The machine is designed to feed, label and restack flat cartons and sleeves and is used by Nairns to prepare their products for export markets, such as the US and UAE which have specific packaging regulations for ingredient and nutritional information, and/or barcode formats.
Products are fed via a friction feeder so that a stack of cartons can be loaded and continually filled; this is matched to an intelligent indexing shingle belt to create an autonomous feed-label-restack solution. The machine delivers a high accuracy label placement (within +/- 1mm), which can be positioned anywhere on the product via the intuitive and user friendly digital ALstep controller. Augmented by a sensor control system, the shingle belt is also able to self adjust in response to varied product sizes without operator intervention.
The integrated ALstep T print and apply labelling head and Zebra print engine enables the machine to have a real time label printing function which can print barcodes, nutritional information and simple graphics, including Arabic and Chinese fonts; and by making use of Windows print drivers, it is as user friendly as a standard home or office printer.
The printer function can also be isolated from the solution, allowing Nairns to use the machine as an applicator for pre-printed labels, maintaining flexibility for a variety of promotional, award winning, sponsorship and seasonal labelling requirements.
This ALfeed machine was built by our UK team who have a long standing relationship with Nairns and specialise in a wide range of feed and handling systems. It is one of a number of ALTech machines installed within Nairns, including solutions designed for the application of transparent tamper tabs to provide a seal on filled and formed boxes. These machines are also based on the ALstep labelling head, demonstrating the modularity of our systems and providing Nairns with the continuity of operator functions as well as commonality of spare parts.