StackTeck Ltd. (Brampton, Ontario), a manufacturer of high-volume production tooling solutions for the packaging, medical and consumer products markets, recently invested in automation for its newest in-mold labeling (IML) pilot cell. The company specializes in IML for a variety of packaging applications for leading OEMs, and this investment shows how it continues to vertically integrate to add more capabilities to service its customers, particularly in automation.
Jordan Robertson, StackTeck’s general manager of business development and marketing, says the demand for IML prototyping has been ongoing and growing. To accommodate this growing demand, the company purchased automation systems from several equipment suppliers, including CBW Automation (Fort Collins, Colorado), which designs and manufactures high-speed robots and downstream automation equipment for the plastics injection molding industry. According to Robertson, this automation will maintain the ongoing cell availability to customers, unlike with previous cells which used automation equipment on loan from automation suppliers.
CBW has been supplying StackTeck with IML automation systems since 2007. “We chose CBW because they have a very fast robot system and offer North American support, and they are very innovative and well-suited to special challenges,” Robertson says. “We are very familiar with their IML expertise, having done a wide variety of applications with them—including some big stack mold IML projects up to 600 tons in size.
This system is capable of simulating the cycle time and process of any IML production system. The end of arm tooling for a prototype run can be sourced from any leading IML automation supplier, which enables an accurate pilot version of the production system for any high performance machine.”
This time StackTeck is in a position to purchase the cell, as opposed to borrowing it, Robertson says. “Because we have been working in the IML area for a while now, we are well-known for providing this type of service,” he says. “We are quite busy with the cell, which supports the cost to purchase all of that automation as well as the decision to have the dedicated cell—including the machine— onsite, available for customers.”
The value of the IML pilot cell is that it minimizes the cost of prototyping IML parts. “A molder needs only to purchase molding surface components, a mandrel and a magazine for a particular IML project,” Robertson says. “The rest of the hardware is already in place at StackTeck, including single-cavity mold bases that are suitable for most packaging applications.”
The current IML pilot cell is set up beside a 330-ton Husky test machine, but this is a flexible setup that can be moved to other machines when required. The system is equipped to run a single-cavity mold with automated handling of pre-cut labels, as well as for part de-molding and stacking automation.
According to StackTeck, this new automation helps facilitate the introduction of new IML packages into the marketplace. “We will be very pleased when this is running all of the time,” Robertson says. “There is a regular stream of projects coming through, and we anticipate that to continue.”
For More Information
CBW Automation Inc. / (970) 229-9500