A Division of Pearson Packaging Systems

Flexicell to Exhibit at PackExpo 2018

Flexicell, industry leading robotic packaging solution provider will be joining parent company Pearson Packaging Systems at Pack Expo 2018 in Chicago, October 14-17. Representatives from both companies will meet with attendees at Booth S-3506 with innovative pack and palletizing solutions that address flexibility and scalability.

Flexicell will be exhibiting its standard Compact Palletizer, which stands less than 11 x 8 ft. and is the smallest unit of four available configurations. Flexicell’s line of standard palletizers are specifically designed with small footprints and are user-friendly and cost effective. The incorporation of the easy-to-use Pallet Configuration Tool allows users to create, modify, or copy new pattern recipes or adjust varying parameters that can meet specific product and packing requirements.

Parent company Pearson will be displaying a highly versatile yet compact robotic packing system for horizontal and vertical loading, using an intelligent conveyor system provided by MagneMotion, a Rockwell company. MagneMotion’s independent cart technology increases throughput rates, smooths operation, which improves reliability, and easily scales to accommodate product variations. Vision and line tracking overcome random product orientations and enable continuous motion, while ensuring pick reliability. Custom end-of-arm tools incorporate multiple functions into one tool, eliminating the need for lengthy changeovers.

PackExpo 2018, flexible, robotic horizontal and vertical top loading cell
PackExpo 2018 flexible, robotic horizontal and vertical top loading cell

Proudly nominated for PMMI’s 2018 Technology Excellence Award in the Prepared Foods category, Pearson’s robotic packing solution is being recognized for its adoption of innovative technologies to solve the challenges of its customer base. Voting begins at show start on Sunday, October 14 and goes through noon, Tuesday, October 16.

USER CENTRIC DESIGN (UCD)

Pearson’s User Centric Design—present in both display machines—facilitates an intuitive user experience by simplifying machine accessibility and maintenance. An updated HMI screen with a modern feel and easy interaction accelerates the learning curve for new operators and allows them to be independent sooner.

PEARSON SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS GROUP (PSSG)

Founded in 2015, PSSG is a Pearson company dedicated to complex packaging integration projects. Group representatives will be present at Pack Expo to discuss customer applications and turnkey solutions for their secondary packaging lines. Since PSSG can source all major line components from both Pearson and Flexicell’s comprehensive portfolios, shorter lead times, more seamless integration and a uniform user interface are attractive benefits to customers.

Pearson Packaging Systems Aquires Flexicell

Spokane, Washington, February 22, 2018 – Pearson Packaging Systems, provider of discrete equipment and complete end-of-line systems for the secondary packaging automation market today announces the acquisition of robotic automation specialist Flexicell, Inc.

With over 25 years of applying robotics to solve packaging and warehouse automation challenges, Flexicell developed industry leading technical expertise and a diversified customer base. Its Ashland, Virginia facility will expand Pearson’s manufacturing footprint and provide strategic proximity to key customers and markets. Recognizing Flexicell’s robust brand equity and established customer relationships, the newly acquired company will continue to operate under its own brand name.

Pearson Packaging Systems’ product portfolio is comprised of case erectors, tray formers, case packers, case sealers, robotic palletizers and integration services. Since its inception more than 60 years ago, the privately held company has helped a diverse set of high-volume manufacturers and distributors in the food, beverage, personal care, and online commerce industries to meet their growth and profitability objectives.

Over the past decade, Pearson Packaging Systems experienced strong double-digit growth year over year – the result of its adoption of robotics for pack and palletizing projects and the development of full systems integration capabilities. “The acquisition of Flexicell reinforces our commitment to the application of robotics throughout the entire end-of-line automation process,” states Michael Senske, President and CEO of Pearson Packaging Systems. He continues, “Our combined technical expertise, management resources, and financial strength will enable us to take on more projects with increased complexity and provide greater value in the marketplace.”

The acquisition of Flexicell, Inc. solidifies Pearson Packaging Systems’ place as a leading company in the world of secondary packaging automation. The combined organization will be counted amongst the three largest FANUC integrators in the packaging industry.

How Robots Are Improving Partition Inserting

When selecting a partition inserter, packaging engineers evaluate four key areas of machine functionality: reliability and throughput consistency, output quality, maintenance requirements and costs, and line flexibility. Gantry-style partition inserters have proven a functional solution for decades – however, they are not without shortcomings:

  • A high number of mechanical parts require frequent, costly maintenance and are vulnerable to wear or failure over time.
  • Partitions are easily damaged if the cases are not aligned perfectly under the partition insertion area. The single-axis gantry motion increases the likelihood of jams, strip failure and improperly erected partitions. This can be especially problematic when using partitions with stabilizing hooks.
  • The abrupt stop/start motion of traditional conveying increases the likelihood of damage to cases and any prepacked products within them.
  • Changeovers can result in costly line downtime. Gantry changeovers are particularly time consuming, requiring modifications to the magazine, vacuum cups, indexing mechanism and the ram itself.

Robotic partition inserters have many benefits over traditional partition inserters and are rapidly becoming the technology of choice for the following reasons:

  • In addition to substantially fewer mechanical components, robots have a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rate of 120,000 hours of continuous operation. These factors reduce necessary maintenance and subsequent cost while minimizing downtime from part failure.
  • Partition material, design, construction, placement in the magazine and facility humidity levels make partition magazine extraction the most challenging aspect of automated partition inserting. Robotic partition inserters use a six-axis movement to peel (or strip) the partition off the magazine rather than a single, linear motion, significantly reducing jams, strip failures and improperly erected partitions.
  • Robotic partition inserters can be programed for continuous case motion. By eliminating the need to stop and start the conveyor, the risk of product damage is minimized and throughput is maximized.
  • Changeovers are straightforward and can be completed in under 10 minutes. An operator simply needs to change the program, adjust the magazine, end-of-arm tool and conveyor.
  • Robotic solutions are inherently flexible. Robotic partition inserters can accommodate a range of insertion speeds, product and partition types, and are adaptable to change to meet manufacturing requirements.

We maintain a close partnership with FANUC America and continue to develop innovative, flexible and reliable end-of-line solutions to improve Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for customers in the food and beverage, personal care, household and industrial chemical and e-commerce/distribution industries.