A recurring theme of new-product introductions at PACK EXPO is machinery that reduces operational footprint and improves efficiencies. A new machine from Pregis Corp. fills the bill; its new hybrid cushioning system, the AirSpeed® HC Versa unit, offers a smaller footprint and increased versatility for contract packagers, fulfillment houses, and third-party logistics companies, explains Josephine Fish, Pregis vice president of marketing and program management.
The AirSpeed HC Versa can handle roll widths of 12 inches, 24 inches, and 32 inches. It also can produce three different cell heights: 3/4 inch, 1 inch, and 1 1/4 inches, with typical perforation presets at every 6 and 12 inches.
"The new AirSpeed HC Versa has a reduced profile which enables the unit to be placed in locations where space is at a premium," Fish says. "It's versatile for various packer work cell configurations. The machine design is 60% smaller than for our current machine."
Hybrid cushioning differs from traditional void-fill pillows because it features multiple air chambers in a horizontal and vertical pattern versus one large cell. Flat, perforated rollstock is mounted onto the AirSpeed unit, which creates rows of small, air-filled pockets as the air is transferred between the individual chambers. In previous units, the rollstock was mounted inside the dispenser head housing. The new, compact design positions the roll externally, creating placement flexibility.
"Not only have we been able to engineer a space-saving unit, but we have also added to its capabilities while still retaining industry-leading 75 feet/min speeds," adds Evan Everett, general manager, packaging systems, at Pregis.
Another benefit, Fish says: the AirSpeed is intuitive to learn and operate, a plus for contract packagers, which often staff their production lines with temporary workers.