One-touch loading

In partnership with Steel King, Wisconsin Lift Truck developed a new hand cart that enables the transport of products to retail stores, while also doubling as a display to minimize heavy lifting and ensure the easy, safe transportation of bottles, cans and cases to the retail floor, the company says. Construction involved directly bolting a steel 48-inch-square five-shelve wire rack unit to a pallet. The open design concept also enables the delivery person to stack beverages from all sides. After completed, a small power lift pallet jack lifts the unit off the ground and delivers the stocked shelves directly to the retail floor. The durable, one-touch loading system eliminates additional handling, reduces product damage and labor, and minimal repairs are required due to the high durability of the pallet jack and the unit itself, it says. 

Wisconsin Lift Truck, 3125 Intertech Drive, Brookfield, Wis. 53045; 800/634-9010;

Built tough

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. announced that production of its new class-6, medium-duty truck, the 2018 Isuzu FTR, began May 8 at a new $6.5 million, 80,000-square-foot Spartan Motors facility in Charlotte, Mich. The low-cab-forward truck features a class-6 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) and a four-cylinder diesel engine for increased maneuverability, the ability to carry more cargo than a conventional class-6 truck and better fuel efficiency, the company says. The FTR’s 4HK1-TC, 5.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine, a first in the segment, generates 520 pound-feet of torque and 215 horsepower and carries a B10-durability rating of 375,000 miles, meaning that 90 percent of engines should reach that mileage before requiring overhaul, it says. The truck has a GVWR of 25,950 pounds and includes eight wheelbase lengths as well as the ability to accommodate trailer bodies from 14 to 30 feet, which allows for a wide variety of body applications.

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc., 1400 S. Douglass Road, Suite 100, Anaheim, Calif. 92806; 866/441-9638;

Simplified sleeve operation

At ProFood Tech, Axon, a division of Pro Mach, showcased the SLX 600 shrink-sleeve applicator featuring fast and precise sleeve application with PLC-monitored, trouble-free changeovers on production lines operating at speeds as fast as 600 units a minute, the company says. Among its benefits, the SLX 600 features a simplified film path that facilitates film loading, high-speed sleeving operations, fast changeovers and minimal downtime between SKUs. A dual-servo timing screw precisely controls product position and sleeve application during the production cycle, and the speed of the machine is fully automated and calibrated to line rate, allowing the applicator to automatically speed up or slow down as needed. The SLX 600 also provides customers with the option of incorporating its new patent pending, thin film-delivery system for films as thin as 25 microns for added material cost savings and more sustainable packaging, it adds.

Axon, 3080 Business Park Drive, Suite 103, Raleigh, N.C. 27610; 919/772-8383;

Safe loading

At this year’s ProMat, Columbia Machine demonstrated the LTS-C, a load-transfer station with a pallet cart that facilitates the transfer of products packaged in cases, barrels, drums, bags and pails from one pallet type to another, including plastic, CHEP and GMA pallets commonly used in both receiving and shipping applications, the company says. The LTS-C helps reduce injuries to warehouse workers, streamlines plant and warehouse operations, improves plant and process cleanliness (as part of good manufacturing practice compliance), and reduces costs. Also, the station is easy to operate. The forklift driver places the “go-to” pallet on the pallet cart and then activates the machine via the pull cord to extend the receiving deck. The pallet load is placed on the receiving deck and the driver activates the transfer process via the pull cord, allowing the transfer to automatically complete.

Columbia Machine Inc., 107 Grand Blvd., Vancouver, Wash. 98661; 800/628-4065;

Thinking on the box

At Interpack, Hewlett-Packard Inc. (HP) highlighted two innovations for flexible packaging: the HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination and the HP PageWide C500 Press, which are designed to advance flexible and corrugated packaging solutions, respectively. The HP Indigo Pack Ready Lamination uses HP proprietary technology to create laminates for digitally printed flexible packaging without the use of adhesives. This allows for a shortened time-to-market timeline for high-quality, high-performance flexible packaging, the company says. The lamination device, which works on the HP Indigo 20000, 8000 and WS6800 digital presses, provides strong laminate bond strength with no curing time for immediate pouch converting while maximizing the value of HP digital print to drive brand engagement, shortening time-to-market, and cutting waste and costs. The HP PageWide C500 Press has a production capacity of as many as 25 million square meters of boards a year. The direct-to-board digital corrugated solution also prints on 1.3 meter-wide boards through the use of a corrugated media handling solution with a virtual belt, it says. The single-pass, digital post-print solution is designed for any-sized corrugated printing applications from shippers to high-quality graphics boxes, on coated and uncoated papers, without need for lamination, all in offset-replaceable quality, it adds. The C500 also can help converters to differentiate with capabilities that only single-pass thermal inkjet and aqueous inks can deliver. Customer beta testing is scheduled to begin at the end of this year, with commercial availability planned for 2018, it says.

