A new approach to gluing and quality control in the production of corrugated packaging from Baumer hhs.“Sustainable packaging regulations, zero-defect production, rising cost pressure, the increasing shortage of skilled workers, and the instability of global supply chains – a number of challenges affecting the industry right now prompted us to rethink adhesive application and monitoring in corrugated packaging production,” explains Andreas Schneiders, Corrugated Business Development Manager, Baumer hhs. “We had several goals in mind, some of which initially seemed incompatible. The result of our efforts is the revolutionary CorrBox Solution system for flexo folder gluers. It boasts unprecedented performance and flexibility, and gives our customers significant advantages.”
For its CorrBox Solution, the company developed the PGD 1000, a sensor with camera-like properties that sets new standards in monitoring the gluing process. “Previously, adhesives were mixed with additives that fluoresce under UV light to appear blue, yellow, or green,” continues Schneiders. “The purpose of the additives was to create contrast between the surface of the packaging and the glue tracks so that cameras and sensors could detect the adhesive. In view of the wide variety of packaging surfaces – white, brown, printed – this task was always quite a challenge. The additives made the adhesives up to 50% more expensive, they were unacceptable under food safety laws in some cases and they limited purchasing options. The PGD 1000 eliminates all of these issues. The new sensor reliably detects adhesive on corrugated board without any fluorescing additives whatsoever. And it doesn’t matter if or how the surface of a substrate is printed.”
In short, the PGD 1000 gives corrugated converters the freedom to glue any kind packaging without having to worry about the monitoring process or the type of surface. What is more, they no longer have to decide between sensors or cameras for monitoring adhesive application.
Eliminating the need for fluorescing additives in the adhesives offers yet another advantage: corrugated packaging producers can use a wider range of different adhesives. “Having a flexible choice of adhesives was one of our main goals in developing the CorrBox Solution. In view of the dramatic situation of global supply chains, our customers benefit even more from this kind of flexibility today,” adds Thomas Walther, Head of Business Development, Baumer hhs.
Similarly, the company has set another milestone in the market with its new multi-application head for the CorrBox Solution. It is based on the innovative technology behind the Baumer hhs PX 1000 cold glue applicator, which is significantly more tolerant of viscosity fluctuations thanks to a newly designed electromagnetic drive that achieves a 42% higher closing force (compared to the PL-500 predecessor model). The new multi-application head guarantees premium gluing results even at the limits of the viscosity range, without requiring complex parameter settings.
With its high closing force, even adhesives that have thickened after long idle periods can be reliably dispensed. The nozzles on the multi-application head can be lowered into an optional water bath that effectively prevents them from drying out, even over extended periods, and eliminates any contamination or residue build-up. The PX 1000 multi-application head displays excellent start-up behaviour as a result.
“Customers are starting to report that the multi-application head doubles the duration of uninterrupted production between two cleaning cycles. In other words, it cuts cleaning in half. The risk of gluing errors is reduced to the same extent. Another advantage is the up to 60% reduction in glue consumption,” says Walther. “Baumer hhs has made these significant savings possible by using an optimised stitching algorithm that works hand-in-hand with the speed of the PX 1000 application head. With this method, the continuous line of glue applied previously is divided into a series of short segments without any tailing whatsoever. It results in significant savings on adhesive, and even increased adhesive strength in many cases.”
No matter what equipment is introduced to the market today for a given packaging application, it must take the shortage of skilled workers into account. The CorrBox Solution is operated and set up using the Xtend3 controller from Baumer hhs. “Xtend3 is known for its intuitive, menu-driven interface. We’ve optimised the user interface of our CorrBox Solution to meet the specific needs of the corrugated industry,” notes Schneiders.
Parameters can be set and predefined on different levels. Settings that have to be entered only once by an expert are clearly separated from parameters entered by machine operators, the number of which has been reduced to a minimum. In addition, many parameters can be stored in the controller and easily adapted by an operator using simple plus/minus keys. With these features, the Xtend3 also supports short setup times. For repeat orders, saved settings can even be retrieved at the push of a button.
With this sensor, machine operators can follow the gluing process live, in real time on the screen of the Xtend3controller – something that was only possible before with a camera system. The list of new functions also includes edge detection. In this case, the PGD 1000 checks the inside and outside glue lines towards the outer edge to reliably prevent inside gluing – and further increase the reliability of the overall production process.
The CorrBox Solution is of modular design. Customers can choose from various models, a number of different control and monitoring functions, as well as optional software features. Thanks to its open architecture, the system can grow along with the needs of customers long term, meaning it offers them future-proof equipment and the assurance of a secure investment.