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Global demand for corrugated boxes is expected to rise 4% annually to 234 billion square meters by 2017, a considerable acceleration from the 2007-2012 period. Largely driven by economic resurgence and growth in manufacturing goods packaging, competition among corrugated box manufacturers has never been greater.

A Message for Corrugated Box Manufacturers: Deliver faster, cheaper and better boxes.

Packaging buyers are increasingly demanding more from corrugated box manufacturers. Not only are you now expected to deliver boxes in record time, but also at unbeatable prices. In conjunction with an increased selection of available adhesive dispensing systems offering the latest technology, the bar for corrugated box manufacturers to deliver 100% defect-free boxes has been raised.

Upgrading Your Flexo Folder Gluer For Maximum Performance

So, how do you ensure your flexo folder gluer is ready for the zero defect challenge? It all starts with selecting the right glue station for your specific application and making the necessary upgrades to ensure it’s equipped for maximum performance. Corrugated Box Manufacturers Demand

Since the advent of faster, direct-electric valves, and advances in adhesive technology, jetting the glue from a distance away from the board has become a valid method for applying adhesives.

This non-contact gluing method has gained in popularity due to its ability to reduce the risk of board marking and skew, as well as the fact that it requires very little “housekeeping,” when compared to contact gluing. As an added bonus, the all-electric, non-contact system does not have the glue pattern applicator, or related wear items typically associated with an air-operated contact system.

Previously, non-contact glue stations could only be used for top-down gluing. In order to produce inside and outside glue lap, machines required glue stations, along with associated fluid handling system components, to be mounted on both the tab-side and 4th panel sides of the machine.

Further research and development efforts have since led to the creation of non-contact glue stations that offer increased configuration flexibility, as well as new glue valve technology, which is capable of operating at higher glue pressure.

By equipping your flexo folder gluer with a glue station that offers both top-down and bottom-up non-contact glue application capabilities, you can really maximize the utility of your machine. Installed on one side of the machine, the operator can quickly set it to run for either inside or outside glued boxes with only the pull of a ring.

Other benefits include:

  • Eliminates the need to invest in gluing equipment for both sides of the machine
  • Avoids potential risks of board marking, board skewing and applicator headwear associated with contact gluing technologies
  • Ideal for machines that can only mount a glue station on one side

Quantity and Quality: The Importance of Quality Assurance Equipment

We can’t stress enough, how important it is for corrugated box manufacturers to select the right glue station in order to maximize flexo folder gluer performance and keep up with demand. Quantity however, is only half of the story.

As advances in adhesive dispensing technology have been made, expectations for supplying perfect boxes have increased. While efficiently delivering boxes in record time and at unbeatable prices is an advantage in and of itself, what if you could also guarantee that every box is 100% defect-free. Would you buy from a company that wasn’t supplying 100% defect-free boxes when they could? No. So why would your customers? This is where the other half comes in: Quality.

Delivering a quality product not only increases client retention, but also helps you stand out from the competition. By equipping your flexo folder gluer with state-of-the-art camera inspection systems and the latest developments in adhesive application technology, you can actually gain control of what you ship.

Don’t wait for an unhappy customer when you can ensure a perfect box before it even leaves your door.

Download Your Guide to the Perfect Box Today

Valco Melton offers a variety of solutions for upgrading your flexo folder gluers including the new 3NCR Non-Contact Glue Station for Top-Down and Bottom-Up Applications, and our ClearVision® Camera Inspection System, an all-in-one quality assurance program that features GlueChek, FoldChek and BundleChek technology to ensure defect-free products from your flexo folder gluer.

To learn more about our entire line of solutions, download our Corrugated e-book today by clicking here.


adhesive dispensing equipment checklistAlthough the dispensing equipment you select is of the utmost importance to ensure a quality adhesive pattern is applied precisely and without error, box makers often overlook the importance of preventative maintenance. Let’s be honest, it’s usually an afterthought. We have seen time and time again, problems relating to adhesive dispensing equipment that could have been avoided if the box maker would have just followed a few simple steps, every so often, to make sure their glue machinery was running at 100% efficiency. To help you avoid this unwanted downtime and make sure your glue patterns are always at their best, here are seven preventative maintenance procedures for better box manufacturing.

1 – Overtime, particles and coagulated glue can build up on filter screens causing restricted adhesive flow and excessive stress on the adhesive. Cold glue filters should be checked once per week after installation or after a change in the type or brand of adhesive. Depending on the amount of build up, adjust the frequency to accommodate your dispensing equipment.Remember, opening the filter housing allows air into the system, so make sure you have the proper purge valve setup before you begin.

