Packaging

Food packaging equipment feels the need for speed

18-Dec-2013 - By Jenni Spinner+
Packaging equipment makers like ADCO Manufacturing are driven by the changing needs of the food industry.
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In the face of the ever-growing number of edible items and pack configurations, packaging equipment must keep up with the rapid evolution of the industry.

In business since 1958, ADCO Manufacturing specializes in cartoning equipment. The company started off with simple hand-loaded cartoners, but its machinery has evolved over time as customer needs have grown.

Speed requirements

Frank Hoffman, ADCO president, told FoodProductionDaily.com many of the advancements in packaging machinery arises from the food industry’s need for faster throughput.

Although mechanically not much has changed since the 1940s, the electronics and pneumatics have changed significantly,” he said. “They are offering improved speeds and more data for the end user, all in much smaller packages than they used to be, including microprocessors, electronic cams, PLCs and robotics.”

Changing factors

Scott Reed, vice president of marketing and sales support for ADCO, told FPD the drive for automation also has been fueled in part by labor concerns.

As wages went up in the 1970s and 1980s, food processors wanted more automation (and fewer employees hand-loading) in their packaging lines,” he said. “The packaging machinery industry began to design and produce auto-load cartoners.”

Reed said that another catalyst for packaging equipment evolution is product explosion. With changing consumer tastes and thousands of items launched monthly, food and beverage firms are calling on their equipment to keep up with the times.

The packaging machinery industry has had to change to keep up with that evolving design, like sleeving aseptic packaging; wrapping tubs, cups, and pouches; or packing for retail ready situations,” he said. “All require new and different machinery.”

Equipment expansion

In recent years, ADCO has bolstered its arsenal of packaging machinery with top-load formers and closers, sleevers, tray formers, case packers, robotics. It also offers horizontal end-load (geared toward frozen pizzas, bag-in-box items, tray-in-a-box meals and other foods) and vertical end-load (pasta, and other loose-filled items) cartoners.

In addition to food and beverage operations, ADCO serves pharmaceutical firms, personal-care companies and other product manufacturers. It addresses the needs of food firms by offering stainless-steel sanitary designs, open areas food inspectors need to view, and other industry-specific features.

Reed told FPD when selecting cartoners or other packaging equipment, food-focused operations should be sure that the equipment meets their specific need.

There are many steps to consider when selecting a cartoner and a cartoner vendor,” he said. “These include the type of product that is being packaged, materials being used, speed requirement, sanitary requirements (including FSMA considerations) and many others.”

Related topics: Operational Efficiency, Packaging, Plant efficiency , Robotics , Packaging Technology, US