Hey, it’s Packaging Week on Craft Brewing Business. We had some great features this week on trends on the show floor, new technology in Crowlers and can handles and then three broad takeaways from the show. Below is a roundup of other notable solutions making their debut at the expo.
WSI Global announces XpressPack Automatic Case Packer
Ideal for for running high volumes in a single-layer, single-row configuration, WSI Global debuted the XpressPack automatic case packer at Pack Expo, specially designed to run high volumes of medium-to-large size cartons in a single-layer, single-row configuration.
XpressPack’s high speed operation handles up to eight to 10 cases per cycle. It is ideal for the beverage market, particularly soda and beer. The XpressPack is perfect for standard five-panel folded carton, glue-end styles. Designed for simple setup and changeovers, the XpressPack can accommodate carton sizes ranging from 8-inches wide by 8-inches long through 24-inches wide by 28-inches long. Special machines for other sizes can be custom-engineered.
Depending upon customer needs, the pusher setup can be ordered with left-side push, right-side push, end-seam push or a combination of packing modes. For completely automated applications, the XpressPack is used with a case positioner and a corrugated case erector that automatically places pre-erected corrugated cases in a packer.
Options and add-ons
The XpressPack is available in electric format with servo motors or with a hydraulic system. It is customizable to meet individual factory setup preferences. Add-ons include the WSI carton turning system for reversing glue flap orientation prior to packing, the air-skate lift kit for easily moving the packer off-line and dual controls.
Heavy-duty welded steel frame construction provides durability and long life, while the dual vector drives eliminate clutch-brake system. The XpressPack uses plug-in wiring connections for easier hydraulic maintenance and an Allen-Bradley PLC to control all operating sequences. It features pneumatically operated surge gates for higher speeds and quick setup hand cranks with Siko mechanical indicators at key locations.
New craft beer solution from T.H.E.M.
Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing (T.H.E.M.) is a leading North American provider of single-serve flexible packaging solutions, and the exclusive North American representative for Sanko Machinery Co. At Pack Expo, it featured a new, high-performance machine:
The Snapsil is a single serve technology that T.H.E.M. supports across a variety of applications, which includes alcoholic beverages. Snapsil’s semi-rigid pouches and blister packs feature a patented audible “snap-opening” function that allows consumers to open the package with one hand.
Applications for single-serve
T.H.E.M. supports its exclusive North American Snapsil partnership with product evaluation, testing and commercialization services. The company recently provided contract packaging support for the introduction of a line of innovative craft beer from the Foxboro Brewing Co. using Snapsiln technology. The four varieties of beer concentrate are available in 50-milliliter packs that produce a ready-to-drink 12-ounce beverage when combined with 10 ounces of carbonated water.
Much like the broader food and beverage sector before it, the alcohol products category is beginning to embrace the advantages of single-serve, and T.H.E.M. has been preparing accordingly. Indicative of this is the recent approval of the company’s food facility in Marlton, N.J., by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for the storage, packaging and distribution of alcohol-based products.
T.H.E.M. was founded in 1973 as one of the first providers of innovative packaging solutions in North America. Head here for more information.
New can handles from Roberts PolyPro
Roberts PolyPro, powered by Pro Mach, utilized advanced design tools and the rapid prototyping capabilities of 3D printers to develop eye-catching, can carrying handles for 2-, 4- and 6-packs of craft beer. Smaller breweries can opt to hand apply the handles and later, as sales increase, invest in a Roberts PolyPro applicator.
The handles are an affordable and flexible option for packing craft brews. In addition, the Roberts PolyPro handles consume 30 percent less plastic than old style handles without compromised holding strength.
The handles are available in any Pantone Matching System (PMS) color. Brewers will choose a vibrant PMS color that most attractively complements the can’s graphic design. These new high-density polyethylene (HDPE) handles are 100 percent recyclable. On outings, the handles can be reapplied to cans for convenient carrying home to refrigerators for unopened cans or to recycling bins for empties. The handles allow the cans to be closely stacked for efficient packing.
“Tabs that push to hold and lift to remove give the new handles their distinctive appearance,” said Richard Brothers, product manager at Roberts PolyPro. “We know that craft brewers want to convey distinctiveness. We designed these new handles with that intent. When people view these handles, their first reaction is to reach out and examine them. What better way to capture product attention on crowded store shelves?”
For more information on the new 2-, 4- and 6-pack can handles for craft beer and other lower volume canning operations, head here.
Axon shows off new shrink sleeve technology
Axon, powered by Pro Mach, introduced three new shrink sleeve and tamper evident machines and a compact energy efficient steam tunnel at Pack Expo in Chicago.
Each new machine delivers performance, reliability, flexibility and easy use. These product introductions are the latest in a series of technology innovations begun two years ago as strategic initiatives to take shrink sleeve and tamper evident technology to new levels of productivity.
The SLX with thin-film
The new SLX full body sleeve and tamper evident applicator, built to PackML standards, is designed specifically for high-speed production.
The SLX applicator features the new Rockwell CompactLogix 5380 PLC, a Rockwell 5500 HMI and five different servo motors. The SLX also has a new patent-pending, high-precision SLT film-delivery system, with an improved web tension system for superior film control and a new digital-format monitoring system for quick, error-free changeover.
The SLX is capable of handling film thicknesses from 25 to 70 microns. At Pack Expo, the SLX demonstrated full-body sleeve application at production speeds greater than 800 bottles per minute utilizing 30-micron film. The SLX will also feature Axon’s optional full machine lighting system that enhances operator productivity and further reduces downtime.
Axon EZ-150SL – speed and affordability
The new Axon EZ-150SL offers value for those looking for a rugged, dependable sleeve applicator capable of speeds up to 150 bottles per minute. This applicator is ideal for those new to automation, such as craft breweries, or labeling operations looking to step up to a higher level of production. With its color touchscreen HMI, the EZ-150SL is simple to operate. With a robust, stable stainless steel frame and servo-controlled film feeding and cutting system, it will perform in tough production environments. Stainless steel and servo systems are features typically only available on much higher priced machines.
Axon EX-200He optimized for frequent changeovers
The new EZ-200He is an updated version of Axon’s popular EZ-200 applicator, with a new energy-efficient electronic actuator designed to reduce changeover time and energy consumption. The EX-200He is easy to use and maintain. System settings for each application format, for example, are stored as recipes and are quickly accessible via a color touch screen HMI. Single head models apply up to 70 sleeves per minute, while two head units double the output to up to 140 sleeves. Like the EZ-150SL, the EZ-200He includes features normally only found on much higher priced machines.
The ThermoFlow compact and energy efficient shrink tunnel
The ThermoFlow is a new, compact, self-contained shrink system that features a 15-psi low pressure steam generator and condensate collection system. The ThermoFlow easily adjusts the amount of steam appropriate for the size of container to minimize energy consumption, and it offers quick tool-less changeovers for maximizing throughput. The cantilevered design of the ThermoFlow provides easy access to tunnel components for trouble-free installation and maintenance. ThermoFlow is built for years of service with a rugged frame and stainless steel construction.
For more information on any of these, visit the Axon website.