(Nov. 24, 12:40 p.m.) CHICAGO — Automated Packaging Systems Inc., Streetsboro, Ohio, plans to add sealing capabilities to its FAS Sprint SidePouch machine in 2009.

“It’s the same concept, but sealing bags in a different way,” said Chris Rempe, senior product manager.

The company plans to pursue ideas related to vacuum-seal technology and is exploring the idea of a wider pass-through between the rails to make equipment easier to use for commodities such as grapes. The company displayed product upgrades at Pack Expo, Nov. 9-13 at McCormick Place.

One grower-shipper in California, Rempe said, is already using a customized Automated Packaging Systems machine on a slow-moving trailer in celery fields to quicken the harvesting process. The machine could do something similar for romaine lettuce as well, Rempe said.

FAS Sprint bagging technology, which launched in 2007, is specialized for packaging procedures requiring at least daily washdowns. It is now designed to process up to 120 bags a minute in continuous mode, or up to 80 bags a minute in intermittent mode.

The stainless steel machine features a load area that tilts 90 degrees to make all areas of the machine easily accessible for washing. The flipping of a single switch prepares the machine for washing.

The machine’s 10-inch touch control screen speeds changeover by storing and allowing recall of up to 50 jobs. It can also provide information on real-time system status, on-board diagnostics and job productivity statistics. A special auto thread feature also helps facilitate changeover.

FAS Sprint SidePouch also can process several kinds of bags, including closable zippers, sealable flaps, reinforced headers and tamper-evident perforations. SidePouch bags may be pre-printed with graphics, text and/or bar codes.

Automated Packaging Systems also used Pack Expo as a forum for discussion of its new, 10-color bag film printing technology.

The printing process, designed to add value to the company’s high-end color printing for its SidePouch and Autobag lines, features 10 printing stations to process the four primary colors and up to six other colors.

The new process, geared for high-resolution graphics, includes a video inspection system that searches for color imperfections.

Ohio’s Automated Packaging to improve system
The FAS Sprint SidePouch machine by Automated Packaging Systems Inc. launched in 2007 and has already undergone upgrades to achieve 120-bag-a minute capacity. Additional improvements on the way to make the equipment even more efficient and versatile, says Chris Rempe, the company's senior product manager.