Four days, 1,966 exhibitors and more than 45,000 attendees later, and PACK EXPO 2012 is at a close. For many though, it may be over but not forgotten. That’s because this year’s sold-out show delivered the largest PACK EXPO in history—more than 1.1 million square feet of exhibit space and record-setting registration numbers. It also brought to life the many developments, creations and solutions that were introduced and demonstrated on the show floor.
Here’s a rundown of what new equipment, systems and solutions made their debut at this year’s PACK EXPO.
In-Line Product Scanning System
JBT FoodTech, Sandusky, Ohio, introduced its new in-line product scanning system for 100% inspection applications. The DSI J-Scan Inspection System provides corrective feedback to operators using upstream processing equipment or via high-speed precision sorting of naturally-occurring items ranging in size from poultry portions to pork bellies.
The system employs DSI Q-LINK Software, which allows for feedback from the inspection process to be sent upstream to DSI portioning or slicing systems. Doing so leads to lower reject rates and allows for improved profits for all inspection applications. For example, the J-Scan System recommends changes to integrated upstream portioning operations to correct attributes such as average product thickness, width, length or weight.
The new scanning system also employs the DSI 800 Series Portioning System to provide superior attribute recognition and sorting. Products can be sorted by attributes such as percentage of visible lean meat on the product surface in combination with dimensional measurements.
The DSI J-Scan Inspection System allows processors to move from manual or semi-automated
quality-assurance sampling to a full, in-line automated inspection and reporting system. It also offers an easy-to-use touch-screen interface to make product changeovers quick and effortless.
Bio-Based, Phthalate-Free Tubing
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics (SGPPL), Akron, Ohio, created Tygon S3, what is said to be the market’s first bio-based, phthalate-free tubing. This safe, smart and sustainable product transfer solution enables food and beverage manufacturers to advance food safety and sustainability measures without sacrificing performance.
Phthalates are commonly used in the plastics industry as a plasticizer to increase tubing’s flexibility, transparency, durability and longevity. However, with increasingly stringent legislation, processors anticipate transitioning to equipment that eliminates phthalates altogether.
Tygon S3 complies with FDA, NSF and 3-A requirements for food and beverage applications as well as with Japan Food Sanitation Law # 370/1959 and European regulations (10/2011/EU).
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics
Bosch Packaging Technology introduced its Pack 301 Inverted Long Dwell Flow Wrapper (ID), which combines both inverted and long dwell flow wrappers to create one machine capable of gentle product handling and hermetically-sealed seams. The inverted long dwell wrapper features a consistent seal time independent of the machine’s product flow, which guarantees an air-tight seal even during ramp up and down periods for extended product shelf life and less waste.
The Pack 301 ID is particularly ideal for the packaging of fresh produce, soft products, multi-packs, meat and dairy, as well as other products that are difficult to handle using a traditional upright flow wrapper or require modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). Long dwell sealing times of up to one second ensure hermetically-sealed packages. A feature that allows independent control of the processing temperature on both the top and bottom sealing jaws accommodates thicker films.
The machine’s inverted flow-wrapping technology gently transports the product directly onto the film from the former through the cutting head, greatly reducing jams and ensuring a superior package appearance. The Pack 301 ID features a modular film backstand that can be propped in various positions relative to the infeed and wrapper, allowing users to optimize the film path. Additionally, the Pack 301 ID has the flexibility to adapt to specific applications, such as products that are loose in the infeed flight and require a stronger seal level. It can also be used with both automated and manual systems to meet manufacturers’ diverse needs. For example, the machine can integrate with a variety of infeeds such as flighted, lug-less, trough style and belt feeders.
Bosch Packaging Technology
VFFS Rotary Polyethylene Packaging System
Tna, Coppell, Texas, launched what is said to be the world’s first vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) rotary polyethylene packaging system. The tna robagFXIS 3ci offers efficiencies of up to 99% of target output while reaching unrivalled speeds of 150 bpm.
How it works is the rotary jaw design uses advanced impulse sealing technology to deliver high-quality, consistent packaging with high levels of accuracy and reduced product waste due to the optimized product transfer from the multi-head scale through to the jaws. Plus, the rotary double flat jaw (RDFJ) configuration doubles the throughput.
