When you've been supplying automation solutions to packaging machine manufacturers for more than 20 years, you build quite a portfolio of different solutions and that’s exactly what we have done.
But because we work closely with our customers, these advanced automation solutions not only add speed, flexibility and – above all – reliability to the packaging process, they are also surprisingly easy to adopt. Take a look at some of our solutions below.
In an HFFS machine a flexible web/foil is unwind, the packs shaped and then sealed on 2 sides, optionally the bottom too. After filled vertically with product, the top side is then sealed to closed the pack. Optionally before the final seal is made, a spout can be added. This all happens with the flexible packaging material moving horizontally, but with the pack orientation still vertical. The picture below shows an intermediate operating, cam driven machine. Also continues machines exist, with these the sections 4 till 6 are often in a carousel set-up.
Rotary sealing knifes (servo driven)
Gantry robot palletisers are linear, cartesian (XYZ) coordinated robots for pick and place applications. The axes slide linearly in relation to each other, rather than rotate as with a robotic arm.
A cardboard is removed from the magazine via a rotary feeder and transported in a single lane via a lug belt conveyor up to the receiving position of the pick & place system. The article groups are picked by two independently working robots and stacked onto the cardboards.
The machine comprises a robot mounted on a frame which overlaps two feeding conveyors running in parallel. One conveyor is feeding the products and another the cartons. The robot picks the products randomly moving on the conveyor belt and places them into the moving cartons. The instantaneous location of moving products is computed by the vision system acquiring images from a stationary camera. Meanwhile a registration sensor is used to track the position of the cartons. This is the accurate tracking of both conveyors which enables the robot to pick and place products from one running conveyor to another.
Shrink sleeve labels are supplied from a roll in the form of a continuous web, unlabeled bottles are transported via an infeed conveyor and then metered via a rotating feedscrew. While the bottles enter the labeler moving past a trigger cell, the labels in web form are opened and formed into a tube by a mandrel, fed and cut in precise registration with a printed graphic, applied to a bottle which is then conveyed up to a steam tunnel.
Empty trays are loaded by a tray denester on the infeed line and conveyed up to the sealing station. The sealing operation consists in welding a thermoplastic film on the edges of the trays, the operation being performed in a vacuum or in a neutral gas atmosphere. Before any sealing operation, a new length of film is unwound, positioned over the trays, welded on the edge of the trays and excess film wound again on a scrap roll.
A thermoform, fill and seal machine (TFFS) is one in which a web of thermoformable material is heated and formed with pressure/vacuum. After the form is filled it is then sealed with a top film and finally cut to produce individual packs. Machines can produce one or more lanes of packs and may incorporate equipment to handle gas before the packs are sealed.
Intermittent motion sealing jaw (servo-based)
Tray sealers apply a top-film to a tray. An integrated part of the machine – often a de-nester – is used to un-stack the empty trays. After the trays are filled with product they are sealed by applying the film. Finally, the sealed tray is moved to the next step, most likely secondary packaging.