2 – Make sure glue pressure follows machine speeds. For box makers, the glue regulator is the most important adhesive delivery component in determining how much glue volume is applied at a given machine speed. If you experience too much glue on the joint when the machine slows down, or there is not enough glue when the machine speeds up, it could be the regulator. To test fluid regulators without an electronic pressure control, use the T-handle on old style regulators and the Auto/Manual switch on the new style regulators to manually check the function. If pressure does not increase or decrease, a simple repair is in order. Valco Melton regulator repair kits for corrugated box manufacturers provide a quick and inexpensive solution.

Quick disconnect fitting tips
A quick disconnect fitting tip.

3 – Applicator heads and nozzles must be kept clean. Buildup over long periods of time and a lack of cleaning after the machine is down can cause added downtime. Likewise, worn applicator heads can cause poor pattern quality (ticking at the end of the pattern, buildup on the leading edge or even missing glue lines). Applicator heads are wear items, subject to the abrasiveness of paper and are susceptible to some chemical corrosion after prolonged exposure. Quick-disconnect fittings are another critical component to achieving quality adhesive patterns. Loose applicator heads are prone to leaking. To avoid issues, inspect the fittings to verify that the applicator head is properly secured to the valve. Replace quick-disconnect fittings as required.

4 – Check to see if the Electronic Pressure Control (EPC) speed-tracking curve is accurately setup. Doing so will help you to achieve optimum pattern volume at all machine speeds. If the EPC is not working properly, you are relying 100% on operator skill to monitor adhesive output. This requires constant adjustments in order to maintain proper adhesive volume. Without a functioning EPC, the amount of wasted adhesive can quickly become a costly problem.

5 – A slipping encoder can cause intermittent pattern length variations, which can mean a troubleshooting nightmare for maintenance departments. Encoders should be regularly inspected for smooth rotation, good wheel or timing belt condition and secure mounting. Box makers should also pay close attention to common problem areas such as incorrect belt tension, damaged encoder cables or loose cable connections. By adding simple encoder maintenance to your schedule you can prevent extended downtime and hassle.

6 – Glue hose lines back to the regulator should be inspected for kinks and flushed periodically to check for clogged sections. An inexpensive section of tubing can become a costly problem for corrugated box manufacturers if it causes a flow restriction, as this results in poor glue volume at high machine speeds. Don’t overlook the pump suction line. A damaged suction line could cause air pockets to get into the glue line. This results in skips in the glue pattern or no glue pattern at all. Signs of leakage are not always obvious; plan now to avoid problems later.

an image of a tab scrap glue application problem
Example: tab scrap glue application problem.

7 – Ensure there are no false triggers from tab scrap. Corrugated box manufacturers operating with tab-side installations are often plagued by flying tabs from the slotter. False triggers from tab scrap can be the result of broken or dull knives. Replacing worn out knives along with routine maintenance is recommended to combat false triggers from tab scrap. Additionally, a dual scanner setup using two photo eyes, along with control settings can help block false triggers.

image of corrugated boxes in bundlesThe corrugated box manufacturing industry has long been focused on reducing waste as one of the key drivers of efficiencies. Like most box makers, you are probably focused on reducing waste in your facility. However, most people fail to realize the complex interdependent relationships that exist between quality, waste, product price, cost and production volume. What if “increasing” waste built value for your customers or increased your revenue and “decreasing” waste actually increased the cost of the box or even lowered sales? With so much at stake, it pays to take some time to more closely examine the tipping point between quality and waste.

What is Waste Anyway?

image of corrugated box waste
corrugated box waste

There are actually two separate types of waste – internal and external. Internal waste is typically what the corrugated box industry refers to as “waste.” Internal waste represents any defective sheet or box that is produced and not shipped to the customer. However, if you don’t catch the defective product and it ends up in the hands of the customer, it is considered external waste. External waste is rarely, if ever, discussed unless brought up by the customer. The cost is only accounted for in the form of credits for defects returned. Some customers do not return many defective or problem products to the corrugated box maker, resulting in an inefficient and distorted feedback loop.

Misleading Numbers

Through our investigations, we have found that the costs tracked for external waste are more often larger than the internal waste figures. Furthermore, customer complaints, credits and feedback are a minority of the actual rate of defective product that customers are receiving. What this means is that some customers are bearing much of the direct costs (downtime, lost productivity, wasted products) associated with external scrap rates, while box makers are bearing much of the direct costs associated with internal scrap rates.

image of unsatisfied option check-markedIf customer complaints were, in fact, true indicators of the external scrap rates, this model would be useful for making operational decisions. However, discussions with end-users have shown that customers are not complaining about the vast majority of problems. Similarly, many box plants don’t complain about every hiccup in their machines or every minor issue with their paper – that’s the norm and they are used to it. Because this feedback loop is broken, many corrugated box makers have a warped view (literally) of how much scrap they’re actually sending their customers.

