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Avail's upgrades up close

What did Avail Medical get for its $180ꯠ investment—comprising all costs including shipping—in its most recent machine improvements for a vertical form/fill/seal machine? In short, plenty.
FILED IN:  Controls  > Strategy
Lint is removed from the six-across pad material as it passes beneath a horizontal vacuum tube just before it is cut, folded andEight photo sensors were added to the machine including this one that reads the registration mark on the preprinted film.

The latest upgrades were made in 2001 by Cartpac (Carol Stream IL) to the 1985 vintage machine which had previously been rebuilt by Cartpac in 1998.

The newly refurbished machine housed within an isolated area at Avail’s Dallas TX plant has the following new Cartpac-added features:

  • Unwind dancer slitter and folder/inserter for the nonwoven material.

  • Rack assembly for film and three contact coders. The vendor provided the racks but Cartpac mounted them to the side of the machine.

  • Perforation stations that allow for separation of the packets and notching stations for easy packet opening.

  • Seal-quenching station.

  • Human-machine interface from Eason (Healdsburg CA). Equipped with a touchscreen the movable boom-mounted Model 2750 panel has “everything but temperature controls” says Avail mechanical engineer John Quay. It is primarily used to direct the servo-driven positioning of the filling tubes and packaging materials in 1/100-inch increments. It also counts the number of cycles and packets produced. It runs using Eason’s WinBuild 2000 software in a Windows point-and-click environment.

    Other component updates include two more servo motors and drives from MTS Automation (New Ulm MN)--added to two that had been installed in '98--along with eight Tri-Tronics (Tampa FL) optical sensors. Two are Smarteye® Mark II sensors one used for main registration of the laminate web the other used for registration that prompts the three thermal-transfer printers into action. Six Opti-Eye® fiber optic sensors one per lane are used to confirm that a pad has been inserted into the packet. Bad packets are tracked and rejected.

    In addition to these Cartpac engineered additions Quay designed a venturi tube that uses suction to remove the edge scrap from the pad material and from the laminate film. It pulls the lengthy strands through tubing and into a filter-equipped barrel.

    See main article:

    Poucher evolves to meet Avail’s needs

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