Faster. Better. More versatile. These themes come up in packaging machinery as often as androids and space ships zoom through science fiction. As these machines advance, it almost feels as though those science fiction worlds are getting closer and closer to non-fiction. Cartoning machinery companies are not only looking at improving what they have created so far, they are also boldly going where they have never gone before by taking on new markets and innovations.


There is no try

Climax Packaging Machinery ( is taking on a can-do attitude with their new packaging machine, which was unveiled at PACK EXPO International last month. Climax is striking out into unexplored territory for the company by developing can cartoning machines to serve the beverage industry. The new CanDo 360 packer comes out of Climax Packaging’s last decade of developing “rainbow systems” for glass and plastic bottles. The pot of gold at the end of these systems is the ability to precisely and consistently arrange beverages into rainbow-like variety packs.

“We are not going to forget our current customers that have the need to variety pack glass and plastic bottles,” says Climax Packaging Machinery president, Bill George of the company’s decision to expand into the can market. “We will always be available to help provide proven and affordable solutions.”

Where Climax Packaging has seen success for glass and plastic bottles, they saw opportunity to take the next step into the growing craft beer can market with the CanDo 360. According to the company, a number of craft brewers are packaging their beers in cans. Additionally, variety packs are seeing major growth. The CanDo packer allows packagers to place cans in precise variety patterns, which can be hand loaded or loaded with an automated pick and place system. The machine can accommodate 12 and 16-ounce cans and operates at speeds of up to 30 cartons per minute. An exclusive, cam-operating oscillating loader loads cans on the fly, and with continuous motion, there is no start and stop movement. With two-stage flu application, the machine can handle independent upper and lower flap glue patterns and comes with an automatic hot melt glue system.

“Craft brewers are tired of hand packing their cans or trying to make old equipment fit their needs. We owe it to them to provide them with an affordable and reliable solution,” says George. “The CanDo line of equipment was designed to meet their immediate need and provide them with capacity for growth.”


Prepare for warp speed

Speed is essential in most packaging lines, but speed needs to come with versatility. PMI Cartoning ( showcased such a machine at PACK EXPO International last month—its high speed, all-servo, horizontal end-load cartoner. These cartoners can reach speed up to 350 cartons per minute and are available in continuous or intermittent motion. The PMI HS cartoner handles food, beverage and confectionery products along with other non-food and beverage applications.

Adhering to Category 3 Safety compliance, the washdown configuration features a welded stainless steel base frame. Overhead compression and articulating in-feed buckets with integral pusher heads serve up product control during carton loading. The system also features enclose gear drives, gentle product transfer, servo-driven rotary carton setup, articulated product bucks, Nordson ( hot melt glue system and controls from Rockwell Automation ( This variety of features allows the cartoner to work efficiently, quickly and cleanly. 


Make it so

Teamwork is a common theme in science-fiction. The crew must fight together against alien races, corrupt empires and even just the hazards of outer space. Similarly, packaging equipment must work together to properly package products. To this end, Bradman Lake ( exhibited a completely integrated top load cartoning system at PACK EXPO International 2014. The system features three main machines, all of which have new developments.

The voyage through the cartoning system begins in the HSS 3-axes servo motor, high speed, carton former. It erects cartons with hot melt glue or lock style and represents the new, low profile, machine version that provides a low level motorized carton hopper for easier operator access.

From here, glue formed cartons transfer automatically to the robotic DRT Product Toploader. This machine picks, rotates and places products into cartons using new designed end-of-arm tooling techniques. This method allows different layer collation patterns to be created.

To conclude their journey, filled cartons are conveyed into the RA90 right angle flexible carton control, lugless 3-flap carton lid closer. At PACK EXPO, the version demonstrated featured the new servo moto driven, life and descent overhead carton lid control conveyors. These provide operator access from all sides of the machine for rapid size changes and replaces the earlier cantilevered design.

Just as science fiction has predicted for years, the future has arrived. Packaging is a landscape rich with high-tech machinery, clever robots and speeds so fast things start to blur. Cartoning systems are pushing forward into a new frontier that not only works faster, but also better and smarter.