Options

Two clear options are available to box makers for handling waste. First, do a better job of finding all defects before shipment and remove them from the production stream, increasing internal scrap rate and improving quality. Alternatively, send defects to customers in an effort to reduce internal waste, but increasing external scrap rates and decreasing quality. What are box makers expected to do? Is sacrificing quality worth the savings of reducing internal waste? What impact will this have on your business?

Possible Solution

The secret to improving both internal and external waste is not only to identify the defective products and remove them from the production stream, but also to identify the root causes of the scrap production and address them. Investment in quality assurance systems for box inspection, operator training, as well as PM discipline and keeping equipment current can both identify scrap and reduce its root causes. If management is committed to solving problems on the floor that are causing waste, not only will less defective product be produced internally (internal waste) but also less defective product will be shipped to customers (external waste). In addition, profits will improve and customer retention will increase, which directly improves the bottom line. Finding the problem quickly through quality assurance devices and not having them occur from the other improvement measures will decrease internal and external scrap rates and improve the ROI performance of the business.

End Result

If investment in quality assurance systems, operator training, improvement in preventative maintenance programs and an upgrade program for production machinery can reduce the internal scrap rate, then the external scrap rate will be significantly reduced. Box makers will improve profits and keep happy customers who shouldn’t need to complain about the products they receive.

Why pay the price of the traditional corrugated box manufacturing industry’s approach for quality, counting pennies and losing dollars.

Download or request a free infographic depicting the difference in cost and value from decreasing scrap versus increasing quality here.

The ClearVision Gluechek Monitor
The ClearVision Gluechek Monitor

Check out this new case-study published by PaperBoard Packaging on Minnesota Corrugated Box after they implemented ValcoMelton’s ClearVision GlueChek System: Eliminating Glue Issues to Create Perfect Boxes. Minnesota Paper Box is mentioned by PaperBoard as having over 250,000 square ft of space in its state-of-the-art facility.

This is one of many positive stories that I have received about box companies that have added camera inspection systems to their corrugated production lines. If you’d like to find out more about Valco Melton’s ClearVision GlueChek System and what it can do for you, let me know here.

Corrugated Board
Corrugated Board

Today, the corrugated box industry is very competitive.  Not only do you need to deliver corrugated boxes in record times at unbeatable prices, but with the various technologies available, the standard requirements for corrugated box manufacturers have been set extremely high.  You are now expected to deliver flawless, 100% defect-free boxes. In an effort to help you manufacture boxes at the highest possible level, we have gathered together a few important points, learned from over 60 years in the industry.

  1. Keep it clean! I’m sure many of you are tired of hearing those three words. But, as many others will tell you, it wouldn’t need to be said, if everyone made sure to do it. If you are working with an older glue pot and wheels, you know they tend to generate a little glue slinging. This can affect the quality of the glue joint and create stickers where boxes in the bundle will stick together. Glue pot and wheels can also create adhesive contamination with dust and debris. Additionally, the metered amount of adhesive is hard to maintain to ensure a proper bond. As for adhesive applicators, although they are the cleanest choice, it is important to check them regularly to avoid possible nozzle or applicator clogging.
  2. Minimize any possibility of human error. This may seem impossible to some, but it can be done. When working with different sized board panels and speed requirements in the corrugated box industry, it is necessary for the operator to constantly adjust the pattern length and placement in order to keep a consistent and high quality adhesive application. This is a time consuming task; any distraction can cause a mis-adjustment that will result in product loss. It is now possible to upgrade your adhesive application system to a gluing station with automated pattern changes or auto-glue, which ensures a proper glue-lap joint regardless of the length of the tab or panel.
  3. Ensure that the board has been glued, folded and printed properly. These days this is possible by incorporating a quality assurance vision inspection system into your process. Quality assurance has 3 components: identify the non-conforming product, remove it from the production line, and monitor the lines’ statistics to hold plant operations accountable. All 3 are possible in ways not imagined five years ago in the corrugated box manufacturing industry, with vision-based quality assurance. Snapshots of defective products are saved and catalogued. Machine performance can be monitored remotely and statistically analyzed. The same statistics enable managers to be aware of developments on converting lines as they occur and to take corrective action in a timely fashion.
  4. Scrap can blotch your reputation. For a flawless result, incorporate a scrap or tab removal system to prevent hanging scrap that has not been properly cut after being folded into the box.
Bundle Ejection in Action
Bundle Ejection in Action

5. Get rid of defective boxes before they make it onto your delivery truck. Bundle ejection systems are used in conjunction with a quality assurance system to guarantee that the defective boards are removed from manufacturing and not shipped to the customer. As the second major component of a Quality Assurance System in paper converting, removing defective product from the line automatically is unparalleled in regards to effectiveness. All other options rely on operators to sort product or catch errors and take them out of the stream. Automatic ejection takes care of the removal without interrupting production.

