co ver story - Kids Healthy Foods Home Page



co ver story - Kids Healthy Foods Home Page
A new packaging line at California Aseptic Beverages LLC., Fontana, CA, is the first line in
the U.S. running the unique Tetra Classic Aseptic tetrahedral package.
Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor
alifornia Aseptic Beverages LLC, Fontana,
CA, is on the fast track with Tetra Pak
Inc. CAB started less than three years
ago, and it already has five Tetra Pak lines
including the A/3, which is Tetra Pak’s fastest
drink box machine, and the United States’ only
A/1 machine that produces Tetra Pak’s Tetra
Classic Aseptic tetrahedral package.
Carlos Manrique, contract manufacturing
manager for Tetra Pak, says, “Tetra Pak established its
relationship with California Aseptic back in 2009 and
immediately noticed the very customer-oriented focus
and strategic business approach of the co-packer.
California Aseptic has since transformed the entire
floor plan and facility, maintaining the state-of-the art
capabilities for packaging products, with several Tetra
Pak filling machines installed.
“Their commitments to innovation and good
service are definitely keys in this business. California
Aseptic Beverage is one of the first co-packers to have
a Tetra Classic machine installed in the U.S. and their
work will come to support the introduction of the
package in the North American market.”
Mickies 100 percent juice
The A/1 form/fill/seal machine produces Tetra
Classic Aseptic tetrahedral packages from a flexoprinted, paperboard/foil/polyethylene laminate film.
CAB president Jeff McClelland says,
“California Aseptic is the only co-packer in the
U.S. western states that co-packs 125mL and
200mL high-acid juice boxes for major brands
using Tetra Pak. We started in 2010 with one
TBA 9 line. We now have five lines, including
the A3/Speed, and the A/1 machine. We are the
only plant in the U.S. that has this machine. This
classic package opens up new markets for us,
particularly in the school and youth markets.”
The first packages produced on the A/1are a
quasi in-house brand for McClelland. He has
established a company with his mother and
brother called Kids Healthy Foods LLC that has
introduced a line of 100 percent natural fruit
juices in the Tetra Classic Aseptic packages under
the brand name Mickies Slices.
McClelland says, “My brother and I have always
wanted to get kids away from soda, so when Tetra
Pak came to us to put in the A/1 line, we jumped at
it. We had been thinking about a line of all-natural
juice products with no preservatives or added sugar,
and the Tetra Classic Aseptic is the perfect package
for kids. It lays flat when you set it down instead of
falling over, and the juice doesn’t squirt out when you
stick the straw into the package.
“We looked at school regulations nationwide
to make sure that the products met all of their
requirements. The line has some unique flavor
profiles like pineapple/lemon and orange/mango, and
kids have liked it in taste tests.
“Juice boxes and pouches (Capri Sun) have been
around for some time now, and kids are used to
consuming their beverages out of those packages.
Up until the Tetrahedron packaging that we are
introducing to the U.S. market, there has not been
any real innovation in the category as far as packaging
Continued on page 30
photo by Jennifer Field
cover story
See us at Pack Expo Booth #4357
Two pairs of jaws, operating one pair after the other, seal the film in two directions to
create the unique tetrahedral package.
and presentation. We are confident that
the new Tetrahedron packaging creates
excitement and fun in a category that
has recently been stagnant.”
Classic machine
PD visited CAB when the A/3
machine was installed earlier this year
and did an article about the company
in our May 2012 issue. In this issue,
we are giving you a look at the A/1
machine, which is a classic Tetra Pak
design. The difference from other
Tetra Pak machines is the sealing
section, where the Tetra Classic
Aseptic tetrahedral shaped packages
are formed.
The operation starts with the
packaging material, which is a flexoprinted paperboard/foil/polyethylene
laminate film, that is supplied by
Tetra Pak in large rolls that yield about
29,000 packages each.
The material is pulled from the roll
and, as it travels up the back of the
machine, a thin plastic strip is applied
to one edge of the web to form the
longitudinal seal of the package.
The film continues over the top of
the machine and down into a sterilizing
bath of 160 deg F, 32 percent hydrogen
peroxide solution. A squeegee removes
liquid peroxide, followed by a hot-air
jet that blows off and evaporates the
remaining peroxide.
The film passes an inkjet printer
from Domino North America
that applies the date and product
code, jaw number and line, and lot
numbers to the tube. The system also
identifies boxes made from spliced
material and rejects three consecutive
boxes—the box contining the splice
and the boxes before and after the box
containing the splice.