The tna robagFXIS 3ci builds on the features of the tna robag 3ci series, such as the simplified film system for effortless film threading and stainless-steel construction for ease of cleaning, and still delivers efficient, reliable PE sealing and bagging. Its polyethylene bags are suitable for numerous packaging applications, including fresh or frozen vegetables, salads, ready-to-eat fruit and more.
Operators can now accurately mix multiple snack, vegetable, meat and frozen food components, apply seasonings and maintain an even blend all the way to packaging using the FastBack Blending Conveyor from Heat and Control, Hayward, Calif.
Load cells precisely measure the delivery of each ingredient to maintain a blend accuracy of better than 1.5% per constituent, depending on the product. Gentle FastBack horizontal motion conveying prevents separation of blended ingredients and reduces product breakage up to 60% compared to vibratory conveyors. It also reduces coating loss, buildups in the conveyor pan and unscheduled cleaning downtime.
Menu-driven recipe selection facilitates fast changeovers and promotes consistent blend quality. And, the modular design permits easy expansion and flexibility.
Heat and Control, Inc.
Schneider Packaging Equipment, Brewerton, N.Y., exhibited its newest robotic palletizer, the E3 ROBOX.
Designed with economy in mind, the E3 provides a simple and portable robotic end-of-line palletizing solution. The built-in flexibility simplifies handling multiple SKUs, often without any mechanical changeover. Additionally, the E3 unit is equipped with fork pockets, and can be transported by fork truck between lines for fluctuating production demands.
Another key feature is its small footprint. At 8x71/2 feet, the E3 fits into the same space as a manual palletizing station. Available with product labeling and bar code reading for product tracking applications, the unit also comes with semi- and full-automatic pallet exchange.
Schneider Packaging Equipment Co., Inc.
Collapsible Plastic Drum
Buckhorn, Milford, Ohio, introduced a collapsible 60-gallon plastic drum. This patent-pending, recyclable drum is designed specifically for the food, powder and liquid handling markets.
This new drum maintains a 40x24x20-inch footprint, and includes a base, sidewalls and lid. All parts are designed with offset surfaces and interlocking flanges to prevent cracks in the joints, minimizing the potential for contamination. The drum has two security tie holes per lid. The inside and outside surfaces of the sidewalls are smooth for ease of cleaning. The sidewalls are also hinged in the center for a one-way inward fold, allowing the drum to fold flat in seconds.
Its rectangular design allows four assembled drums to interlock and cube a 48x40-inch pallet, stacking five pallet loads high. Additionally, 480 collapsed drums fit in a 53-foot truck for a superior 3:1 return ratio.
Buckhorn, Inc., a Myers Industries, Inc., company
Integrated Tape for Flexible Packaging
Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging, De Soto, Kan., offers smart and cost-optimized solutions for resealable flowpacks.
Integrated Tape, for example, is an adhesive tape that makes it possible to repeatedly reseal the foil bag. Depending on the customer’s needs, this can be fitted with various types of openings, such as peelable foil or laser perforation. The adhesiveness of the tape, the non-adhesive part and the positioning of the tape on the packaging can also be adjusted.
With Integrated Reclose, a pull tab with adhesive is integrated through which the bag retains its shape after opening or closing. In technical terms, two- and three-layer composite materials with or without aluminum are suitable for this system. In comparison to zipper solutions, there are no restrictions when choosing the sealing medium. The opening can be positioned freely in the machine direction on the packaging and adapted to the customer’s requirements. As a result, operators can integrate the resealing element onto the back of the packaging, while the design remains unchanged on the front. In addition, the inside of the pull tab offers options for a huge range of promotional campaigns, such as printing competition codes that are only visible after the packaging has been opened.
Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging
Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash., introduced enhancements to its Iso-Flo family of stainless-steel vibratory conveyors. Featuring a new patent-pending drive arrangement, frame design and screen clamp, these enhancements maximize machine efficiency, enhance sanitation and improve ergonomics on processing and/or packaging lines.
