As part of the upgrade to Universal Foods' jar line the company sought to add a shrink bander that would apply and seal a clear tamper-evident shrink band over the metal screw cap.
Packaging engineer Bob LaJoice tells PW that Universal was close to buying a large shrink banding machine that cost in the neighborhood of $50. Then on the floor of a packaging trade show LaJoice saw a relatively small shrink band applicator from Marburg Industries (Vista CA).
At the booth says LaJoice "They demonstrated that this thing would run four hundred a minute and I thought that was fantastic." After checking out the equipment running in a real production situation at a nearby plant he specified the machine for the new yeast line. It cost about $20 far less than the initial machine.
"It's small has high-speed capability it's reliable and it was inexpensive. What more could you want?" asks LaJoice.
The applicator itself is about the size of a microwave oven placed on end. As jars are conveyed into it a piece of 2-mil polyvinyl chloride film is cut from a continuous tube of layflat shrink film opened and positioned around the torqued screw caps. The jars then move through a small heat tunnel also supplied by Marburg that's about the size of a toaster. Because the jars are exposed to the heat so briefly it minimizes the impact on shelf life according to LaJoice.
After sealing the jars enter a Label-Aire (Fullerton CA) wraparound labeler with an integrated date-code imprinter from Norwood Marking Systems (Downers Grove IL). The two together represent a significant improvement over the line's previous labeler which required a worker to code batches of labels in a separate off-line process. That method was fraught with waste as labels were skipped or were printed too light or heavy. "This [Norwood] machine prints the same date code in the same place every time at speeds to one hundred a minute" says LaJoice.
The labeler itself applies wraparound p-s labels without incident says LaJoice. It's a standard p-s labeler: Jars enter the labeler the label's leading edge is adhered and the jars then rotate against a fixed side pad that tamps down the label.
"It's reliable works at high speeds and does the coding. It's a good machine" concludes LaJoice.