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case study - oxiclean®

OXI-CLEAN® Chooses APCO Packaging of Chicago As Contract Packager

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OxiClean stain remover cleans up: two new packaging lines at contract packer APCO Packaging, Inc. run a wide range of sizes of OxiClean stain remover for Orange Glo International.(contract packaging)

Publication: Packaging Digest
Publication Date: 01-FEB-05
Author: Mans, Jack

COPYRIGHT 2005 Reed Business Information, Inc. (US)
Max and Elaine Appel founded Orange Glo International in the 1980s to produce powerful household cleaners without harsh chemicals that are effective and economical to use. Their first product was Orange Glo® wood cleaner and polish, which uses pure orange oil as a key ingredient for its cleaning power and refreshing scent. The company's next big innovation was OxiClean® multipurpose stain remover, a granular product that harnesses simple oxygen as a strong, natural stain fighter.

Rather than build a dedicated production facility, Orange Glo worked with contract manufacturers around the country, including APCO Packaging, Inc., Bridgeview, IL, to produce its products. In 2002, the company decided to consolidate the production of OxiClean, and last year it selected APCO as its Midwest partner. Today, APCO produces about 80 percent of the OxiClean on the market in the U.S.

"We started working with APCO about six years ago, and they have been an outstanding business partner," says Karen Scott, a supervisor in Orange Glo's sourcing department. "They have four lines running our full range of product sizes, including two new lines installed within the past year. Their flexibility and responsiveness help us ensure we meet the needs of all of our customers."

Last year, APCO installed two new packaging lines incorporating fillers from All-Fill, Inc. (www.all-fill.com) to run a wide size range of OxiClean containers. One line uses an 18-head continuous rotary filler that runs 3 1/2,6-, 9 1/4- and 12-lb containers at speeds from 80 to 150 containers/min, while the other uses an intermittent-motion in-line filler that runs 1-, 1 1/2-, 2 1/2- and 8 1/2-lb containers at 120/min. All-Fill was the systems integrator for this entire project, and the equipment was installed at the All-Fill facility for integration, testing, debugging and factory acceptance. All-Fill was also responsible for coordinating installation and training at APCO.

Richpak Machinery, Inc. was the All-Fill representative for this project and was also instrumental in its success, says APCO president Grog Hinton. "Richard May from Richpak suggested we use All-Fill equipment, and we've been very satisfied with them," says Hinton. "All-Fill provided turnkey systems, and we were in operation six months after we first talked to them."

The 1- and 1 1/2-lb containers, which are made from high-density polyethylene, are supplied by Schoeneck Container (www.schoeneck.com); the 2 1/2- to 8 1/2-lb containers, which are made from HDPE, polypropylene or copolymer PP, are manufactured by Berry Plastics Corp. (www.berryplastics.com); while the 9 1/4- and 12-lb containers are made from PP and are supplied by IPL, Inc. (www.iplplastics.com). The 2 1/2- to 12-lb containers are printed by the manufacturers after they are made using an eight- or nine-color ultraviolet dry-offset printing process. Berry Plastics is represented by M. Jacob & Sons (www.mjacobandsons.com), which has a long relationship with Orange Glo and represents a number of packaging component manufacturers to Orange Glo.

The IPL tubs feature built-in tamper-evidence. The lid fits down inside the skirt that goes around the top of the container and can only be opened by removing the tear-strip. The 9 1/4- and 12-lb tubs also feature a skirt-hugging handle that doesn't hang down, so the tubs can go through the rotary filler.

