It is a one stop solution

It is a one stop solution

Pam Case Packer is a multipurpose machine that is all set to change the way packaging industry operates. Suresh Potdar, Strategic Business Unit (SBU) head, end of lines, ACG World Wide reveals more to Sachin Jagdale

How are case packers different from other products in the same category?

Pam Case Packer does multiple jobs in one single machine. It is a one stop solution, encompassing case forming, product collation, inserting the product in the carton and case sealing. Separate machines for all these operations are available in the market, like case erectors, auto collators, pick and place robotic heads and taping machines. All these machines would be required if we have to automate secondary packing.

Not only does Pam Case Packer save valuable space (with a compact foot print of 3.3mtrx1.8mtr) offering advantage over the conventional machines, it can be synchronised with upstream machines (primary packaging) and it is also possible to integrate with labeller and palletiser thus making the complete line automated. The palletiser can handle pallet size of 1200mmx1000mm with cycle time of seven cycles per minute. Even with this integration, it is possible to run the line with a single operator. The Case Packer can be manufactured left handed or right handed, depending on the customer’s room layout.

What is the significance of case packers?

Pam Case Packer is a fully automated servo-controlled machine built with Italian technology. It is so versatile machine that it can be adapted to different types of industries. Touch screen control make its operator friendly and with a single key change over concept the change over time becomes less than 30 minutes for mechanical change parts. With six servo controlled motors and computer based electronics it has state-of-the-art electronic architecture. The machine is European Confirmity (Conformité Européenne—CE) compliant. It can be added to existing line as per customer’s layout. The drives are completely with timer belts and no chains are involved. The machine has a balcony construction with easy accessibility.

How are they cost effective?

With the batch concept used in manufacturing, the cost of production is reduced. Also 70 percent of the parts for a left hand machine and right hand machine are common. With various critical operations being done in house on the latest Computerised Pneumatic Control (CPC) machines and with modern in house heat treatment and surface treatment facilities being available, the cost is kept under direct control. This helps Pam to deliver spares to customer within 24 hours.

With multiple jobs being done in single machine there is lot of space saving which gives a distinct advantage to the user. The pricing of this case packer is about 30 percent less as compared to European machines with the same quality being offered with prompt after sales support.

How are you going to market this product in India?

This is a unique concept which needs to be made known to customers by organising seminars and conferences. We are already participating in various exhibitions on food and beverages in India. Product brochures have already been sent to major food and beverage industries. Primary focus is to reduce dependence on labour and get over the fatigue element which affects productivity in the long run.

The manufacturing of Case Packer has already been started and has a separate 5000 sq ft area for assembly. The manufacturing set up is sufficient to churn out case packers as per market needs. Being a capital item, customers accept deliveries of eight to 12 weeks.

Which is the customer base for this product?

Apart from the pharma industry, various industries have been surveyed and the customer base for this case packer includes breweries (wine, hard liquor, beer), distilleries, automobile spares (which are produced in millions for example car filters), engineering items like bearings , dry cells (batteries), food and dairy products, confectionery, personal care, beverages like tea/coffee, etc.

What kind of customer needs are taken into consideration while manufacturing case packers?

The machine is CE compliant and meets all the safety standards as per European norms. The provision of emergency stop on two sides of the machines gives flexibility to attend any emergency quickly. The machine is easily accessible from maintenance point of view. The critical parts are manufactured in-house and are checked metallurgically in a state-of-the-art metallurgical lab at Pam. Various safety and precaution symbols are put on the machine.

The case packer has mainly two main assemblies like feeding and collating system and the gripper assembly that picks the product and places it in the carton as per customer’s need. Taping and Nordson gluing system are options and the customer can choose any one depending on his requirement. There are two options for the tape, 50 mm or 75 mm tape width. The Nordson gluing system has provision of selecting the type of gluing pattern to suit the customer’s needs. The change over is very simple and requires a single tool. Mechanical counters are provided for ease in noting the setting for a particular change part.

What are your initiatives to protect the association and trust level with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology customers?

Pam has a strong base with 85 percent market share in encapsulation machinery in pharma industry in India and has got presence in 82 countries all over the world with market leadership in about 15 countries. Pharma market in India is growing at an average of 20 percent over the last five years.

The growth in major key pharma markets in North America, USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand for the period October 2006 to September 2007 is at an average of five percent ($408 billion) with Argentina topping the list with ten percent growth, according to IMS. This gives us the opportunity to sell case packers for applications like putting monocartons and glass/pet bottles of syrup in cartons. Moreover, insertion of divider and separator is possible to separate the products from one another by providing honeycomb design where we can go for case packer with multiple vertical layers for Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles by providing horizontal partition. Shrink wrapped bundles can also be put into a case in our case packer.

What is the competitive advantage for Indian packaging industry over overseas players?

Pam Case Packer offers a distinct advantage on the price front versus imported ones due to low cost manufacturing base, providing low cost effective solutions, backed by in-house indigenous design.

Easy availability of spares and a 24 hours service approach to the customer are the key strengths of the company. It is European technology available at an affordable price. This is more beneficial to industries which are going for expansion as it reduces labour substantially and occupies less floor space due to its unique design of case erector, pick and place and taping combined all in one. The customer need not keep stock of imported items as Pam can keep inventory at its end for critical spares. Even the change parts ordered by customers can be delivered in three weeks.

Where is the Indian packaging industry heading today?

With large shopping malls and retail shops coming to cities and even in small towns, there will be a need to distribute products across the country in the shortest possible time. Various products of different sizes need to be packed and dispatched to every nook and corner of the country. Shipper cartons are mainly used effectively to pack these products and distribute through out the country by road/rail and at the same time preventing any damage in transit.

With this increased demand, industries will not be able to meet requirements by employing more labour as fatigue element will affect productivity in the long run. More and more industries will opt for automation, for consistency and dependability in final packaging which also ensures no missing product.

What trends do you foresee in this industry?

The trends are encoura-ging and there can be substantial demand for case packers with an average growth of 30 to 40 percent year on year. With more and smaller scale industries in spices, pickles and ready-to-eat food packets going in for bigger expansions there is a very good opportunity for case packers with its price tag and technologically superior product.