EcoPAC Baler Case Study
Precision AirConvey Case Study: Consumer Products Manufacturer
March 8, 2012
Global Consumer Products Manufacturer Automatically Densifies
Label Waste Into Baled Bags
New “Bale-in-a-Bag” EcoPAC Baler from Precision AirConvey Helps Unleash Production
A global consumer products manufacturer had embarked on an automation program at a label printing plant as part of a plan to boost capacity without incurring a corresponding increase in costs. The plant produces more than 440 different, mostly transparent labels for some of the company’s most renowned consumer products, manufacturing more than 500 million labels annually. Its equipment lineup features two combination flexo-rotary screen presses, a Martin butt splicer and turret rewinder and a high speed, automated trim system from Precision AirConvey to capture and evacuate the high volume of waste these high capacity presses produce in 24/7 operation. This impressive level of production represents an increase of more than 100% compared to five years ago when much of the equipment was operated manually and the line required frequent stoppages to rewind label matrix waste and change rolls. Each ten-minute stoppage translates to four full hours of downtime every day.
Though automating matrix removal and other steps in the process eliminated these costly shutdowns and allowed the presses to run uninterrupted, the increased production also generated considerably larger volumes of waste material. This matrix waste, after being cut into confetti-like pieces, was discharged into open, corrugated boxes. When filled, the boxes were manually hauled 500 feet through the facility to a dumpster, leaving behind a trail of dust and tiny pieces of film with each trip. Increasing production to upwards of 200,000 feet of material per day simply overwhelmed the manual waste handling system. In fact, the boxes were filling up so fast that the waste became a physical obstacle to the operation of the rest of the equipment.
In need of a solution, the company’s veteran print manager investigated a variety of balers, compactors and other waste handling systems but each one required sacrificing
precious warehouse space to accommodate the large footprints of the heavy machinery. The manager wanted to contain everything within the print department and keep the handling and transfer at a minimum for cleanliness and efficiency but was unable to find a solution that would fit in the available area at price that could be justified internally. Enter the automated trim system supplier Precision AirConvey (PAC). The Newark, Delaware-based manufacturer of trim and waste handling machinery had recently developed an automated solution for managing large volumes of trim and label matrix waste that works as a companion to its trim systems. Having received highly favorable reports on the PAC trim system after two years in continuous operation at the plant, CEO Tom Embley and his engineering team were eager to present their new approach for managing waste from printing, packaging, converting and other types of production systems.
PAC engineers devised a system called the EcoPAC Baler. Replacing the manual, open, corrugated box approach, the EcoPAC Baler automatically collects the waste material from the matrix waste removal system. Then, using a proprietary rotary action, it densifies the waste into a tight cube. When the door is opened to reveal this cube, it is already contained inside a neat plastic bag and set atop a standard pallet for easy handling via lift truck or pallet jack. This “bale-in-a-bag” approach offers a clean, self-contained baling system that keeps pace with virtually any conceivable production rate and reduces staff involvement in waste handling while preventing the label waste and any dust from escaping into the plant environment. Once per day, a worker simply sets a pallet on the bottom, puts in a bag liner and at the end of the day 200,000 feet of waste is compressed neatly inside the bag. A material-air separator and dust collector remove fine particles and divert the process air to an appropriate location.
The EcoPAC baler also stands on a compact footprint that fits easily into the available space to avoid compromising warehouse capacity. The bale-in-a-bag’s space requirements measure approximately 80% less than many horizontal balers and at far less cost. With the new baling system, waste no longer billows out into the plant environment and is instead automatically contained in a bag within a single area, labor needs for manual waste handling have been eliminated and label waste is no longer a reason to stop the presses. Based on calculations considering throughput, line uptime and savings
in labor and overtime, the print manager expects the system to pay for itself within a year
or two, the same payback period the company achieved with the other automated equipment. In addition to managing label matrix waste, the EcoPAC baler has been tested using paper, plastic film, laminates and other waste materials with comparable results.
For more information, contact Tracey Southerland, Precision AirConvey, 210 Executive Drive #6, Pencader Corporate Center, Newark, DE 19702; 302.999.8000; Fax 302.266.7559; www.precisionairconvey.com; firstname.lastname@example.org.