge multiple lanes into single file.

Nercon Engineering and Manufacturing Inc.,
Booth C-3011

Vacuum Conveyor

PIAB Inc. introduces its C2100-64 vacuum conveyor, designed to convey powder and bulk materials in areas with low ceilings or limited space. The C2100-64 conveyor features COAX multistage ejector technology, which allows it to consume less air and energy than other compressed-air-driven conveyors, according to PIAB. The C-2100-64 operates at feed pressures between 58 to 87 psi and temperatures between 32 °F and 140 °F. Constructed of stainless steel, the conveyor can transport 1,000 pounds of powders and granules per hour. It can be equipped with a Mahle filter to handle particle sizes of 0.5 micron and greater.

PIAB Inc., Booth S-5304

Belt Conveyors

QC Industries introduces its Automation Series AS40 and AS65 low-profile, high-speed belt conveyors, featuring single-piece extruded aluminum frames, rotatable drives and movable center drives. Pivot rotatable drive technology on the AS40 end-drive conveyor allows the drive to be rotated in the field to almost any position to meet changing application requirements and avoid conflicts with other machinery. The AS65 center-drive conveyor has a below-belt drive that can be positioned at any point along the length of the conveyor, allowing a better fit with integrated machinery, according to QC Industries. A push-button, tension-release mechanism alleviates tension on the belt for belt changes and under-belt cleaning. The aluminum frame includes tee slots for rapid stand and accessory mounting. Conveyors 18 inches wide and wider feature multi-piece aluminum and steel frames. Drive packages include DC and AC motors in standard- and heavy-duty models with a variety of mounting options. Users can choose from more than 50 belt styles, ranging from multi-purpose and accumulation to anti-static and color-contrasting specialty belts. Automation Series conveyors move at speeds of 400 feet per minute and handle loads up to 120 pounds.

QC Industries, Booth C-4245

Dual Spiral Conveyors

Ryson adds dual 8- and 20-inch-wide slat spirals to its dual spiral product line. The new spirals have two tracks that can operate up or down within one spiral structure. The tracks can be reversible as an option. One drive motor powers each track. Ryson spiral conveyors require less floor space than conventional conveyors and are faster and more reliable than elevators or lifts, according to the company. Models with dual 8-, 12-, 16- or 20-inch-wide slats are available.

Ryson, Booth S-5239

Bulk Handling Equipment

Spiroflow Systems Inc. shows its standard and custom conveying and bulk bag handling equipment for chemical, packaging, mineral, plastics, food and pharmaceutical applications. A hands-on exhibit demonstrates the principles, functions and benefits of the company's line of bulk bag dischargers, bulk bag fillers, flexible screw conveyors and aero-mechanical conveyors. The company also shows its Model C1-2 bulk bag fillers with a load-cell mounted weigh platform and Model CS bulk bag fillers by volume. The bags of the Model CS fillers are inflated prior to filling to ensure they are fully extended without folds or creases that could reduce capacity, cause instability or create discharging problems. Spiroflow will also show nine types of bulk bag dischargers, ranging from simple bag support frames to sophisticated models offering total confinement, and a variety of bin, bag and drum emptiers; bag packers; and Pneuvac vacuum conveyors.

Spiroflow Systems Inc., Booth S-5010

Labeling Systems

Label Printer

Tharo Systems presents its new Tharo PA2000t tamp label printer/applicator, an accessory for the Tharo H-400/H-600 Series of thermal transfer barcode label printers. The PA2000t features a smaller footprint than other printer/applicators, and has a remote front panel that provides access regardless of the orientation of the applicator, according to the company. With or without a computer attached, the PA2000t can print and apply 2-×-1-inch to 6-×-8-inch labels at a speed of 58 labels per minute. Springs and an adjustable pressure-sensing switch on the tamp pad allow for precise label placement and controlled contact. Also on display is the Tharo brand of H-400 and H-600 Series thermal transfer barcode label printers for large-volume printing. These metal printers are available in 203 or 300 dpi and 4- or 6-inch print widths. They feature backlit LCDs, clocks and an optional Ethernet card. The H-Series contain internal memory for storing downloaded label formats, graphics and fonts, which allow them to operate without a computer connection.

Tharo Systems Inc., Booth C-4736

Powered Vehicles

Automatic Guided Carts

Jervis B. Webb Co., a subsidiary of Daifuku Co., shows its latest line of SmartCart automatic guided carts (AGCs). SmartCart AGCs deliver pallets to and from stretch wrappers, roller conveyors and palletizers and move loads around a facility. The company demonstrates its SmartCart AGC Model 300 counterbalanced fork AGC picking up and dropping off pallets on a stretch wrapper. The SmartCart AGC features SmartSteer technology, enabling it to run in reverse and leave the magnetic-tape guidepath to perform programmed functions. Also on display is the company's SmartCart AGC Model 100 tugger/tunnel, which operates lower to the ground than the standard 100 Tugger. This allows it to tunnel under a customized carrier and tow it to another location. The Model 100 tugger/tunnel is available with an auto hitch for automatic coupling and decoupling with trailers and customized carriers.

Jervis B. Webb Co., Booth S-5281

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