"Virtually every top flight carton plants in the world will have BOBST folder-gluers in their machine park," says Jacques Reymond, Head of Sales and Marketing for BOBST’s folder-gluer product line. "And very many of them will have a machine from our EXPERTFOLD folder-gluer range.
"Since its launch five years ago this year, EXPERTFOLD has become the workhorse of the carton industry as far as folding and gluing is concerned, says Jacques Reymond. "That's largely because it can be configured to handle products as diverse as small pharma cartons, boxes made from plastics, general food cartons, high added-value packaging and large cartons made from litho-laminates."
Jacques Reymond says that whatever the need there is an EXPERTFOLD configuration to suit it because the range has been designed to offer a choice of widths, a large number of modules with differing functionality, and a choice of peripherals that add everything from automated packing to in-line quality checking of the print, surface and die-cutting of every single carton. "This variety of widths, the modularity and the large choice of peripherals create the very special attribute of the EXPERTFOLD range — huge versatility."
Most users configure the width of their EXPERTFOLD line to match their core business, with 50 cm, 80 cm and 110 cm versions being those most suitable for folding carton applications. The wide choice of modules available means that lines can be configured to precisely reflect what the customer needs. "That versatility of the EXPERTFOLD I spoke of really comes into play in the number of modules and peripherals that the user can choose from," says Jacques Reymond. "These allow them to process thousands of different styles, from straight-line cartons to immensely complex multi-point or double wall boxes and also to carry out a large number of extra processes such as embossing or QA."
As an example, Jacques Reymond explains that a pharma carton maker may need a folder-gluer capable of handling solely straight-line boxes, but may want to put a unit into the configuration that will allow them to quickly and effectively apply Braille embossing in-line. "By taking the application of Braille away from the die-cutting process you save time, reduce the number of stops downstream, and generally improve the consistency of your Braille dots." Applying up to eight lines of Braille, including in the transverse direction, the ACCUBRAILLE GT can handle folder-gluer speeds of up to 115,000 boxes per hour. "As well as the direct production benefits the tooling is cheaper and tools can also be made on-site and made very quickly," says Jacques Reymond. "At BOBST we pioneered this technology and the ACCUBRAILLE GT is the second generation of our rotary Braille embossing systems. Other suppliers with in-line Braille systems are still only just starting out but to date we have installed close to 200 ACCUBRAILLE and ACCUBRAILLE GT units worldwide."
Accurate folding comes as standard
All widths of EXPERTFOLD folder-gluers run at speeds up to 450 meters per minute and Jacques Reymond says that the EXPERTFOLD uses a variety of technologies to ensure that users can capitalize on this performance. "Our patented Accufeed unit is standard to the machine and reduces feeder setting time by 75%. Also we have designed the EXPERTFOLD so that 98% of the tooling stays on the machine, reducing make-ready times even further. The built-in blank aligner within the Accufeed unit ensures perfect alignment of the blank as it enters the folding process, which is a pre-requisite for consistent, high speed folding and gluing."
Adding to this performance are a range of peripheral units designed for getting blanks into, or finished boxes out of, the line. Jacques Reymond cites the HANDYFEEDER pick and place feeder as being a typical performance enhancing peripheral from BOBST. "It uses a gauge-less system and integrated cut-alignment module to deliver precise and careful feeding of materials into the folder-gluer, without friction, without risk of marking and without setting problems. That helps users run faster and to run more consistently." Alongside HANDYFEEDER, BOBST offers even more highly automated units designed to maximize outputs from the EXPERTFOLD. These include its EASYFEEDER GT pre-feeder with batch inverter and its CARTONPACK GT automated packer.
As Jacques Reymond notes, the modularity of the EXPERTFOLD and the range of peripherals available mean that users can tailor their line to the precise needs they have today, while also having the option to modify it in the future if their markets change. "As well as the modules and peripherals we also create special devices for customers for jobs that present them with particular challenges. So if they suddenly start getting large amounts of work for something like chip scoops or wallet fold boxes, we can supply a solution that will augment their existing equipment."
In today's demanding packaging market, ensuring that every carton you produce meets the customers' specifications is essential, especially as 'zero fault' packaging supply contracts and filling line performance clauses become more prevalent. EXPERTFOLD is perfectly placed to be the last line of defense against defective cartons reaching the customer says Jacques Reymond, both in terms of gluing and of processes further upstream. "To do this the folder-gluer has to be able to work hand in hand with systems that check glue patterns, bar codes and pharma codes etc. At BOBST we have worked with all of the main players in the field for many years, interfacing their systems with our folder-gluers. As well as working seamlessly with these systems the EXPERTFOLD has our 'flipper' ejector which can be triggered by the QA system, ejecting only the defective carton however fast the machine is running ."
BOBST is constantly developing and innovating says Jacques Reymond, both in terms of new machines and in applying radical technology to existing products. "We have now made the ACCUCHECK in-line 100% inspection system available to EXPERTFOLD users. It checks every carton for defects such as missing print and color variation, as well as identifying die-cutting and board surface faults. As the folder-gluer is usually the last process that cartons go through before they are sent off to the customer this constitutes a valuable final check that can save users a lot of time and a lot of money."
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