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.

Flexicell becomes FANUC Vision Systems Certified using iRVision

Based on our experience with FANUC’s iRVision®product and the successful deployment of robotic vision, Flexicell has been welcomed into FANUC’s Certified Vision Specialist program. As a company already recognized by FANUC as a Strategic Market Specialist and Level 4 Authorized Integrator, Flexicell is honored to accept another distinction that recognizes our dedication to innovation and flexible solutions.

The Certified Vision Specialist program is reserved for authorized integrators that have a higher degree of knowledge about vision, its capabilities, and its applications. To be a machine vision integrator requires both practical experience and a history of successful applications. Read on to learn about machine vision and how it can improve your manufacturing process.

How Machine Vision Benefits Our Customers

Manufacturers can utilize vision-guided robot systems to simplify the process of parts handling and to cut cost. “Machine vision cuts cost by reducing the need for tooling and fixtures, reducing upstream sorting or feeding processes, lessening downtime needed for product changeover, and improving future system flexibility,” says Kevin Jones, Flexicell’s in-house expert in the integration of robot vision. As more manufacturers in the food and consumer packaged goods industries aim for greater flexibility in their equipment, machine vision applications will only increase.

Machine vision automates part identification, navigation, and verification, and often replaces manual visual inspection. In industrial applications, machine vision systems find a part’s position and orientation. This enables robotic handling or inspection before an application is performed. Vision processes can also be used to verify the quality of parts before processing.

Robotic Vision System Hardware Challenges

Integrating a robot system with a vision system presents two major challenges—establishing a communications link between the two and converting the information generated by the vision process into a usable format for the robot. This is solved by iRVision®, which is FANUC’s robotic vision package that comes embedded on the standard robot controller. iRVision® only requires a standard CCD camera and cable to use. Since the same CPU that is controlling the robot is also running the vision processes, the integration of the two technologies becomes much simpler and eliminates additional communication delays when separate systems are used.

Flexicell is a Pioneer in Machine Vision Systems

By achieving certification in the FANUC Vision Specialist program, Flexicell has shown dedication and expertise in machine vision. We have successfully implemented machine vision in applications such as vision-guided line tracking to pick parts from moving conveyors, error proofing by vision inspection of parts prior to picking, and case depalletizing. We also continue to train our staff in the utilization of robotic vision systems to keep up-to-date with rapidly developing machine vision technology.

Kevin Jones is Sr. Controls Engineer for Flexicell and an expert in machine vision.
Flexicell is a leading provider of end-of-line solutions using the proven flexibility of robots. Our high-quality product picking, case packing, and robotic palletizing systems improve efficiency, productivity, and labor reduction. We serve manufacturers throughout North America in the food and consumer packaged goods industries.