Carton feeders illuminate GE Lighting lines

Four cartoning machines on two "Pro 80" light bulb packaging lines at General Electric Lighting's Winchester, VA, plant once required manual refilling of carton blanks every six minutes.

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Now the equipment holds 90 minutes' worth of blanks.

Added were four Rotopak multi-pocket carousel feeders from Fleetwood Systems (Romeoville, IL), on two lines. On each line, one Model 30C-2 Rotopak uses 30 vertical pockets to feed single-faced corrugated sleeves to a continuous-motion cartoner from Thiele (Minneapo<> lis, MN). The cartoner places two light bulbs into each sleeve. Each line also uses a Model 14C-2 Rotopak equipped with 14 vertical pockets. Each 14C-2 feeder supplies a separate intermittent-motion Thiele machine that loads two inner sleeves into an outer corrugated sleeve.

"In the past, our operators were captive to loading material on a short infeed," recalls plant engineer Mark Yonteff. "Now, with 90 minutes of accumulation, the operators benefit from reducing their risk of repetitive stress injuries, and our [Cleveland, OH-based] business benefits from increased productivity.

"We operate the lines 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he continues. "The Fleetwood equipment has been extremely reliable in this environment." Yonteff says that the Rotopaks, added about four years ago, generated a one-and-a-half-year payback.

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