A guide to some of the most exciting products at the recent show.

Plant-based material for yogurt cups

Yogurt cups mostly plant-based

Clear Lam Packaginghas 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) fromNatureWorks LLC.The material is claimed to be stronger than the polystyrene usually used in these situations. The material is part of Clear Lam’sEarthClear initiative.

Stick is teabag alternative

Exhibiting at the booth ofLandsberg Packaging SolutionswasTstix,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 supplierJosef Blažek.Tstix is already being produced by contract packager Tipton Mills LLC, Columbus, Ind.

Delta robot carries big loads

A variation of the delta robot that carries a far heavier payload has been incorporated into a prototype top-load case packer fromEdson Packaging Machinery Ltd.The new DeltaBot fromAEMK Systemsuses 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.

The Ishida TSC-RS Seal Checker from Heat and Control

Leak inspector checks bags fast

The Ishida TSC-RS Seal Checker fromHeat and Controlcan 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 ultrafast

New printhead technology that dramatically shortens the time for on-demand color digital printing was rolled out byMemjet.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 pallets

A new system for securing pallet loads uses a fiber-based frame and straps under tension. The Cube, developed byCompadreand marketed bySmart 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.

Adept’s wireless MT490 robot.

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 positioning

Delkor 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.

Zip-Pak 'Zip360' wide-mouth pouch

Pouch offers wide mouth, pour-spout opening

Zip-Pak introduced the “Zip360” flexible pouch format with a wide opening and pour-spout functionality to enhance consumer convenience.  Zip360 permits graphics around the entire surface area of the pouch to maximize shelf impact. The new pouch format’s opening is ideal for snack mixes, cereal, and frozen food applications. Capable of accommodating up to 20 inches of applied press-to-seal zipper stock, the Zip360 pouch was developed in conjunction with Triangle Package Machinery Co. and Printpack

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.

Deep-grip bottles are easy to handle

A package development company, an equipment supplier, and a major brand owner-Procter & Gamble-have collaborated on what is called a breakthrough process to enhance the grip on large containers and allow easier handling of hard-to-grasp multiserve packages.

Deep Grip packaging combines the talents of Plastic Technologies Inc. (PTI) and Switzerland-based PTI-Europe, equipment maker Sidel, and P&G. Working with injection stretch blow molding (ISBM) equipment, the new containers offer grip depth of more than 1 inch on each side with a web thickness of less that .01 inches. The end result is a polypropylene or PET container of up to a 1.5-gallon size that allows better grasping around the handle without touching the container wall.

The new containers will be especially useful for large containers in such areas as edible oils, juice, household cleaners, and motor oil, says Frank Semersky, PTI vp and chief innovation officer. The use of the two-step ISBM process–-made on proprietary equipment from Sidel-also allows as much as 25% lightweighting compared to extrusion blow molding. The technology is expected to be unveiled first in Europe and could be of benefit to older adults, children, and others who have difficulty gripping large plastic bottles.

Vertical tower, robot anchor mixed pallet demo

Emphasizing that the company’s expertise extends beyond beverage packaging, the booth of Hartness Intl. combined the Vertique Vertical Tower case handling system with the Vertique high-level, hybrid robotic palletizer-launched at the show-to highlight an integrated “mixed case picking” solution. The system automatically assembled mixed pallet loads from diverse product infeed streams. The system is capable of handling a range of items at rates to 500 cases/min. Applicable industries include soft drink and other non-alcoholic beverages, beer & spirits, personal care, and food. Some 20 Vertique Tower systems have been installed worldwide, according to Hartness.

Dual printheads save time, space

The Videojet 1610 Dual Head small character continuous ink jet printer from Videojet Technologies Inc. uses two printheads that can run independently or in tandem to meet a wide range of applications that require printing on two locations on a single product, or on multiple lanes on a traversing unit.  

The Videojet 1610 Dual Head printer can print up to five lines of high-resolution code per printhead at speeds up to 960 feet per minute for a range of applications and uses the new clean flow printhead design that increases uptime.

The CanNester A.D. barrier cup

Paperboard barrier cup loses the foil

Unveiled at the show, CanNester A.D. (Atmospheric Defense) high-barrier containers offer a paper-based, nonfoil packaging option for many food products. It is a collaboration of Interpress Technologies, the converter and manufacturer of the container; MWV, the manufacturer of the material; and Paper Machinery Corp., the manufacturer of the container forming machinery. The key is “SeamSeal” technology that improves shelf-life by sealing the raw edge of the cup’s inner seam, preventing migration of moisture, grease and oxygen.

It is available in three different coatings: Polyethylene for moderate moisture/ grease protection; polypropylene for advanced moisture/grease protection and microwavability; and MWV Barrier Board for superior oxygen and moisture barrier. “We have interest from six large brand owners,” says Sandy Jaquish, Interpress VP sales and marketing. “There’s a pent-up need for this kind of package.” The first commercial application of the high-barrier canister is expected in the market around February. The company will explore biopolymer coatings next, Jaquish adds.