Below is the latest from Graphic Packaging, Sappi, PolyOne, Colordyne Technologies, Rethink Robotics, Universal Robotics and KUKA Robotics and others.
However, before launching into the round-up, one major piece of news from the show was PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies; Koelnmesse; and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) announcing the creation of ProFood Tech.
It will focus on processing technologies serving the food and beverage industry. ProFood Tech will debut April 4-6 2017, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois.
Pack Expo packaged
We start our round-up at Graphic Packaging International’s (GPI’s) stand, which featured three machines to address packaging automation issues.
The Random Servo Rotary machine, which offers tipping and placement of a variety of objects, demonstrated an affixing application.
The Water Resistant/Wash Down Reciprocating Placer is for automating food packaging applications and demonstrated picking and placing GPI's PowerTray.
They included a simplified feed system for the Quikflex 300, a continuous motion paperboard packaging system for the beverage industry.
It is designed to run a variety of containers (bottles, cans, and PET) and pack sizes (from 2-packs to 12-packs).
Sappi presented LusterPrint packaging paper, LusterCote, a coated one side (C1S) product and substrates Algro Guard M and Leine Guard M with integrated oil barrier and hot sealing properties developed with BASF.
The firm also showed Algro Nature, developed with Innovia Films, which it claims is fully biodegradable and home-compostable.
Mark Odgers, director packaging for Sappi North America, said it is investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, R&D and distribution with a promise to bring at least two products to market each year.
“The North American market will now have access to some exciting new grades that we believe will enable them to introduce higher-quality packaging with even greater shelf appeal,” he said.
“From mineral oil barrier grades that have the ability to safely reduce the amount of plastic used in packaging, to label and flexible packaging substrates that allow the production of vibrant, attractive packaging, to our Folding Box Board (FBB) and Solid Bleached Board (SBB) rigid packaging grades, we'll have something for everyone."
PolyOne Corporation said building emotional connections with consumers through packaging starts by understanding the consumer's mindset.
The firm introduced an aluminum cap liner technology, GLS Versaflex PKG 4190 thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).
It claimed the system helps preserve taste and aroma of sensitive beverages, and requires lower processing temperatures than traditional TPEs to save energy.
Automation and equipment
ITT’s Bornemann brand showcased its SLH-4G hygienic twin screw pump at the event in Las Vegas.
The Bornemann SLH twin screw pumps are single-flow and self-priming. They are engineered with a shaft sealing technology and feature an internal pumping chamber design to handle different mediums.
Mike Moore, global product director of twin screw pumps, said: “They are effective in a wide range of product viscosities, temperatures and pressures, and are also capable of pumping common clean-in-place and steam-in-place solutions.”
Arbor Solution added to its line of ARES extended-temperature box PCs with the cableless ARES-530WT embedded controller.
Power-efficiency is provided by an Intel Celeron J1900 2GHz or Intel Atom E3845 1.91GHz processor.
Brian Yurkiw, Arbor Solution vice president, said the embedded controller extends upper and lower temperature limits in the category.
"It may be safely stored and used in areas reaching as high as 185 degrees, far surpassing competitors' 158 degree limit, and as low as -40 degrees, making the Arbor Solution ARES-530WT the perfect solution for many more applications where temperature is a major concern."
Colordyne Technologies joined forces with GoToTags to enable on-demand printing of NFC labels and debuted capabilities at the show.
Typical lead times of two to three weeks for printed NFC stickers have been reduced to 24-48 hours, and the NFC label stock has been approved by Colordyne to work in their digital inkjet printers.
Gary Falconbridge, CEO of Colordyne, said clients are increasingly demanding the latest technologies for projects.
"These new printable NFC stickers from GoToTags printed on Colordyne printers represent a way for our commercial printer partners to leverage the massive IoT (Internet of Things) movement and deliver cutting edge solutions to their customers.”
Delta Products Corporation displayed its large size DOP-W Series Human Machine Interface (HMI), and the TP04P Series Text Panel with built-in PLC and the TDVST2-1 and TDP series 3-phase power quality filter series with Dual Stage.
The firm said industrial automation product technology with higher levels of built-in functionality highlighted controls and visualization suitable for stand-alone packaging machinery and smart production.
Takeover of the robots
Rethink Robotics introduced its Sawyer robot following its first product, Baxter.
"Manufacturers often struggle to implement effective and affordable automation in packaging tasks, as changes in parts, demand and product specs create problems for traditional robots designed for single-task installations," said Jim Lawton, chief product and marketing officer at Rethink Robotics.
"Baxter, and now Sawyer, are enabling many companies to automate packaging tasks by bringing flexibility and efficiency to the factory floor."
Sonoco Alloyd, Omega Design and Piab had Baxter robots working on applications in their booths.
Universal Robots had the UR3, UR5 and UR10 robot arms, named after their payload in kilos, at the show.
The firm said unlike investments in traditional robotic cells that are caged, pre-programmed and designed for a single purpose, the multi-purpose UR robot offers more possibilities over the life of the investment.
At Orkla Foods, a robot works independently packing vanilla cream bags into cartons but is part of a network with a carton erector, a carton sealer and is fed by a filling machine.
The firm said the payback period for the UR10 robot was six months.
“While safety is imperative, we believe that being collaborative is just as much about accessibility; placing robots within reach of manufacturers regarding automation as too costly and complex,” said Scott Mabie, general manager of Universal Robots’ Americas division.
KUKA Robotics debuted the KR AGILUS HM (hygienic machine) to the North American Market.
The small robot has an IP 67 protection rating and is for temperatures between 0oC to 40oC.
It offers a payload range of 6kg to 10kg with a reach of 700mm to 1,100mm.