This new patent-pending drive arrangement includes a unique motor mount, made integral with the base frame, and an electrical circuit. This arrangement enables a pair of vibratory motors to impart synchronized reciprocal vibratory motion to the conveyor bed, which maximizes the conveyor’s efficiency and reliability while minimizing maintenance.
Key Technology replaced Iso-Flo’s traditional tubular frame with a shaped plate frame that is up to 1.5 times stronger, allowing less material to be used to achieve comparable strength. The new shaped plate frame is open and easy to clean, which enhances sanitation.
For Iso-Flo conveyors with screens, a new over-center screen clamp enables the screen to lock in place, assuring the screen is aligned and positioned correctly and securely. In addition to being easier to use, it eliminates the rattling that can occur if a traditional screen clamp loosens over time. The new clamp allows operators and the sanitation staff to remove and replace the screen with no tools required. This new screen clamp allows for lighter weight screens, which improve ergonomics.
Iso-Flo conveyors are ideal for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, snacks, confections, dairy products, meat, poultry and seafood, among others.
Key Technology, Inc.
Vision Inspection System
The METTLER TOLEDO CI-Vision CLA 400 Vision Inspection System inspects and confirms that a line is producing the specified safety markings, and that printers on the line are functioning correctly. If a printer malfunctions and the “best before” date is not placed on a package, or an incorrect or unreadable date is printed, the vision system detects that and rejects the item, so that every package leaving the facility will always be in compliance with the law.
The new CLA 400 is a part of the CLS series, which performs complete inspection of essential prints, labels and seals of packaged fresh foods to ensure that 100% of packaging is complete and correct. These systems handle small, medium and large product sizes, are designed to meet HACCP hygienic standards and incorporate an easy-to-use human machine interface.
METTLER TOLEDO CI-Vision
Heat-and-Serve Plated Packaging
Sealed Air’s Cryovac food packaging brand continues to expand its Simple Steps product line with an upscale plate design that combines the convenience and simplicity of heat-and-serve packaging with enhanced aesthetic appeal.
Developed for consumers and foodservice operations, the Cryovac Simple Steps plate maintains the unique vacuum-skin package, which provides steam-assisted cooking, self-venting and eliminates the need for package perforation.
Foodservice operators using the Cryovac Simple Steps plate will benefit from consistent product quality across multiple-unit locations, accurate portioning and labor savings associated with the elimination of the need for plating after heating. Also, the Cryovac Simple Steps plate naturally lends itself to accommodating institutional and non-traditional foodservice operations such as hospitals and hotel room service.
Retailers will find value in the merchandising appeal of the Cryovac Simple Steps plate. The option for vertical display and the high-product visibility through the vacuum-skin packaging presents a fresh and appealing product to shoppers.
The Cryovac Simple Steps plate will be available initially in square varieties sized to fit in most common kitchen microwaves. Suited for single-serve meal options of 9-15 ounces, the Cryovac Simple Steps plate is designed for frozen or refrigerated heat-and-serve meals.
Sealed Air Corp.
Compact Filling System
Haver Filling Systems, Conyers, Ga., debuted the TOPLINE 2000 system. Ideal for packaging free-flowing granulated products into pre-fabricated open-mouth bags, this compact-in-size system fits even the smallest spaces while still achieving filling speeds of up to 30 bags per minute with one filling spout.
The TOPLINE 2000 is equipped with either a vertical empty bag magazine for tight spaces or a horizontal empty bag magazine suitable for higher storage capacities. Both options are easily refillable without interruption to the filling process. To further increase flexibility, the TOPLINE 2000 can fill paper or plastic bags and can be fit with one of four optional closing systems—sewing, taping, hot-melt activating or heat sealing.
The machine is built with a pre-wired, integrated control cabinet, reducing installation time to a fourth of traditional methods.
How it works is during the filling cycle, the bag is securely transported by a servo-driven bag-handling unit. The device pulls empty bags from the magazine and accurately hands them to the filling spout. As the spout fills the bag, a vibratory unit compacts the filled bag for a tight fit. Once filled, the bag is sealed using one of the four available methods. In addition, the TOPLINE 2000 is equipped with an energy recovery system that enables the machine to consume minimum power during production.
