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Douglas Invex™ high performance for low volume case packing

An interview with Joe Faust, Electrical Engineering Manager, Douglas Machine, on the company’s entry into the low volume case/tray packing market.
FILED IN:  Machinery  > Case packing
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PA: What is the market strategy behind the Invex™ case/tray packer?

Faust: Douglas customers expect a lot from a Douglas machine. They expect durabiliity—machines that last more than 20 years. They expect low maintenance costs; quicker changeovers, time between different pack patterns, and different product sizes in minutes -- not hours or days.

With the new Invex™ machine, we’ve made servo technology available on a low cost machine to meet the demands of our customers. We’ve taken out parts, reduced our manufacturing costs, reduced our time testing by using modular software, and we’ve reduced the size of the machine. . .

PA: Why did Douglas decide to work with ELAU on this breakthrough machine?

Faust: Douglas chose ELAU because their software development approach allowed us to easily migrate all of the features that are available on our high performance Axiom® machines to the Invex. These include the increased diagnostics that are available on the Axiom, the reduced changeover time and the smooth electronic motions that are available on the Axiom.

PA: How did ELAU perform as a supplier?

Faust: Working with ELAU on the Invex machine has just been a breeze. They were involved from early on in the concepting stage, through the design engineering stage, all the way through to testing and debugging here at Douglas for two weeks; and, for a new machine to come up— ground zero, new program, new concept— and start and run in two weeks is a real feat

Compared to other automation suppliers, Elau offers us a more modular solution

PA: Why is modularity important?

Faust: The Douglas vision of modularity is two-fold. First it’s a mechanical module—an infeed, a main and a lane divider that make up the machine. And on the next level it’s modular software.

The modularity on this machine gives us an advantage in the marketplace. We were able to bring the machine to market in a shorter time frame. Modules, physical modules, can be built parallel and then put together at the very end. Modules can be tested independently one from another.

PA: Is a modular machine also more maintainable once installed?

Faust: The Invex machine has advanced diagnostics that allow the maintenance staff to pinpoint a problem and rectify the situation more readily, reducing downtime.

In addition, electronic motion controls replace a lot of pneumatics on Invex -- reducing the maintenance costs, and reducing the noise and the wear and tear on the machine, making it more available for production.

PA: How would you summarize the benefits of the Invex case/tray packer?

Faust: We’ve incorporated features from our Axiom, all-servo machine, into the Invex. This helps our customers meet the requirements of quicker changeover, reduced manufacturing costs, quicker time to market and low production volumes, for example, to get a niche product out quicker.

For more information in Invex, visit www.douglas-machine.com.

For more information on ELAU, visit www.elau.com.

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