Hewlett-Packard Inc., 3000 Hanover St., Palo Alto, Calif. 94304; 844/806-3425;

Breakthrough technology

At ProFood Tech, Tetra Pak announced that it has teamed up with Microsoft to employ new, digital tools that enable its cloud-connected machines to predict when equipment requires maintenance, averting many breakdowns, the company says. The data that is gathered from the connected machines gives company technicians an operational snapshot of more than 5,000 of its packaging machines. To further streamline machine diagnostics and repair for customers, Tetra Pak is outfitting service engineers with HoloLens Mixed Reality smart glasses that enable on-site engineers to work with customers thousands of miles away to resolve operational needs and problems in real time. During the initial six-month testing phase, 17 customer lines were supported with the new service and downtime was eliminated by as many as 48 hours for each line, it says. Another innovation, the Condition Monitoring service, taps into performance data from more than 5,000 connected filling machines around the world to help food and beverage manufacturers prevent machine failures before they occur. Using Microsoft Azure, specialists can identify deviations and advise customers on their maintenance needs in a more timely and effective way. Additionally, the service removes the need for a standardized maintenance process while also reducing machine downtime and lowering costs related to maintenance or unexpected failures.

Tetra Pak Inc., 3300 Airport Road, Denton, Texas 76207; 940/565-8800;

A smart seal

U-Shield LLC highlighted a patent-pending re-sealable SmarterSeal that is designed to be a better, more practical solution for brands to address consumers’ hygiene worries that might be associated with drinking beverages and other canned products. Designed by product developer William Battaglia, SmarterSeal protects the tops of cans with a protective, stretchable overcap that is re-sealable, reusable and provides 100 percent protection against bacterial contamination, insects and more, he says. SmarterSeal is injection-molded polypropylene (PE) or low-density PE that is soft enough to be pliable, yet also durable. SmarterSeal can be manufactured either over-molded to a can or can be separately molded and attached/snapped onto the can during the manufacturing process.

U-Shield LLC, 1372 Belmont Ave, North Haledon, N.J. 07508; 973/495-9081.

Protecting workers

Wildeck Inc. offers a new NetGate pick module safety gate that is designed to transform open-rack loading zones into protected, safe-access areas by providing full-height fall protection within the pallet zone, the company says. The NetGate utilizes an integrated cable/pulley system and is easy to install into new or existing rack structures. When one side of the gate is lifted, the other closes, providing full-height fall protection near the elevated ledge at all times. Additional benefits include that no drilling is required to install the device; it runs on a trackless, cable/pulley system for operational longevity; it is able to accept tall pallet loads and carts; and it is OSHA and IBC compliant.

Wildeck, 405 Commerce St., Waukesha, Wis. 53186; 262/549-4000;

A shipping solution

ACH Foam Technologies Inc. announced the release of DuraTherm PLUS+, an advanced cold-chain shipping solution that assures payload temperatures remain between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius during a 24-hour delivery timeframe. Validated by International Safe Transit Association 7D standards, DuraTherm PLUS+ is available in summer and winter profiles to accommodate off-the-shelf seasonal pack-out solutions for products with acute temperature sensitivity, the company says. The product’s ability to maintain near-constant temperatures is the result of its expanded polystyrene foam cooler core, which boasts superior insulation properties. In addition to the DuraTherm PLUS+ cooler, the packaging kit includes inner payload packaging, gel-pack refrigerants, an outer corrugated shipping box and precise pack-out instructions. It is available in four sizes.

ACH Foam Technologies Inc., 8700 Turnpike Drive, Suite 400, Westminster, Colo. 80031; 855/597-4427;

Inking it right

Xaar plc announced the launch of its new Xaar 502 family of print heads that deliver high levels of quality and flexibility for coding and marking applications, it says. The Xaar 502 GS15O is a high-performance grayscale piezoelectric drop-on-demand print head that meets the needs of manufacturers developing machines to print high-quality, late-stage product identification such as text, product data, barcodes and graphics onto secondary packaging or directly onto shaped products and primary packaging, it adds. The print head launch delivers a step-change in product identification technology by combining binary and grayscale capabilities in one wide swathe, 70.5-millimeter print head, it says. It gives users the ability to print drop sizes from 15 to 75 picoliters with as many as six gray levels for high-resolution and intense blacks on low-contrast surfaces, such as cardboard outer boxes. The Xaar 502 GS15O also delivers sharp, dense black text as well as fine text, quality graphics and smooth images on porous or semi-porous outer packaging and cardboard, providing the ability to better manage ink usage, the company says. The Xaar 502 family also is designed for use in demanding and harsh factory environments and features the company’s TF technology, which can run in a pulsed mode to recirculate ink behind the nozzles during non-printing periods.

Xaar plc, 316 Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB4 0XR United Kingdom; +011/44-1223-423663;

Improving lock reliability

Regal Beloit Corp. recently debuted the next generation of its SealMaster Skwezloc Locking Collar concentric locking collar. The new design accommodates commercial-turned and -polished shafting while improving lock reliability on turned ground and polished shafting, the company says. The new collar achieves improved lock reliability through a circumferential groove on its inner ring bore that reduces stress on the inner ring when properly clamped to the shaft. A larger cap screw and collar also improve the clamping force and holding power to the shaft. The next generation Skwezloc Locking Collar also reduces stress concentrations when the collar is tightened through an optimized chamfer profile while maintaining the single-screw installation of preceding models, it adds.

Regal Beloit Corp., 200 State St., Beloit, Wis. 53511; 608/364-8800;