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Italian OEMs come on strong

Aggressive PACK EXPO 2004 presence shows why imports of packaging machinery from Italy to the U.S. were up 11.6% in 2003.

OEMs in Italy innovate US packaging machine buyers reciprocate

According to the Italian packaging machinery association UCIMA U.S. packagers bought €279 million ($357 million at an exchange rate of $1.28 per euro) last year. That’s an increase of 11.6% over the previous year despite a weak dollar and an only gradually recovering U.S. economy.

Nor was Italy’s growth limited to the U.S. Italy exported 82% of its machinery production but its domestic sales also improved at the same time that the country’s imports of packaging machines dipped. Its export sales grew in other developing markets such as China even as U.S. exports have continued to lose ground.

According to UCIMA’s 2003 summary report (downloadable as a pdf file at its members’ reasons for success are four-fold:

“a.they added state-of-the-art electronics technologies to the already existing

mechanical technologies;

b. they followed market trends offering complete packing and wrapping lines with increasing frequency rather than individual machines;

c. they made an enormous effort in research and development in several strategic areas:

new solutions to satisfy an increasingly complex and selective demand structure;

environment-friendly innovative packing and wrapping materials;

d. they internationalised: through service centres linked to local affiliates and

agents assisted by specialised technicians;

post-sales service centres; and significant attention devoted to communication.

These measures were taken by large medium and even many small enterprises.”

Benefits to U.S. packagers

Stiff competition for packaging machinery sales virtually guarantees careful machinery specifiers of receiving good value for their investments. Because even as Gen3 machinery from Europe gains ever more ground U.S. OEMs are consciously rising to the challenge (see the article New Sentry Machines “meet the needs of the marketplace without going overseas”)

Nevertheless Italy’s leading machine builders are not standing still. Following are just a few examples of advanced designs they’ll be bringing to PACK EXPO International 2004.

ACMA GD (Booth S-1225) ACMA GD is the world leader in confectionary soap and detergent wrapping and cartoning machinery and high speed flow-packing systems. All these types of packaging machinery are equipped with ELAU’s PacDrive automation system integrating the functions of motion and PLC.

ACMA GD’s Liquid Division introduces a new 500 bpm labeling machine equipped with servo-driven bottle platforms. Using virtual cams instead of homing sensors ELAU’s PacDrive system allows instantaneous adjustment for an infinite number of bottle orientations and decorations. ACMA’s all-new 2KC ELECTRON servo capper leverages this flexibility and PacDrive SCL servo technology (see the article Pleasant surprises from new liquid packaging servo).

Optima Group’s Amotek Srl (N-4628) will exhibit its Model X1 automatic bagging machinery featuring advanced technology and infeed systems for reliable easy operation regardless of product type or shape. The reel-fed machines are suitable for various styles of PE and PP films. Amotek equips most of its machines with ELAU’s PacDrive system.

B.L. Macchine Automatiche (E-7510) offers turnkey systems and engineering services. Their machinery includes net weight scales f/f/s baggers for granular powder and liquid materials; high- and low-fed palletizers; wrappers; case packers; tray/box formers; and stretch and shrink hooding machines. B.L. uses PacDrive to meet demanding pharmaceutical and cosmetic end-of-line applications.

The IMA Group (E-7713) is one of the firms that as UCIMA cites as a success factor presents a complete range of packaging machines. The End of Line Division automates most of their machines with ELAU’s PacDrive. At Pack Expo IMA will introduce a new top loading BFB CPV15 case-packing machine (15 cases/minute) and the innovative BFB AC60 single and collator overwrapping machine (60 cartons/minute).

Martini S.r.l. (represented by Frazier & Son N-5517) produces industrial plants for the transport weighing and packaging of dry powdered frozen and snack foods. Featured machinery will include servo-driven vertical and horizontal f/f/s machines reaching speeds of 100-110 bags/minute equipped with PacDrive systems.

Romaco (S-2847) will exhibit its Promatic Cartoner P91 an intermittent motion cartoner capable of running up to 100 cpm designed for reliability flexibility and operator ergonomics. Main features include full balcony GMP design simple size changeovers positive force carton opening servo-assisted main motion and product introduction and easy graphical troubleshooting from the touch screen operator panel. Romaco machines use ELAU’s PacDrive automation system.

Ronchi Mario Spa (Ronchi America E-7436) will exhibit the new EXACTA Flow Meter based Filling and Servo Capping Monoblock style multi-turret machinery. The Filler features new generation E&H Flow Meters and the Capper incorporates the latest ELAU servo driven spindles capable of applying snap screw or oriented caps integrated to an Omron vision system.

SIG Beverages North America (N-4632) covers the entire value chain in beverage packaging technology in synergy with SIG Alfa (labelers) SIG Simonazzi (filling and packaging systems) and SIG Corpoplast (stretch blow-molders). Electronic fillers labelers and other motion capabilities are developed in cooperation with ELAU.

SIG Simonazzi designs and manufactures machines and complete beverage filling and packaging systems for plastic and glass bottles and cans. Products include fillers aseptic systems rinsers bottle washers pasteurizers mixers palletizers/depalletizers conveyors & automation.

SIG Alfa’s new self-adhesive bottle labeler uses ELAU’s PacDrive software camming capability to automatically match different bottle shapes to label requirements. Machines installed at Alberto Culver (USA) Mount Tauch (France) and the latest in June 2004 at ABG (USA) all feature 16 PacDrive servo axes and 4 labeling groups (see the article SIG servo labeler adds flexibility).

Zucchini Macchine Automatiche (E-7329) offers top-loading robotized case packing lines with speeds up to 30 cpm; turnkey systems complete with case packers palletizers and robots; side case packers; wrap-around bottom/lidder formers; and former/closers for large and small cases. ELAU’s PacDrive automates the majority of Zucchini systems.

These examples are just a few of many progressive machine builders from Italy’s so-called “packaging valley” that will descend on Chicago’s McCormick Place in November. This report will be updated as additional suppliers submit their show plans.

[This is a sponsored article from the supplier listed below.]

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