Though the U.S. has standardized on mainly one pallet size, this is not the case in Europe, where manufacturers are dealing with a much broader range of pallets. With this in mind, Ska Fabricating has introduced an international configuration of its Microbus depalletizer—now able to handle six of the world’s common pallet sizes.
Like the original Microbus launched earlier this year in the U.S. and Canada, the International Microbus, making its debut at PACK EXPO International, is a semi-automatic empty-can depalletizer that features a manual hand crank to raise the pallet carriage and an automatic belt sweep that advances cans onto a rotary table prior to rinsing and filling. Capable of speeds up to 30 CPM, the portable depalletizer is optimized for lower-speed applications in the smallest of spaces.
“This is a good fit for really small companies because it folds up and can be tucked away,” says Jake Kolakowski, chief customer officer for Ska Fab. Both the rotary infeed table and the automated sweep can be folded and locked down for storage after canning runs. This reduces the footprint of the already small machine to about half its full size, which is much needed in many small craft brew facilities, Kolakowski notes. “These places are so packed in, they don’t have a lot of space to work with,” he says.
Acquisition takes Ska into new markets
Ska Fab is also showcasing the fruits of its acquisition early this year of GR-X Manufacturing, which specializes in depalletizing and palletizing equipment systems for consumer products and food and beverage industries. Though both companies play firmly in the palletizing/depalletizing space, there is very little overlap in their market segments.
With the acquisition of GR-X, Ska Fab has expanded its capabilities into nearly all verticals of the packaging market, including a wider range of industries, container types, and line speeds. Ska Fabricating, which has its roots in the craft beer segment, has been present primarily in beverage cans. While GR-X has some machines for cans, the focus there has been on plastic, glass, aerosol, and other types of containers.
Merging the two brands should open new markets for Ska and should also help to provide food plants with a higher level of automation, Kolakowski says, providing solutions for salsa jars, canned goods, and other formats in the food and beverage industry.
In its booth at PACK EXPO, Ska Fab is showing GR-X’s Full Height Automatic (FHA) 3000 Depalletizer, which supports flexible configurations with its multiple discharge, decline, and pallet loading conveyor options. The FHA 3000 can unload a wide range of container types, including plastic containers, aluminum cans, and fiberboard tubes, with a lift capacity up to 1,000 lb.