The high-speed rotary filling line, which has the 18-head filler, runs six different plastic containers that hold from 2 1/2 to 12 lb of product. During PD's visit, the line was running the 6-lb and the 9 1/4-lb tubs. A dual denester from Del Packaging, Inc. (www.delpackaging.com) places tubs in two parallel rows on the infeed conveyor, which was supplied by Dorner Mfg. Corp. (www.dorner.com). In this operation, stacks of tubs are placed in vertical magazines, and revolving feeders at the bottoms separate individual tubs and drop them onto the conveyor. This machine cannot run the 9 1/4- and 12-lb tubs because they have attached handles, so a worker manually places these containers on the conveyor. Tubs are conveyed to the All-Fill rotary filler, where a helical feedscrew meters them into the infeed starwheel of the filler, which, in turn, meters them into the filler turret. A sensor monitors containers on the conveyor to the filler and shuts the machine off if no containers are present. The conveyor continues past the front of the filler and picks up the filled containers as they discharge from the filler.

APCO has a sophisticated, high-volume system that meters the ingredients for OxiClean into a horizontal blender, from which it discharges into a large holding bin located next to the filler. A bucket elevator picks up product from the bottom of the bin and lifts it to drop into an overhead holding tank. From there, the dry product discharges into a 5-cu-ft hopper that houses dual augers that meter the product into the filler. A level control in the line from the holding tank into the hopper regulates infeed into the hopper to maintain a consistent level for accurate filling.

Mounted around the top of the rotating filler are 18 funnels that discharge into the containers traveling beneath them. Sealing pads at the bottoms of the funnels sit on top of the tubs and create a tight seal for dust control. The open tops of the funnels travel beneath the two augers, which discharge directly into the funnels. The proper weight of product in a container is achieved by coordinating the respective rotating speeds of the turret and the augers. The filled tubs discharge through a starwheel onto the same conveyor that delivered them to the filler.

Tubs then enter the All-Fill Alpha checkweigher, which incorporates three weight zones; under, accept, over. Out-of-spec tubs are rejected as they leave the checkweigher.

The electronic control system for the checkweigher includes an alphanumeric LCD display plus an individual LED weight display, up to 25 programmable product setups, sample and hold display function, automatic setup of static and dynamic calibration, startup and dynamic self-diagnosis with error messages, auto zero to compensate for product spillage, and digital automatic feedback control to the filler. The standard statistical data package for the checkweigher includes counters for each weight zone and total count, average and standard deviation on the last group of 50 packages, as well as long-term (shift) average weight data and standard deviation.

Based on these results, the checkweigher adjusts the speed of the augers on the filler to maintain the weight of product in the tubs within the set limits.

Tubs pass beneath a scoop feeder from Palace Packaging Machines, Inc. (www.unscramblers.com) and an insert placer from Del Packaging, neither of which is in use at present. The scoop feeder was designed for round scoops, and OxiClean has switched to square scoops, which the feeder cannot handle. It is being reworked to handle the square scoops. Two-page booklet-style top labels that contain the same information as the inserts have replaced the inserts.

Tubs continue past a Videojet Technologies (www.videojet.com) ink-jet printer that applies a code to the sides, after which the tubs go through a swinging arm that directs them into two lanes. The tubs pass beneath lid applicators in which the lids are placed in inclined magazines. A magazine releases a lid that slides down an inclined chute and extends slightly over the path of the tub. As the tub passes beneath, it pulls the lid free and passes beneath a roller that presses the lid onto the tub. The removal of a lid triggers the release of the next lid, so there is always a lid in place to be picked.

The tubs then pass labelers from Quadrel Labeling Systems (www.quadrel.com) that apply the two-page top labels to the lids. The roll of labels is mounted vertically, and the web of labels is pulled downward over a stripper plate where the label is removed from the web and applied to the lid. A brush mounted adjacent to the stripper plate brushes the label tightly to ensure good adherence. The labels, which are supplied by Lithoflex Corp., are a two-page design in which a user can pull up the top page and read instructions.

Most of the containers are loaded directly onto pallets, but the smaller sizes are sometimes manually packed into corrugated shippers, that are pushed through a Little David top and bottom taper from Loveshaw, an ITW co. (www.loveshaw.com) before palletizing. Pallets are stretch-wrapped by equipment from Lantech.com, LLC (www.lantech.com).