Haver Filling Systems, Inc.
Cincinnati-based Intelligrated launches two new enhancements for its Alvey 950 series hybrid palletizers. The new features include an on-board stretch bander that adds stability to otherwise unstable loads and an integrated control system that allows both the conventional palletizer and its robotic arms to operate from a single PLC.
Ideal for reduced secondary packaging applications that require gentle handling, the Alvey 950 series hybrid palletizer integrates robotic arms with a conventional high-speed palletizer to increase pattern flexibility and facilitate quick product changeover.
The hoist-mounted stretch bander reduces or eliminates the need for tie sheets and stretch wrapping to stabilize loads. The Alvey 950 on-board stretch bander uses fewer consumables than traditional stretch wrapping, reducing both time and material requirements.
Reclosable, Foldable Zipper
Ampac, Cincinnati, announced the addition of Inno-Lok, a patented method of applying a reclosable zipper transversely to packaging films, as well as Pour & Lok, a foldable zipper applied to film in the side gusset area of a package.
The Inno-Lok technology is applied transversely to packaging films producing pre-zippered roll stock film, which can be used in form-fill-seal packaging applications. When compared to conventional non-zippered films, Inno-Lok provides a pre-zippered roll stock solution with a reclosable feature, while incurring no reductions in processing and filling speeds, no increase in scrap or set-up time and a savings of up to 25% in zipper material.
Inno-Lok is offered on Ampac’s co-extruded surface printed films and laminated films for both barrier and non-barrier end uses. Common applications for Inno-Lok pre-zippered roll film include frozen foods, fresh produce and dry foods, among others. The Inno-Lok pre-zippered roll film capabilities include traditional front panel (thumb tab or pull tab openings), bag top and the Pour & Lok (a reclosable pour spout).
FDA-, USDA-, NSF-Certified Conveyor
Dynamic Conveyor, Muskegon, Mich., presented DynaClean Ultimate and DynaClean Premium conveyors for food processors.
Manufactured using HDPE, UHMW and 304 stainless-steel allows, both conveyor systems are FDA-, USDA- and NSF-approved. And, the DynaClean systems allow for configuration changes, which permit the conveyor system length to grow or shrink without compromising the integrity of the conveyor. The versatility of the DynaClean conveyor system allows for a single, continuous conveyor to run straight, incline and/or decline while utilizing just one energy-efficient motor.
DynaClean Ultimate conveyors, for example, feature both ThermoDrive solid belting and modular plastic link-style belting to meet the needs of wet, dry or sticky foods. Two options of maintenance-free wash-down motors are also available and can be selected based on the desired ease of cleaning. Components can be removed in a matter of minutes, giving complete exposure to the internal components of the system, which allows for efficient and cost-effective cleaning and sanitizing.
DynaClean Premium conveyors are designed for food packagers with occasional washdown requirements. The system includes options for straight, incline and/or decline and lateral turns while using one drive motor. Maintenance-free, energy efficient drive motors are externally mounted and washdown ready.
Shrink Sleeve Seamer
Plymouth, Minn.-based Accraply launched the Standford AccraSeam, a shrink sleeve label applicator that offers speeds up to 600 meters per minute. The AccraSeam reduces waste and downtime with features such as the fully automated servo-controlled lay-flat adjustment, tool-less forming section, ultrasonic lay-flat monitoring and lay-flat reporting.
Meanwhile, the Trine Model 4800 roll-fed labeling system features advanced container control, which delivers superior bottle handling at speeds up to 600 containers per minute. The segmented vacuum drum eliminates the need for re-padding, and a stainless-steel guard is specifically designed for the beverage industry.
Accraply, Inc., a Barry-Wehmiller company
The new ZIP-PAK Vector resealable matrix from Zip-Pak, Manteno, Ill., brings a new level of consumer convenience to flexible packaging. Featuring a proprietary self-sealing matrix that closes securely without exact alignment of opposing segments, the solution provides tactile and audible feedback for reassurance of complete fastening with each use. The airtight seal also helps lock in product freshness.
