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Fleetguard's integrated solution

During Pack Expo Las Vegas held in late September, Pro Mach’s booth included a U-shaped packaging line that will be installed in December 2005 at Nashville, TN-based Fleetguard Inc., a leading provider of industrial filtration products.
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Pro Mach is the single-source provider for the highly automated new line used to case label and palletize Fleetguard’s wide range of industrial oil filters. Packaging World learned that the equipment had not been preassembled but was installed together as a complete line for the first time at the show (for further details see packworld.com/go/c151).

Fleetguard’s wide range of industrial oil filters vary in size and weigh from 2-lb to 5.3-lb each. The system uses equipment from Pro Mach divisions Wexxar Packaging Belcor Brenton Engineering and ID Technology. The system includes two robots provided by Brenton. One robot transfers the filters from infeed flights into the erected cases near the start of the line and a second robotic system at the end of the line palletizes the packed sealed and labeled cases.

Fleetguard engineer Philip Bryant says the Pro Mach line will increase line speeds from 23 to 50 filters per minute and improve ergonomics—a packed case can weigh 40 lb—yet use the same footprint as its previous system.

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The line starts with a Wexxar model 615T case erector that handles more than eight cases/min. The cases discharge onto a conveyor leading to a cell housing two Brenton robots. The first is a four-axis case-packing robot. The robot’s specialized tooling permits it to load the filters—supplied upright to the robot via two sets of servo-controlled indexing flights—six at a time to fill the case. Filled cases leave the cell where they are conveyed through a Belcor model 252 top sealer.

An ID Technology Swing Arm Tamp Labeler applies a label to the case side. The taped case is then conveyed around the curve of the U and back into the cell to the second Brenton robot this one for palletizing. The robot’s tooling includes vacuum cups that permit it to handle slipsheets after a pallet indexes from a supply magazine into the loading position. The Pro Mach booth production line included an Orion stretch wrapper after palletizing though this machine currently isn’t part of the Fleetguard installation because stretch wrapping is handled at a remote location in the plant.

“We are projecting $150 to $250 cost savings per year with an estimated payback in two years based only on ergonomic and labor savings” states Bryant. “The productivity increase is an additional financial benefit.” —Rick Lingle

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