Adhesive Dispensing Systems

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Multifunctional volume optimization in the carton erector

03 Sep 2018

Düsseldorf, Germany

Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of F+H Fördern und Heben 

To read the original, click here.

In parallel with the still rapidly growing online mail order business, efforts have intensified in recent years to adapt transport packaging as optimally as possible to the different sizes and quantities of goods. The aim of these efforts is not only to save carton materials and fillers, but also to make the best possible use of space and simplify the handling of the packages. With a volume-optimising carton erector including a flexible Nordson adhesion system, Steinbach-Errani GmbH has developed an interesting solution for such needs-based packaging.  

The detailed examination of the product flow reveals the refinements of the machine of the medium-sized end-of-line packaging specialist based in Langenfeld in the Rhineland. The cartons filled ready for dispatch according to customer orders – here the Fefco types 0452 and 0453, which are subsequently equipped with lids – automatically enter the system via an integrated conveyor system. As they all have the same basic dimensions but different standard heights, feeding is chaotic. 

A multifunction head controlled by a servomotor and with height adjustment now measures the fill level height of the products inside each container. Program logic is then used to decide whether a height reduction makes sense or not. If yes, the four carton flaps and the carton corners are cut accordingly using a system with movable knives, scorers and an external centring frame. The newly determined carton height is transmitted to the other system stations. The newly produced carton flaps are wrapped in the next station and glued at the corners with the aid of hotmelt.

Hotmelt dispensing guns with height adjustment

To ensure this flexibility, the hotmelt application system must also have a variable design. For example, the hotmelt dispensing guns are motorised to adapt to the defined carton heights. Pneumatic applicators from the MiniBlue II series of the US American adhesive technology provider Nordson Corporation, which has its European headquarters in Erkrath, are used here. 

The dispensing guns, which have won several awards, including a German Packaging Award, are now regarded as the industry standard. They have a minimum switching time of 2 ms and a long service life of more than 100 million cycles. The units are fed from melters from the proven ProBlue series.

Bonding the flaps of the cartons not only ensures that they are properly sealed, but also has the positive side effect of increasing both the load-bearing capacity and the rigidity of the outside packaging. In this way, it may be possible to reduce the quality of the corrugated board used.

The height-adjustable hotmelt dispensing guns are also used to glue the outside packaging on the long sides during subsequent transport to the lid station. As the adhesive is applied transversely on the lid - in this case the Fefco variant 0458 - this results in a very robust connection, which makes additional strapping unnecessary.   

Successful in use

Several of the SE carton erectors described have already been in continuous operation for some time with a large German shipper. The Steinbach-Errani volume optimiser is basically designed for carton dimensions between 300 x 200 x 200 mm and 600 x 400 x 400 mm (L x W x H). Of course the working speed varies depending on the tray size. As an example, an hourly output of 780 cartons measuring 600 x 400 x 160/260 mm is mentioned.

At the customer's request, the systems can be equipped with up to five lid magazines, which store blanks of the same size but with different prints. This is particularly important if a mail order company sells several labels. Depending on the magazine design, the lids can also be removed directly from the pallet or fed in manually.