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Pneumatics can be an open and shut case

When speed and consistency are required in packaging applications, pneumatic components readily answer the call.

The ABSealer Maximum 522-GT can form and seal up to 17 cases per minute.

Who hasn't been frustrated at one time or another while attempting to assemble a banker's box or moving box? Which flap goes where? How can you tape one side while keeping the other side from falling apart? In the packaging industry, boxes have to be assembled in seconds, not minutes, and machines called case erectors are called upon to accomplish this task. The key to trouble-free case erecting is keeping the process simple. Fewer steps and moving parts mean fewer things can go wrong. A. B. Sealer Inc., of Beaver Dam, Wis., manufactures a line of case erectors that can erect up to 17 cases per minute, using pneumatics to keep things both simple and efficient.

To operate ABSealer's Maximum Series case erector, the operator fills a magazine that holds knocked down cases, then adjusts for case size. He then turns the ON switch, energizing the soft-start control and the PLC. A swing arm cylinder activates by moving towards the magazine, which pulls the knocked down cases with suction cups energized by vacuum generators. The arm swings back, opening and squaring the case. The case's rear minor flap is then lifted by a second pneumatic cylinder.

Once this sequence is finished, the formed case is conveyed onto a belt drive system by a model DGPL rodless cylinder from Festo Corp., Hauppauge, N.Y. The belt drive system forms the front minor and two major flaps, and the case then is sealed by hot glue or tape.

The machine, which runs at 90 psi, uses three pneumatic cylinders, two electric motors, and a PLC with three inputs.

Input switches are located on the rodless cylinder, and light up if they are working correctly. On the valve bank, where the PLC is located, inputs also light up if everything is in order. Otherwise, the operator resets the case erector by turning the machine off, then back on, and hitting the start button. The case erector has a seven step process, making it the simplest such machine on the market — other machines typically require 20 steps. A. B. Sealer president Paul Brey revealed, "If it wasn't for pneumatics, we would be dealing with electrical problems day in and day out."

The simplicity of ABSealer's machines also improves reliability and performance, as they use few moving parts. Brey believes, " Pneumatic technology is smoother and more efficient than mechanical processes."

The case erector was designed so that users of any skill level can operate it.

Not as easy as it seems
ABSealer officials say that sealing an empty case is far more difficult than sealing a full case. This is because a full case has weight which provides counter pressure on the tape head. An empty case has minimal counter pressure, and sealing with an ordinary tape head was problematic. The company had to design a special tape head to seal an empty or full case effectively and without major adjustments.

ABSealer Maximum Series case erectors have proven to handle the toughest applications in virtually every industry — from food and pharmaceutical to consumer and industrial products. Three standard case erector platforms are designed with simplicity, versatility, and ease of operation in mind. Individual customer specifications are easily incorporated in the machine platforms.

Click here for more information on A. B. Sealer.

Click here for information on Festo's DGPL rodless cylinders.

Beverage bottling gets faster

Milk, juice, and water bottling gets fresher and faster with the new air-tight, controlled-atmosphere UMR2000CB blow molding machine from Uniloy Milacron, Tecumseh, Mich. Designed for high-volume container manufacturing, it combines Uniloy's blow molding system with sterile blow air and an enclosed, pressurized clamp area. A Dominic Hunter brand air filter is sterilized by a steam procedure incorporated in the machine — enabling the containers to be produced and sealed in a controlled environment with bacteria-free blow air. Air comes from simple plant air, using an oilless compressor.

A proprietary mechanical sealing method at the end of the blowing cycle seals the container, entrapping sterile air inside the bottles until filling. According to Uniloy, the plastic begins to shrink when it is removed from the mold. If the container is simply sealed with a fixed volume of air, it will deform the container from the desired shape. Uniloy compensates for that smaller volume of air needed by mechanically deforming the container before it is removed from the mold.