PCB LInear
The PCB Linear Cobot Feeder.

Pack Expo News and Notes: Picking up the Pace

Sept. 13, 2023
There was more than meets the eye amongst the product offerings on display.

The swirling movement of product demonstrations throughout the Pack Expo 2023 show floor in Las Vegas conveys more than materials. The strong industry growth cited by PMMI officials at the start of Pack Expo was on display, and the large crowds that showed up for the week were looking not just at new product lines, but at new ways to manage materials and systems.

Pneumatics remains a primary driver of packaging and conveyance systems for the industry, but the continued rise of electrification for either material movement or packaging was evident at the show. One leading example of this was Emerson’s acquisition of Swiss linear motion company Afag in August. Pack Expo was the first chance to showcase the combined technologies between Emerson and Afag, one that Emerson officials said in a press release would “enhance Emerson’s capabilities in factory automation, one of the Company’s four priority adjacencies, and create a leading motion portfolio combining Afag’s electric linear motion solutions with Emerson’s pneumatic motion technology.”

“As discrete and hybrid customers continue to accelerate electrification across their manufacturing processes, Afag’s technology is ideally suited to provide improved energy efficiency and performance gains,” said Ram Krishnan, chief operating officer of Emerson, in a press release. “We look forward to combining Afag’s motion capabilities with our existing pneumatic leadership, creating a unique and differentiated solution for our customers.”

Other companies were showing how their use of emerging technologies were remaking—or in one case, remarking—some traditional systems.

Videojet offered an array of new solutions for the laser marking, laser printing and vision systems with a focus on Wi-Fi and cloud connectivity.

“As part of its core commitment to innovation, connectivity and sustainability, Videojet is laser-focused on developing and enhancing digitally enabled solutions for remote service and support, sensors, marking and coding control systems, vision systems and software for IoT and Industry 4.0 applications,” company officials said in a press release.

One example is the Videojet 1580 +, which offers Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity to measure fluid consumption in the printing of codes, dates and other variable data on products and packaging.

At the other end of the packaging process, PCB Linear was showcasing how robots and cobots could be deployed to augment or supplant human interaction with potentially unsafe case packing. Company officials said the PCB Linear Cobot Feeder “addresses the problem of finding enough workers to tend machines.”

For more show coverage, be sure to check out our Pack Expo 2023 content hub.

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