Quiet Progress in Folder/Gluers
Folding and gluing equipment manufacturers don't run the loudest marketing campaigns for their products, but there's plenty of innovation in the marketplace to shout about.
FOLDER/GLUERS DON'T attract the attention that new presses and prepress software do. But that's not to say manufacturers of this finishing equipment don't have a reason to brag.
According to Craig Jasper, sales director for converting equipment and product packaging at Roberts PolyPro, in the past five years, significant advancements have been made in the safety, quality, and value-added areas of folding and gluing equipment. With safety a top priority for every converter, some companies have taken such measures as building rooms and screens around their gluing technology to increase safety, Jasper said.
Chris Raney, vice president of folding carton products for Bobst Group, acknowledged there was a period in the late 1980s and early 1990s in which there was stagnation in folder/gluer equipment development. This changed when Bobst introduced the Alpina line in 1998.
According to Raney, Alpina introduced many innovative features such as a built-in blank aligning module, 4- and 6-corner hooks on a mobile frame using one hook design, a flipper ejector, and in-line ejection of non-conforming boxes. He especially highlights the Gyrobox module.
"The ability to turn a box through 90 degrees on a machine of straight-line configuration eliminated the need for slow and space-inefficient right-angle machines," says Raney. "Alpina with Gyrobox opened the door for designers to create more complex and unique designs."
As for quality, today's folder/gluers face a growing challenge—having the capabilities to keep up with the ever-increasing demands of new-and-improved folding carton designs and innovations. "All around you're seeing improvements in quality," Jasper said. "The printing technology is much improved and you have high-quality coatings now that require gluers that can handle them without scuffing and harming the package. Gluers had to change to accommodate this improved quality, especially in tobacco, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries, where the demand for quality is the highest."