By implementing these tips into your manufacturing process today, you will begin seeing its direct impact on the quality of your corrugated boxes. If you are interested in hearing more about any of these topics, please let me know!

To get your free, downloadable copy of this information with an additional 2 bonus tips! follow this link For additional information or to speak directly with one of our leading gluing and quality assurance experts, contact us here

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More and more, manufacturers within the industry are realizing the benefits of providing perfect boxes to their customers… improved client trust and retention, fewer instances of damaged product due to defective boxes, increased volume, and a higher price per box.  We noticed this change as it was happening years ago and started quickly working on new technology to meet the required need to innovate the old standard.

Well, a young, dynamic company named ClearVision Technologies, Inc. out of Vancouver, Canada, started by a group of talented entrepeneurs, beat everyone to the punch.  With a devote focus to solve the industry’s issue by creating the best camera inspection technology, and to do it first, they were recognized by the very strongest companies as the solution that could actually guarantee a perfect box for its customers. Their expertise built from years of research and working one on one with customers to discover an innovative A few clearvision team members and valco melton.vision inspection solution, produced thousands of real examples showing exactly how they could now do this.  After successful installation at one of the largest integrators, the product went to market.  As a result, it wasn’t hard for others to realize the decision to invest in ClearVision™.

Valco Melton quickly recognized that ClearVision™ had become the corrugated industry standard. As the leading adhesive dispensing company in the industry for almost 40 years, we wanted to make sure that the camera inspection experts joined our team.  The synergies of the two companies were perfect, and so ClearVision™ was added to Valco Melton’s umbrella of solutions for adhesive dispensing and vision inspection.

With the added knowledge and experience from Valco Melton’s adhesive application division, ClearVision™ has continued to show the industry how it can also find peace in The Perfect Box™.  To date, more than 284 box plants worldwide have discovered the gains and additional cost benefits with ClearVision™ box inspection and bundle ejection systems:

  • Detection systems only spray bad boxes.
  • Operators cannot be relied upon to remove bad boxes.
  • Research shows fewer than 10% of sprayed boxes are removed.
  • You cannot promise your customers 100% quality unless you are certain of removing non-conforming product.

To learn more about how ClearVision’s patented camera technology is changing the way box makers do business, and how you too can take advantage of this opportunity to deliver more value to your customers click here.

Despite a wide range of opinions and options in regards to manufacturing in the corrugated industry, the most successful box makers worldwide all seem to agree on one thing; that is, to provide customers with anything less than defect-free boxes 100% of the time is unacceptable. GlueChek Vision Inspection CameraIt used to be that manufacturers had to expect a certain margin of error, running machines slowly, and spending time manually checking each bundle as best they could to ensure each customer was going to keep coming back. With new vision technology innovations out in the market and successfully guaranteeing The Perfect Box™, bad box excuses are now just excuses. Customers have found that there are companies with camera inspection technology on their production lines that can actually produce a complete and perfect bundle at extremely high speeds without the need for operator intervention. This means less waste, higher production rates, and a guarantee that boxes once delivered won’t cause manufacturing problems for the end user.

Do you want to hear more? Request additional information by clicking here.

This just in! Another exciting happening has just recently been released to the public by Valco Melton.  You are hearing it here first!

I am excited to officially announce that Valco Melton, a world leading designer and international marketer of adhesive application equipment and quality assurance (QA) systems is pleased to announce the acquisition of ClearVision Technologies, Inc. of Vancouver, Canada.

ClearVision Technologies, Inc. has become the market leader in the development and engineering of vision-based inspection products for corrugated box manufacturing. Since 2004, ClearVision Technologies has extensively pioneered intelligent camera technologies for packaging markets and has developed a top-tier suite of solutions that have been leading the industry in bringing QA capabilities to new heights. ClearVision will now become a brand name of quality assurance (QA) solutions by Valco Melton.

The acquisition will complement the Valco Melton family of products, combining ClearVision Technologies’ expertise in vision systems with Valco Melton’s world-wide coverage for service and support. This acquisition is another example of Valco Melton’s continued commitment towards being the world leader in adhesive dispensing and QA systems. To learn more about our organization and vision for the future, we invite you to please contact us by visiting here.

 

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