Integration of liquid and powder lines by All-Fill engineers optimized packaging operations at Ultimate Brands. Read more at www.packagingdigest.com/info/ultimate

In-line filler runs 1- to 8 1/2-lb containers

The other new packaging line at APCO runs 1-, 1 1/2-, 2 1/2- and 8 1/2-lb round containers on an All-Fill in-line filler. To start the operation, a worker places containers, which are supplied by Schoeneck Container, on a rotating table that delivers them to a conveyor, where another worker manually inserts scoops. The containers are then conveyed to the filler, which utilizes two servo-driven augers in series. Both augers operate at the same speed, and each fills essentially half of the required amount of product into a container. Each auger discharges through a precision-machined dividing head that splits the flow so that each auger discharges into two containers simultaneously. Thus, product is discharging into four containers simultaneously at each intermittent fill cycle.

A worker manually checkweighs selected containers as they leave the filler and manually adjusts the speeds of the augers to maintain the required container weights. The containers then travel to a six-head rotary capper from Fowler Products Co. (www.fowlerproducts.com) and enter the unit through an infeed screw and a starwheel.

Caps, which are supplied by Phoenix Closures (www.phoenixclosures.com), are dumped into a floor hopper and are conveyed up to an overhead electronic centrifugal sorter. Caps are single-filed around the wall of the sorter by centrifugal force, and a laser system senses whether the caps are oriented with the open side in or out. Incorrectly oriented caps are rejected back into the hopper. Properly oriented caps travel down a chute to a cap-transfer starwheel on the capper. If no bottle is in place to receive a cap, a finger at the end of the chute holds it back from entering the starwheel.

The cap is then picked up from the transfer starwheel by the gripping chuck of the capping heads. The rotating head with the cap descends onto the container, where it tightens the cap to the set torque level. These caps are 89-mm dia, which is relatively large, so they require a high application torque. To handle this load, the Fowler capper is equipped with a nonratcheting hysteresis magnetic clutch having a high torque capability. It features a three-magnet design in which the middle

magnet slips between the two outer magnets. As there is an air gap between the magnets, there are no friction surfaces to wear. The torque level for each capping head is set individually. A horizontal belt mounted opposite of the center starwheel keeps the bottles from turning as the cap is tightened.

The turret of this six-head capper at APCO was designed large enough so that in the future, six more capping heads can be spaced between the existing heads to double the output of the unit. It incorporates a motorized system to raise the turret at the push of a button to handle different height containers and to raise it to its top position for changeovers.

Containers leaving the capper travel through an induction-sealing unit from Enercon Industries Corp. (www.enerconind.com) to seal the aluminum foil on the insides of the caps to the tops of the jars and then pass a Videojet ink-jet printer that applies a product code. The containers are then pressure-sensitive-labeled. During PD's initial visit, APCO was using a labeler from QLC, Inc. (www.qlc-labeling.com) that employs two labeling heads from Label-Aire, Inc. (www.label-aire.com) that apply a round, two-page label to the top of the container and a wraparound label to the side. However, to achieve higher operating speeds, APCO installed a labeler from Multi-Tech Systems International, Inc. (www.multitechsystems.com) that has three Model 35PW p-s labeling heads--one top and two side units--from Accraply, Inc. (www.accraply.com). "At present, we're applying a single wraparound label to the side of the container, but this new labeler will let us apply two side labels if we need to," says APCO president Greg Hinton. "In addition, it gives us a redundant labeling capability if the side labeler we're running malfunctions." Labels are supplied by Lithoflex Corp.

The labeler applies top labels from a vertical roll mounted above the unit, while the side-label rolls are mounted horizontally on either side. A brush installed beside the top label-application head secures the label to the lid, while a belt running along the side of the conveyor downstream of the labeler turns the container and affixes the side label. A bottle sensor detects each container as it approaches the labeler, while label sensors detect the gaps between each of the top and side labels, to ensure proper placement of the labels to the moving bottles.

After labeling, bottles pass a Marsh ink-jet printer from Videojet Technologies and then are manually cased, taped and palletized.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Reed Business Information, Inc. (US)