Rise of the machines — packaging systems
European standards and regulations demand improved methods of packaging production. Paul Collins, Technical Support Manager of protective and speciality packaging products manufacturer, Sealed Air, Bradford, UK, discusses some available systems.
Packaging machinery manufacturers and suppliers are preparing for major changes in equipment as the EU concentrates on flexibility and adaptation with the possible relaxation of pack size regulations.
Competition and more consumer choice are being driven by better product marketing and are propelling the packaging industry. To meet the challenge, machinery manufacturers are expected to satisfy a diverse range of customer requirements. In the future, packs will not only become larger or smaller, but will also diversify in shape.
Sealed Air, based in Bradford, UK, provides the Shanklin packaging machines, a range with over 50 models – including shrink wrappers, shrink tunnels and automated feeding systems. The equipment is manufactured in the USA and Europe and complies to all necessary standards.
It only takes one
One of the top sellers in the Shanklin range is the Omni, a fill-and-seal wrapper that reduces operating costs by processing a wide variety of products through installation of just one machine. It can handle all types of packaging, eleminating time-consuming changeovers. It offers a range of plug-and-play in-feed modules, capable of changing in minutes. This is suitable for contract packers and companies producing cosmetics and toiletries.
Other machines have been designed for versatility, such as the Shanklin ALT, an L-sealer for wrapping individual items using shrinkable films. This can pack with or without trays and operates in-line or side-by-side. It works at speeds of up to 40 packages a minute with configuration being either right-to-left or left-to-right, meaning manpower is saved by one operator looking after two machines simultaneously. The ALT model incorporates its own shrink tunnel, a one-piece hot-knife sealing bar with an interchangeable sealing profile to ensure a tight seal, and a touch screen operator interface with a 60-programme capacity.
Sealed Air also offers the HSC and HSI range of wrappers. The HSC 550 model, comes in two different sizes and is available in stainless steel or painted versions. The HSC’s continuous rotary side sealing system makes it suitable for a number of products ranging from short to long items, even though the latter are unstable. Speeds of up to 80 packs a minute can be achieved.
Up to 60 programmes can be stored for touch screen selection and the continually heated sealing bar offers an interchangeable sealing profile, motorised film unwind, and a needle perforator, together with other user-friendly features that give maximum protection.
The Shanklin HSI is a high-speed intermittent sealing machine that comes in four different versions and offers flexibility. It can cope with packs of virtually any length provided there is a conveyor between the machine and the shrink tunnel. Most of the key features of the other machines are incorporated in the HSI which, like the HSC, has a kissing conveyor over its lower seal bar for transition to short products – this is not standard on all L-sealers.
Other products available from Sealed Air include films, easy open solutions, carton making equipment and leaflet feeders from different companies.