LAS VEGAS — Senior Writer Bob Luder compiled the following news items from the show floor at Pack Expo on Oct. 5-6. This is the first of two parts; companies listed alphabetically A through K.
Pleasanton, Calif.-based Adept Technology Inc. has received U.S. Department of Agriculture acceptance for its Adept Quattro s650HS Robot for moving product quickly and accurately. The machine has applications for meat and poultry in the U.S. but has been used in produce in Australia.
Anduro Manufacturing, Atlanta, used Pack Expo to roll out what it calls its BOPP packaging, which stands for biaxally-oriented polypropylene packaging. The company has branded the packaging Durofab, and it contains, among other qualities, plenty of photographic space for marketing opportunities.
Angela O'Connor, saleswoman, said the packaging material is 10 times stronger than paper and is water resistant and puncture proof.
"It's a very low-cost packaging option," O'Connor said.
O'Connor said Anduro can customize graphics on the bags and doesn't have big minimums, so that small companies can compete on the same level as large ones.
Erik Brainard, general manager of Anritsu Industrial Solutions USA Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill., said there was some good buzz around Pack Expo surrounding his company's X-ray machine applications for fresh produce, especially detecting small vegetables that pick up tiny bits of stone and glass.
"They're mostly selling in Japan," Brainard said. "They're very food safety oriented over there."
In the U.S., Brainard said the machines have been used mostly with frozen fruit and packaged fruit.
"Our X-ray machines have increased in accuracy over the last year," Brainard said. "Increased accuracy, and they've been designed to make them more sanitary."
Arpachefestus, Schiller Park, Ill., displayed its variety of machines that takes trays of produce and other products and packages them with a technology the company likes to call "shelf-life boosting."
The machines use modified atmosphere packaging techniques which utilize inert gases to push oxygen out of the packaging, sealing it for freshness. The machine is completely vacuumless, so delicate perishables are not harmed.
For example, the company states the shelf life of a package of raspberries can be extended 15 days.
Company president Greg Levy said the technology can reduce oxygen in the packaging down to less than 0.5%.
The machine can run at about 15 cycles per minute and costs about $85,000, Levy said.
Automated Packaging Systems, Santa Fe Springs, Calif., introduced a new machine called the FAS Revolution that takes pre-formed bags, runs them through a printer, fills the contents and heat seals them.
The machine can run at 100-150 cycles per minute depending on the size of the packaging, said Bart Johnson, area sales manager.
The machine, with printer, runs about $75,000, Johnson said, and stainless steel so can be easily washed down. Johnson added the machine can be changed over from product line to product line in about three minutes, greatly reducing down time.
Automated Packaging also introduced its Side Pouch bags, complete with tamper evident strips and zipper locks with a 3/8-inch bar seal.
"We're packaging grapes now," Johnson said. "And, we're doing celery in the field."
CHEP USA, the Orlando-based wooden pallet management company, used Pack Expo to talk more about its Portfolio Plus customer facing Web portal.
"I like to say it's kind of like online banking for pallets," said Sheila Farrier, manager of communications. "It's a great tool to give customers more visibility into an account, more information. We've had great feedback from customers. We find out what their needs are and meet them the best we can."
Clear Lam Packaging Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., showcased several varieties of its biodegradable packaging for fresh produce.
The company introduced a tamper-evident container with no shrink band. The lid must be broken to get into the package. When sealed, it also will hold water.
The company also has it Bag Plus, developed with Salinas, Calif.-based Taylor Farms, that comes with conformed designed inserts that can hold multiple items within the packaging. The Dual Snap protein and produce tray is a Safeway-branded product on the West Coast.
Clear Lam also showcased fruit cups that come with collapsible utensils.
Paris-based Coldpack, with U.S. offices in San Diego, introduced packaging with trapped air chambers that could keep packaging contents at a controlled temperature.
"It insulates as well as Styrofoam without the environmental impact," said Don Archer, key account executive. "And it saves 96% space on the warehouse floor."
That's because the Coldpack packaging is fully collapsible until it's blown up during packing.
"It's a huge space saver and a green product," Archer said. "It's 65% of the carbon footprint of Styro and half of the overall environmental impact."
Vancouver, Wash.-based Columbia Machine Inc. introduced its FL 2000, a 20-case-per-minute palletizer.
