Molding new ideas

This manufacturer of complex plastic parts for health care, consumer and electronics markets used a hand-counting and hand-loading system.

The hand-loading system was inefficient and time intensive, with inherently higher labor costs. It also increased the potential for errors. An automated bagging system, with integrated thermal imprinter and automatic weigh counter, elevated the process from semi-automatic to fully automated.

In the first step – opening the bag – a three-point verification system monitors success. First the machine uses a puff of air to open the bag. It senses whether the bag has opened; if not, it inserts a funnel to mechanically open the bag on the second try. Again it checks whether a bag is present and open. If not, it presents a new bag and starts again. The system can be set to the desired number of tries before human intervention is asked for.

The automated bagging system also ensures a reliable count while filling bags. It can either weigh-count or optically count the injection-molded pieces being dropped into the bag. In the case of this customer, a reliable weight count was crucial. The proposed system is the only one in the marketplace that can achieve the weight-count level of precision.

Replacing the former process of hand loading,  robotic arms drop the mold(s) into the bag.

“The custom design we created is an extremely sophisticated bagger. It has become standard in the marketplace.”

The thermal imprinting capability of the Sharp Max Plus allows direct printing onto the bag of all verification codes and barcodes necessary for traceability. An onboard PC allows the operator to pull up various jobs, create labels, and keep a history of events within each account for maintenance, record-keeping, and tracing human or machine error. and downtime is decreased.

For this market, the custom design we created is an extremely sophisticated bagger. It has become standard in the marketplace and is available to our other customers as well.

Thanks to our use of many standard parts and off-the-shelf components, this customer easily added many options to fit this situation.

We serve the injection molding market with several types of bags:

  • High Density white opaque-to-clear
  • Clear co-extruded film
  • Gamma film

Outcome

By listening closely to this customer’s needs, we created a customized yet highly standardized bagger. Productivity at this manufacturer increased by 23%, and labor decreased by 40%.

The project earned CE approval for the bagging system, enabling us to work overseas with this company as well. CE approval assures compliance with essential requirements of applicable EC (European Conformity) directives. This allows our injection-molding customers to sell their products within the European Economic Area.

Total Packaging Cost Summary

  • 40% decrease in labor cots
  • 23% increase in productivity
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