Streamlining Production Through Integrated Solutions

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Streamlining Production Through Integrated Solutions

Streamlining Production Through Integrated Solutions
January 25
09:16 2018

By Michelle Newman, Bosch Packaging Technology (Kliklok International)

Increasing convenience and ensuring smooth operation is a top priority for suppliers of production line and packaging equipment. For products placed into cartons, integrated topload carton forming, loading and closing solutions can have a significant impact on line speed while utilizing minimal space. A large carton size range allows manufacturers to save production space and increase product output without compromising on quality.  With its recent successful introduction at this year’s interpack trade show, the Kliklok ITC (Integrated Topload Cartoner) provides the perfect answer.

Integrated for modernized operation 

Producers of confectionery, cereal bars, bakery products, and biscuits will benefit the most from this type of system, as its principal function is to form topload style cartons or trays and automatically load wrapped products into them, before closing if required. Single integrated solutions are available on the market today which perform these three main functions – carton forming, loading and closing. Combining these into one machine, enables manufacturers to reduce their production line footprint, avoiding the need to source and interlink three separate pieces of equipment and associated conveyoring.

Software and the way in which operators interact with a system have also evolved, with only one operator and one Human Machine Interface (HMI) being the ideal scenario. This enables productivity rates to be improved with less operator involvement. Increasing labor costs and the availability of qualified personnel has driven the demand for complete, easy-to-operate integrated systems – and suppliers have adapted to consumer demands as they focus on single-source solutions.

The next generation of intelligent human machine interfaces offer users an enhanced experience, guiding the operator through each step of the production process. With a clearly structured menu, operators are immediately aware of the machine status. With trouble-shooting support, the HMI significantly reduces the risk of unscheduled downtime and allows employees to minimize planned maintenance time. The ability to optimize production schedules for greater efficiency leads to a faster return on investment (ROI) and lowers overall total cost of ownership (TCO).

Forming a variety of carton styles

The Kliklok ITC offers the flexibility to change formats and run a variety of carton styles and products, be they flow wraps, roll wraps, or tablets. Cartons are fed using a reciprocating carton feeder, and are formed using a motion profiled vertical plunger. Either lock or glue cartons can be formed on the ITC, and four possible carton styles can be incorporated within a single or twin infeed model: three-flap carton with full flaps, three-flap carton with economy flaps, a single-flap carton or a tray.

Once the carton is formed, an intelligent transport system is used to carry it independently through the machine loading and closing module. This system provides flexible and variable configurable control of the carton to suit both loading and closing requirements, and is also comprised of minimal parts, reducing maintenance and increasing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

Robotic hand for high speeds

The next step is the automatic loading of products, which is an integrated function of the machine which uses proven robot technology. The appearance of this robot is similar to an inverted three-legged tripod. The three segments or “arms” which move independently of one another but share a common connection – the “robot hand”. This is moved by either extending or retracting one of the segments and enables the robots to reach every point within their range at the same speed at high accuracy. In contrast to conventional robots, they do not need to struggle against gravitational and inertial forces and are therefore capable of extremely high speeds. In addition, the robots used in ITC systems are able to track the carton transport system and load products ‘on the move’ – an advantage over 2-axis robots which can only load stationary cartons.

Closing section for appealing products

For the carton closing operation, simplified lugless designs can eliminate carton carrying lugs, driven chains, mechanical transfers and timing flaps. Instead, the closing section uses easily replaceable high-friction belts to quietly convey cartons out of the machine, effectively reducing any carton marking and product damage.

Customized services for all maintenance strategies

Working with a reputable supplier with an extensive maintenance network is vital to today’s manufacturing operations. Downtime is the enemy and production schedules are ever more intense. The focus, therefore, is shifting to solutions for preventive maintenance as well as services to eliminate unwanted machine conditions as quickly as possible.

Thanks to remote service options, customers can now receive targeted support regardless of their location, in addition to a wide range of assistance solutions. Virtual training concepts are also coming to the fore, enabling manufacturers to acquire demand-oriented know-how for machine operation and maintenance. Preventive Maintenance Parts Kits and tailor-made maintenance agreements can help to proactively minimize unplanned downtime, which ultimately can only have a positive effect on profit margins.

About the author

Michelle Newman is a marketing manager and sales support at Kliklok International, now part of Bosch Packaging Technology. She works as part of an internal sales team to ensure the efficient management of each sales project and holds the marketing function.

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