"We used a machine similar to this with potatoes, fresh spinach, with plastic totes," said Jeff Sanger, service supervisor. "We've used this to stack boxes of apples. Some companies down south are doing boxes of tomatoes.
Eagle Packaging Machinery LLC, Miami, introduced its Vassoyo Air pneumatic tray erector, a machine that makes trays for fresh produce. Vassoyo Air automatically erects and glues virtually any type of tray and is designed for quick changeover. It pulls a blank from the hopper and feeds it through a set of rollers, applying glue. The blank then is pushed through corner folders, forming the tray.
"We're competitively priced," said Frank Milone, vice president of engineering. "They're solid machines built in America. They're flexible, easy to change and last for years with minimum maintenance."
Highlight Industries Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich., showcased its Predator SS optional trident film delivery system. The machine uses three roller heads to apply film and can be adjusted to accommodate 20-inch film, 20-inch netting or a combination of both, said Kurt Riemenschneider, president.
"There are three adjustable levels," he said. "Carriage position and film fingers can give infinite placement."
Riemenschneider said the cost of wrapping a pallet with the Predator SS is about 50 cents per pallet.
"It's good for anything that needs breatheability," he said. "Potatoes, onions, blueberries, apples - it's good for all those."
Columbus, Wis.-based Hughes Co. Inc. showcased its CIP System for clean-and-place green bean snippers.
The machines have an automated cleaning system which eliminates labor. It also contains a new, four-piece disk that slips over the shaft, taking what used to be a 2- or-3-hour job and cutting it to 5-10 minutes.
In the past year, Jeff Powell became the new owner of Hughes Co.
Bakersfield, Calif.-based Ingersoll Rand displayed its environment management systems, or EMS, which uses electric currents to break down oxygen molecules into an inert gas that destroys and eliminates bacteria.
"It's for cleaning everywhere meat or produce are stored or procured," said Bruce Bair, sales principal. "And, we're doing it completely electronically, without chemicals."
The EMS system basically uses electric impulses to split oxygen molecules into what the company calls oxygen singlets, which act as sanitizers for any pathogens. Air is pulled into a filter, run through a chamber where electric particles split the molecules and released as reactive oxygen.
"In tests that have been done, in a few hours, the biolevel has gone from unacceptable to less than 100 colony-forming units per square meter, when that count typically is 800-900 or more," Bair said.
Bair said the purified air, in addition to making food safer to eat, can extend shelf life. A typical unit runs about $18,000 installed and covers about 60,000 cubic feet of space, he said.
Intelligrated showcased its Alvey 951 palletizer.
"It's taking technology that would be for corrugated boxes and taking it to crate handling," said Martin Clark, director international business development and marketing of the Mason, Ohio-based firm. "It lines up crates properly, makes them stable so that they won't fall apart."
The machine also has a robotic application with a self-centering device to make sure crates are picked up and placed squarely on a pallet.
Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash., showcased its SmartArm vibratory performance monitor, a wireless transmitter which can monitor strokes and speeds of shaker machinery for fresh produce and other products.
"It just makes it more efficient to monitor equipment," said John Kadinger, program manager. "The system visually sets limits, and if the shakers go off limits, it sets off alarms."
That way, Kadinger said, customers can reduce maintenance costs by responding more quickly to problems and machinery can be monitored from a central location, save time for maintenance walk-throughs.
The SmartArm was released in late June and is available to existing shaker customers as well as new customers wanting to install new shaker units.
Knoll is a German company that used Pack Expo to display its variety of easy-flow pumps that can move delicate items such as fresh produce without any damaging effects. The technology has been used in German for several years, but is just now being introduced to the U.S., said Rainer Stettin, product manager.
The MX pumps come in five sizes and use water or another medium to move product. Everything is made of stainless steel, and all inside parts are made of materials approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Stettin said. Service is easy and the units come assembled.
Knoll's American headquarters is located in Detroit.
Yakima, Wash.-based Kwik Lok used Pack Expo to introduce its brand new Model 865A automatic bag closer, complete with a Model 897 air printer.
The bag closer is belt driven and twists the end of bags as they're run through the machine, applying plastic locks at the end. The printer, meanwhile, affixes ID and traceability information on the locks. The machine is equipped with a variable speed control that can close up to 80 packages per minute. It will close any package width without adjustments.
Chris Loehman, regional sales manager at Kwik Lok, said one of his company's ink-jet printers also can be mounted on the bag closer.