Runs tape blocking a metal detector
How do you transport as little air as possible: BluePrint Automation (BPA) has had this scientifically researched. They developed the Compacter, an efficient way to make sure the air in bags of chips and bags of frozen vegetables disappears so that more can fit in one bag. The Compacter is the newest showpiece in the barn of the BPA packaging lines: the RGP gravitational carton packer. BPA unveiled the RGP during a major event in their manufacturing hall.
They proudly explained how their newest machine works and what its main characteristics are. The Compacter is not just an innovation. The design team started with already gained knowledge and customer requests. In addition to a smaller footprint and lower total cost of ownership (TCO), ease of use, maintenance, hygiene and safety have been optimized. Even unskilled users can work with the machine.
BPA organized a spectacular unveiling of the RGP. Only after the professional cyclists Ellen van Dijk and Floortje Mackaij had broken the 250 meter course record on a tandem bike, the packer could be revealed.
André Verkleij, Managing Director of BPA Netherlands, had the honor of starting the packaging line and did so with an iPad. The operation of the RGP has been completely automated, as has the changeover of the machine. No adjustment screws, yardsticks or calculation lists are used for this. The parameters are calculated by the additional software and the RGP adapts automatically and accurately. The changeover happens very quickly. André demonstrated that the machine can switch to a new recipe in 2.5 minutes.
The RGP is modular, which makes technical and mechanical maintenance easier. The packaging process consists of four parts, each module has its own control box. LED indicators show the status of the module. Faults are easily detected and fewer long cables are required to drive the parts in the modules because control is divided between multiple boxes.
The backbone of the machine is an inclined stainless steel rod on which all modules are mounted. The 45-degree angle ensures that in the event of a malfunction, the products will fall to the floor. Because all parts are attached to the backbone, there aren't many pedestals to hinder cleaning. The company even managed to assemble the heavier ones, which sometimes need up to 14 support feet.
Horizontal metal detector
The first module is a modular supply unit (mbu). This detects loose products, weighs the bag and transports it to the metal detector. An improvement over older machines is that the metal detector is placed horizontally, which results in more accurate measurements. When the product has been weighed, it is transported to the rotating gate packer, which places the bags in the box and moves them to the compactor.
The Compacter is an important innovation for BPA and they have applied for a patent on it. The Compacter is both compact in size and effective in compressing the product. By researching the mechanisms involved in the process, BPA was able to redesign the process. They reduced the number of vibrators and therefore the lead time was shortened and this also resulted in a reduction in noise. During compression, pressure pallets press on the bags in the box, so that the additional air is mainly forced out of the top bag. Sensors measure the fill level. When the fold line has been reached, the box automatically slides towards the tape module.
In the tape module, the machine closes the flaps and seals the box with adhesive tape. Refilling the tape is a regular act performed by the operators. The doors of the module can be opened separately, both above and below. When replacing the tape, only the upper part of the machine needs to be accessible and an internal protective screen protects the operator because it can only be changed during production. Occasionally a box gets blocked during the process. In this case the whole door opens and the operator can use the release function. The side straps are placed extra wide and the entire upper construction is raised extra high so that the operator can easily remove the box.
Less skilled operators needed
BPA designed the RGP with a transatlantic team. The knowledge gained from the American branch was taken into account. In the United States, factories tend to hire less skilled workers as operators. It is becoming more and more difficult to find technical employees in Europe. In addition to the robust character of the packaging line, it is also easy to use. The user interface of the RGP is similar to that of a smartphone. The machine can be operated using small symbols.
Creating the future was the theme of the unveiling event. BPA has given itself the task of continuing to innovate and think with the client. With the RGP, you are selling a future-proof packaging line that also has lower total operating costs and a smaller footprint and is also easy to use and maintain.
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