| Oct 23, 2013
Packaging Digest’s Executive Editor, Lisa McTigue Pierce, interviewed Columbia Machine’s Sales Director, Ted Yeigh, to better understand how Columbia’s new HL7200 High Speed, Inline Palletizer is leading the palletizer industry in safety, flexibility and performance. Answer:
Question: Why have you focused on designing an industry-leading safety package for the new HL7200 high speed, inline palletizer?
Answer: Safety is a very high priority for Columbia Machine and obviously for our customers too. Three or four years ago, Columbia Machine made Category 3 Safety components standard on our entire product line. We were starting to see more and more customer specifications calling for Cat 3. When items are quoted as an option, they are more expensive than if that same content becomes part of a standard package. Yes the base price goes up some when the content expands but not nearly as much as if that same content is included as an option.
Two things came together when discussing the features of the HL7200: First, it makes sense to offer machinery with the latest available technology. Second, we knew there was already a demand and acceptance for machinery equipped with more safety content.
The demands for high throughput and increased OEE led us to include additional safety components - the necessary components to allow for OSHA compliant “Minor Servicing”. Minor Servicing is defined as “operations that are considered routine, repetitive and integral to the normal operation of the machine”. When combined, these factors provide the latest in safety components and methodology adding tremendous value for the end user.
Question: How is the layer table more configurable than competitive models?
Answer: Flexibility was also one of the cornerstones of the development parameters for this palletizer. The digitally controlled lane positioners are programmable through the HMI and allow the two outside lanes on each side of the laner to move to pre-programmed locations. This means that when a new product is created or there is a change to an existing package, a new layer pattern can be programmed in a matter of minutes without the need to hire a service tech. The layer table can be equipped with segmented pop up “stops” that allows for better control of the cases on the layer table.
Question: What prompts and/or help does the system provide to optimize pallet patterns based on case and pallet sizes?
Patterns can be added or modified through the HMI. It is important to understand the layer patterns are generally created long before the product is run on a palletizer (they are entered into or programmed at the palletizer). The Packaging Engineers usually create the layer patterns while the primary and secondary packing is being designed, factoring in total load size desired by their customers, warehousing / distribution capabilities, load stability, shipping efficiencies etc. The palletizer is programmed to do what you tell it to do. It is not designed to “think” of an alternate pattern. An enhanced HMI package is available that includes graphical layer pattern creation software like Topps or Cape that is accessible via the HMI and via Ethernet. With the enhanced package, alternate patterns can be suggested but it would not recommend an optimized pattern. Question: What is the Smart Squeeze technology and how does it work?
“Smart Squeeze” is included on all Columbia palletizers. As part of the recipe for a given SKU or product ID, the side squeezers (layer conditioners) are programmed to go to a certain position on each layer. If the side squeezers don’t get to their pre-programmed position within a certain amount of time, the palletizer will go in to a controlled stop mode and provide feedback to the operator, through the HMI and stack light, that attention to the layer formation may be required. What this does is alert the operator that a down-time event has occurred, likely due to an improperly orientated case. The advantage here is that this can be corrected before a compromised layer is formed causing a potentially longer and messier stoppage later in the palletizing process. Smart Squeeze also helps to minimize product damage and increase overall uptime and throughput by raising OEE.
the HL7200 product page for more information and or the video below.