From shredded and sliced cheese, deli meat to snacks and vegetables to pet foods and garden fertilizer, the Vector resealable matrix eliminates the need for consumers to transfer contents into a separate, unbranded container, keeping marketing messages in front of the consumer to the last use.
Automated End-to-End Packaging Line
Multivac, Kansas City, Mo., introduced an automated end-to-end packaging line, including full integration of the line modules, a uniform operator guide and an optional feature for traceability marking.
The R535 high-end model contains memory cards, which are loaded automatically into the thermoformed cavities of the H240 Multi-Robot handling module. The H240 is equipped with two HR460 four-axis robots, which pick up the cards from every position (up to 240 pick-and-place cycles) and places them in the desired orientation. Then, the H240 MVS Vision System detects the orientation of the cards on the infeed conveyor and scans it for abnormalities.
The MVS seal seam scanner checks the quality of the seal seams while the packages are in the packaging machine. The inspections are fully automated, capturing 100% of all packages without any human contact, resulting in a wear-free environment. The new scanner is suitable for all film materials.
The packaging line also integrates a cross web labeler with printer unit into the thermoforming packaging line for sterilization and track-and-trace applications. The label dispenser is equipped with a “print engine” that is fitted directly at the dispensing edge of the labeler. This results in the label being dispensed on to the package immediately after printing. The cross web labeler also comes with an HMI 2.0 user interface, which integrates the controls of the packaging machine into one full operation that’s handled by a single control panel.
Stackable, Reclosable Packaging
Clear Lam Packaging, Elk Grove Village, Ill., introduced PrimaPak, the latest in stackable, flexible and reclosable packaging.
Produced from printed rollstock on a form-fill-seal machine, this packaging is stackable for enhanced merchandising, features six panels for graphics and replaces bulky cans, jars and rigid containers.
Clear Lam Packaging, Inc.
Production of Pillow-Style Pouches
Atlanta-based Printpack introduced Viscopack System, ideal for producing pillow-style pouches of condiments, sauces, soups and other pumpable food products. The Viscopack System is a pairing of Printpack’s high- and medium-barrier PerformX co-extrusion film with a state-of-the-art, servo-driven, vertical form-fill-seal machine.
The high-speed, continuous-motion Viscopack machine is designed for high productivity, said to deliver more than 50% greater throughput compared to intermittent-motion machines. The servo-driven motors enable exceptional machine control and web handling to supply high throughput and consistent quality seal performance, i.e., superior seal strength and uniformity.
Viscopack also creates less product waste with 100% package evacuation, and produces 95% less solid waste vs. a jug with lid—providing lower disposal costs.
Viscopack offers the flexibility to make 8-ounce to 2-gallon pouches on one machine. In addition, easy-open tear notch features are available, as well as fitmented pouch options that allow for easy pour, re-close and dispenser integration.
Kliklok-Woodman’s Enterprise endload cartoner is just one of the many new machines included in the Decatur, Ga.-based company’s methodology called Centerlining.
Centerlining is used to reduce product and process variability and increase machine efficiency by determining optimal machine operating setpoints. Kliklok-Woodman designs machines from the ground up with clearly marked setpoints to help operators establish quicker changeovers, less downtime and reduced waste.
For example, the Enterprise endload cartoner produces speeds up to 200 cpm, and features a patented servo-profiled carton feeder, a color touch screen, adjustable article buckets and an optional bag-in-box overhead confiner.
T.H.E.M., Marlton, N.J., and Japan-based Sanko Machinery Co. introduced Zero1, a liquid packaging system designed for products like condiments, salad dressings, pastes and other liquids and concentrates.
This high-speed machine offers dependability, ease of operation, durability and efficiency for major brands and leading fast-food organizations worldwide.
High-Speed Servo Wicketer
The 5750W High Speed Servo Wicketer from Hudson-Sharp Machine Co., Green Bay, Wis., offers fast changeovers, low scrap and consistent bag quality for high-speed automatic packaging lines.
