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Article | December 31, 1996
Atrium earns an 'A' for bottle sealing
Induction sealing was so effective at three other plants that food supplement maker Atrium added a fourth machine at its new plant in Wautoma, WI. A fifth machine is expected shortly.
Late last year food supplement maker Atrium opened its newest manufacturing/ packaging facility in Wautoma WI. The plant produces the company's Atrium-brand tablets and capsules sold primarily to physicians and chiropractors. The 22 sq' Wautoma building houses three lines. And although the plant is still in start-up mode its automatic line produces between 10 and 15 bottles a day. (Two smaller lines handle limited production.) Critical to the automated line are a Pillar Technologies (Hartland WI) 2211-R induction cap sealer and a Deitz (Wall NJ) DABF2-108" capsule/tablet counter/filler. "We produce 500 or more different supplement products" says James Sommers president of the seven-year-old Coloma WI-based firm. "We operate six plants in Wisconsin and Illinois and we now have four Pillar sealing units. We've never experienced a problem with them" he responds when questioned about why he added the 2211-R at the new Wautoma plant. At Wautoma tablets are pressed and capsules are filled during processing. The Deitz machine then counts the appropriate amount of tablets and fills them into plastic or glass containers. Atrium relies on a variety of vendors and materials for the FDA-approved bottles. Filled bottles are capped with what Sommers refers to as a "J" cap that's supplied with a film/aluminum foil/film inner seal again supplied by multiple vendors. "The snap-cap includes a tear strip that works in conjunction with the induction seal to provide proof-positive tamper evidence" he points out. After caps are applied operators snap the closure onto the bottle which then passes under an induction coil that emits a magnetic field. The foil and plastic of the liner is heated with the bottom layer of film bonding to the lip of the bottle forming a hermetic seal. Induction sealing does not loosen the cap Sommers says so no retorquing is necessary. Besides the Atrium product line for professionals the firm also produces a Nutri-Pak line for health food stores and a Club-Nutri line for direct mail sales. For nearly all its products induction sealing is a vital part of the packaging process. "We induction seal about 75 percent of our products" says Sommers. "Only our smaller bottles that contain less than 100 cc are not induction sealed and that's because bottles that accommodate the J-cap are not yet available. We don't fill those bottles at Wautoma. At Atrium we've used Pillar machines for about four years and they've done quite a job for us." As further proof the company president tells PW "We'll soon add another Pillar sealer at Wautoma."
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