Yogurt cups mostly plant-basedClear Lam Packaging has developed what it claims to be the first plant-based plastic for thermoform-fill-seal machinery. The new material is being used by Stonyfield Farms for all of its multipack yogurt cups. It consists of 93% renewable sources, primarily plant-based Ingeo PLA (polylactic acid) from NatureWorks LLC. The material is claimed to be stronger than the polystyrene usually used in these situations. The material is part of Clear Lam’s EarthClear initiative.
Stick is teabag alternativeExhibiting at the booth of Landsberg Packaging Solutions was Tstix, a revolutionary stick-pack technology for tea. The polypropylene-laminate material is micro-perforated around the bottom two-thirds of the stick with holes that allow the tea inside to infuse a cup of hot water. Tstix are packed on machinery from Czech supplier Josef Blažek. Tstix is already being produced by contract packager Tipton Mills LLC, Columbus, Ind.
Delta robot carries big loadsA variation of the delta robot that carries a far heavier payload has been incorporated into a prototype top-load case packer from Edson Packaging Machinery Ltd. The new DeltaBot from AEMK Systems uses cables in place of the rigid arms featured on most delta-style robots, with tension and support provided by a pneumatically driven center post. The result is a robot that can operate nearly as fast as a conventional delta robot (120 units per minute for a 2-pound load in a 40 x 500 x 40 millimeter motion profile), with a maximum payload of up to 70 pounds.
Leak inspector checks bags fastThe Ishida TSC-RS Seal Checker from Heat and Control can accurately detect leaks in up to 150 bags per minute. A servo-operated inspection head applies optimal pressure to bags without damaging their contents. Consistent bag pitch is maintained with a special stabilizer system. Options include a variety of rejecters, a pre-rejecter to prevent defective bags from entering the inspection area, network control, data printer, and a camera to load product photos on the control screen preset menu.
Digital printhead is ultrafastNew printhead technology that dramatically shortens the time for on-demand color digital printing was rolled out by Memjet. The printhead’s 70,000 microscopic nozzles can deliver 700 million droplets of ink per second, printing on film or paperboard in a fraction of the time required by conventional digital printers. The Memjet printhead can be incorporated into a variety of existing printers.
Frame and straps secure palletsA new system for securing pallet loads uses a fiber-based frame and straps under tension. The Cube, developed by Compadre and marketed by Smart Packaging Systems, comprises a frame around the pallet load made of laminated fiber reinforced with a special adhesive. The corners are secured by plastic fitments that also hold in place a crisscrossing web of straps. The Cube is both strong and easily removable, allowing for increased direct-merchandising opportunities for pallet loads.
Wireless robots offer mobility
At Pack Expo, Adept Technology demonstrated its mobile, intelligent vision-guided MT400 robotics that perform tasks, speak, respond, and carry out duties automatically and on demand. At the booth, a team of model MT490 robots sequentially left their end-of-conveyor-line position to interact with bemused attendees. The mobile robots eliminate the need for costly hardwired systems or static pathways that restrict robots’ movements and options.
Mechanism pinpoints carton positioningDelkor Systems' patent-pending Intelligent Positioning Technology electronically analyzes cartons for alignment ahead of closing and can automatically make adjustments on every carton at speeds to 150 cartons per minute. Additionally, Delkor introduced the Trayfecta high-speed servo carton former with ergonomically sloped carton-loading magazine.
Pouch offers wide mouth, pour-spout opening
Stretch-wrap measurement tool
The latest addition to Lantech “LeanWrap” technology that includes “No Film Break” capability is the patented Containment Force Measuring Tool, or CFT-4, which debuted at Pack Expo. It permits users to measure the pressure, or containment force, that stretch film exerts on a stretch-wrapped load. In addition to new machines, CFT-4 is also available as a retrofit on the company’s machines. It is accessed through the stretch wrapper’s human-machine interface. Of 60 LeanWrap machines in the field, two systems are CFT-4 equipped as part of an alpha test of the tool, according to chairman Pat Lancaster.