Features include high output of 400-plus cycles per minute using multi-servo technology; servo-driven seal head providing constant and key-in seal time independent of machine speed; menu-controlled “bag selection” to store all production parameters and bag specifi cations; new seal bar cleaning system that can be programmed to automatically remove debris from the stainless-steel seal bar with suction system, reducing downtime and increasing productivity; capacity for up to 500 custom machine set-up programs with machine speed, seal temperature, seal time, draw length, blow down, hole punch timing and stack count adjustable on the fly and a unique blow down and vacuum pick-off system ensures constant quality for accurate bags.
Hudson-Sharp Machine Co., a Thiele Technologies company
Flexible Bagging System
The FAS SPrint Revolution bagging system from Automated Packaging Systems, Streetsboro, Ohio, brings speed and versatility to demanding packaging environments.
Operating at speeds up to 900 inches per minute, the FAS SPrint Revolution presents a conveyor of pre-opened bags that are staged for immediate loading. The 60-inch wide load area features a 6-inch pass-through, and tilts vertically for easy maintenance and sanitation. A Coordinated Motion Seal Flattener couples with a band sealing system to ensure airtight, 3/8-inch bags. The system operates in continuous, intermittent or batch modes, and cycles on pre-set parameters or manually with a footswitch.
Plus, the SidePouch bags are system-matched, and offer a variety of value-added features, such as reclosable zippers, resealable flaps, reinforced headers and tamper-evident perforations.
Typical applications include frozen or individually-quick frozen products, meat, poultry, fish and meat by-products, fresh produce, fruits and vegetables, frozen snacks, and more.
Automated Packaging Systems
HayssenSandiacre, Duncan, S.C., showcased new machinery models in both vertical and horizontal form/fill/seal packaging systems.
Equipment on display included:
• Logic Flex System. Designed to treat fragile products while maintaining an elevated packing speed. The variable inclination, between 25-55°, allows the operator to find the best relationship between packing speed and fragility of the product. This integrated packaging system features a fragile handling scale and take-away conveyor.
• Novus 350 Quad Transverse Zipper with Yamato Omega Scale. Flexibility to run both Quad Seal and Doy Packs with easy changeover to high-speed pillow bag production. It features the latest technology in integrated zippers coupled with stand-up packages.
• Integra 601 Inverted Flow Wrapper and Veltron II Infeed. Perfect for packaging larger and difficult-to-handle products (soft, sticky, wet products). Benefits are 10-minute package size changeover with one part change, gas flush, easy-open packages and long-dwell sealing with hermetic seals. The inverted unwind design is sanitation-friendly, as product contact surfaces are reduced.
• Ultima SV 12-19HR with Ishida Scale. High-speed intermittent motion with latest CompactLogix platform. Applications include cheese packaging.
• Novus 250 High Speed Bagger with Spee-Dee Volumetric Cup Filler. High-speed continuous motion VFFS system couples high production speeds of 200-plus ppm with a quality package.
The new 1-Seal solution from Spartech Corp., Clayton, Mo., provides food marketers with an environmentally-friendly packaging solution using the in-mold labeling (IML) process.
Unlike other sealing methods, the IML technology creates one component manufactured in one process that can be capped and sealed to a container by leaving a portion of the label surface exposed inside the lid. Additionally, this 100% recyclable lidding system simplifies the filling procedure by eliminating foil and membrane.
The air and watertight tamper-evident, heat tolerant and microwavable sealing guarantees the best product quality with an easy-to-open and reseal option.
Because this lid uses no aluminum foil, it simplifies production and cuts potential costs for a separate station for cardboard. At the same time, an ultra thin lid seal area allows for short sealing time and low sealing temperatures. Plus, operators can pasteurize directly in the pack, which withstands autoclaving and hot filling.
Monitoring, Measuring Conveyor Loads
Louisville, Ky.-based Lantech announced a breakthrough in reducing the risk of product damage during shipping—a new Wrap Data feature available for their L-Series stretch wrapping machines.
This Wrap Data system automatically monitors and measures for the right amount of containment force on every load. Wrap Data eliminates the need for manual measurement and ensures the safety of every load. The top of the display screen shows the load exiting the conveyor. It will turn red to warn of an unsafe load or green, meaning it’s good to go.