Econo-Pak's Compact Case Packer Uses the Latest Adhesive Technology
08 Mar 2017
*Note: This article originally appeared in "DMW - Die Milchwirtschaft" in January 2017. To read the original, click here.
Compact case packer with the latest adhesive technology
One of many OEMs to opt for the innovative ProBlue Liberty hot melt application system from Nordson recently is Econo-Pak GmbH. With headquarters at Flonheim in the German state of Rheinland-Palatinate, the specialist for various types of end-of-line packaging machines recently exhibited a version of its new generation of case packers in combination with an especially powerful model of the tankless melter series at FachPack 2016.
The system presented in Nuremberg, which was installed several weeks ago by a large German ice cream producer, is a very compact case packing machine with base frame dimensions of 3000 x 1600 x 2450 mm (L x W x H) type SP-I-24-R(L) + PZ. The total length of the system including magazine and output belt is only about 4700 mm.
The case packer series, redesigned from the ground up, works in intermittent cycles and is able to handle a wide range of outer packaging and trays with glued or inserted lids as well as wrap-around variants and "American crates". It allows for formats ranging from 100 x 100 x 200 mm to 400 x 350 x 600 mm (A x W x H), with a very fast changeover time of 15 to 20 minutes. The output of the case packer – depending on the dimensions of the outer packaging – is maximum 25 units/min. The spacing division is 24" or about 610 mm.
The machine features a rustproof tubular frame design with an easy-to-clean, open layout and easy access to the components. Other special features include the servo-controlled drive technology in the case packer, in the supply and in the toothed belt linear axes. The outer packaging is carried along by a synchronous toothed belt that runs in parallel so it is supported along the entire conveyance route rather than being pushed along a sliding guide. Another noteworthy feature is the motor-driven blank magazine from which the standing carton blanks are supplied to the case packer with the aid of a vacuum filling system.
The products grouped together in the specially adapted supply unit are pushed into the outer packaging after it has been erected to shape but with the dust flaps initially closed on both sides. Then the hot melt adhesive is applied and the top flaps are pressed down in two steps. Wrap-around blanks are pre-folded and glued diagonally, then the cover is pressed in place.
No conventional tank required
A tankless ProBlue Liberty 14 adhesive application system is used for gluing. This system was introduced to the market about 2 years ago by US-based Nordson Corporation with European headquarters in Erkrath, Germany. The most significant feature of the new technology is the absence of a conventional tank.
The core of the system is the melt section, which functions essentially like an instantaneous water heater. The reservoir has a reduced volume and only the amount of adhesive actually needed is kept at processing temperature. Melting only what is actually required allows for significantly shorter heating up and flow-through times, thereby providing significant savings in energy costs. According to the manufacturer, intervals have been reduced from up to 90 minutes to about 30.
As indicated by its type designation, the device used by Econo-Pak has a melting capacity of 14 kilograms per hour. The ProBlue Liberty series also includes the model 7, which has a capacity of seven liters as indicated by the model number. An integrated sensor monitors the fill level and reports when adhesive is required.
The granulate is supplied automatically from a 120-liter storage tank. A 240-liter version is optionally available in Nordson's product range. It has the additional advantage of multiple supply. Up to four conveying hoses can be connected if necessary. A powerful pump mounted on the storage tank that works based on the Venturi principle ensures problem-free conveyance of the hot melt. An integrated sequencer also receives a signal reporting a low fill level and defines the order in which hot melt will reach the melters.
In this specific case five pneumatic MiniBlue II Slim Line type applicators are used to apply the adhesive. The heat-insulated dispensing guns are equipped with a ball-and-seat module and operate with a minimum switching time of two milliseconds. Depending on what type of hot melt is used, they can reach a service life of more than 100 million switching cycles.
A fundamental advantage of the ProBlue Liberty system is its enclosed nature, which eliminates dirt, dust and other accumulations. Problems with cracking and clogged nozzles are largely eliminated. This is also due in part to the high-quality adhesive that is used. All standard commercial hot melts in granulate form can be used.
Also worth noting is the increased workplace safety ensured by the innovative application system. Because hot melt is now supplied automatically instead of manually, the risk of burn injuries – unavoidable with conventional tank devices – is completely eliminated. Overfilling and spilling of the adhesive are also eliminated.
Compact case packer SP-I-24-R(L) + PZ from Econo-Pak with a ProBlue Liberty 14 hot melt application system from Nordson
Outer packaging is glued with the aid of five pneumatic MiniBlue II Slim Line applicators
Working closely together in the field of end-of-line adhesive technology: Markus Zerbe (left), National Sales Manager at Econo-Pak GmbH, and Christian Schwär, Sales Manager of OEM Packaging for German-speaking countries at Nordson Deutschland GmbH