The flat, sterile material then travels
back up and over a roller at the top
of the machine and begins its descent
through the cross-sealing section of the
machine. As it descends, the material is
wrapped around forming rings, where
the plastic strip is heat-sealed to the
other edge of the packaging material to
form the longitudinal seam.
Next, the tube of film travels
over a filling pipe that runs down
its center. The liquid level inside
the packaging material, which rises
above the filling pipe, is regulated
automatically to achieve the proper
fill in the package. A servo control
moves the material up or down in
Overhead cameras enable four vision-based robots to pick packages off of the conveyor
and place them into cartons. PACKAGING DIGEST OCTOBER 2012
response to a photoelectric sensor
that reads a mark on the package.
Jaws are unique
The tube of film containing the
product then travels through the
closing unit, which consists of four
continuous vertical chains installed
equidistant around the product-filled
tube of film. Each chain has eight
jaws. Unlike other Tetra Pak machines,
which have two opposing sets of jaws
and seal a package in one step, sealing
on the A/1 is a two-step process.
As the filled tube travels downward,
the first pair of opposing jaws close
across the tube of film and form a seal.
As the tube continues moving, the
second pair of opposing jaws, which
are spaced 90-deg around the tube
from the first pair, close to form the
second seal at a 90-deg rotation from
the first seal, thus creating the unique
tetrahedral package.
The jaws are equipped with
induction heating bars that seal the
ends of the cartons. A blade in the
second set of jaws cuts the carton loose
from the tube after the seal has been
made. The sealing step simultaneously
seals the top of the lower carton and
the bottom of the carton above it
Left: The robots place 10 packages into each carton in a complex and precise arrangement. Right: Using three servo axis drives, the
carton former picks the carton blank from a magazine, transfers it through the hot-melt system and forms a perfectly square carton
using a forming head and spring-loaded forming cavity.
before they are cut apart.
The cartons drop onto a horizontal
conveyor and are conveyed past an
automatic sampling system that, at
intervals set by CAB, diverts boxes
for inspection. The system selects
boxes coded 1 to 8 by the printer,
reflecting the sealing jaws on the
vf/f/s machine. If a box is leaking, this
enables CAB to identify which jaw is
Following this, the packages
travel to a Tetra Pak Model 30HS
straw applicator that glues filmwrapped plastic straws to the drink
boxes. The straws are supplied in a
web that passes through a heating
unit that heats the web to soften and
straighten the straws.
To ensure precise application of the
straws, the cartons are lifted up from
the infeed conveyor to a transport
belt, which runs faster than the infeed
conveyor to ensure separation of the
The machine cuts straws from the
supply web and applies hot melt glue
from a Nordson Corp. 3100V unit
to each straw and places it against
the side of the corresponding drink
box. Pressure pads that move with
the cartons help glue the straws to the
packages. A camera after the straw
applicator inspects each carton for
missing straws, and any such cartons
are automatically ejected from the
The A/1 filler and the straw
applicator each have their own
dedicated Allen Bradley programmablelogic controller and HMI from
Rockwell Automation.
Line Monitoring
The line incorporates Tetra Pak’s
Packaging Line Monitoring System
(PLMS), which tracks the performance
Continued on page 32
of the complete packaging line. The
system collects operating data for each
machine and the line as a whole—such
as running and downtime, reason for a
shutdown and other information—and
transmits it every five seconds over the
Rockwell network.
The PLMS also has a historicalanalysis tool that can identify
malfunction causes in the packaging
line and a performance-analysis
program that generates graphs and
reports. All information from the
monitoring system is sent to a separate
line controller, which serves as the
collection point. It then transmits the
data, also over the Rockwell network,
to other PCs in the plant. The data
is also transmitted in real time to the
Tetra Pak headquarters, where experts
can provide advice and troubleshooting
if it is needed.
Integrated system
The Tetra Classic Aseptic Packages
leaving the A/1 machine are conveyed
to an integrated cutting-edge cartoning
system from Delkor Systems Inc. that
is composed of the latest generation
Delkor Trayfecta S series carton former,
four vision-based M3 robots from
Fanuc Robotics America, Inc. and a
Delkor Capstone T series carton closer.
Each machine uses an Allen-Bradley
with Panelview
touchscreens for simple
operation. The control system
interacts with Tetra Pak’s
Packaging Line Monitoring
System to gather production
data and provide for a seamless
transition from filling to
Delkor Systems’ sales
manager, Rick Gessler, says,
“This system is required to
function at an extremely high
efficiency level, with smooth
transitions during production
flavor changes and production
starts and ends.
“There was a large effort
in system programming and
refinement to ensure proper
control during each of these
production phases to minimize
wasted products or packaging.
It was a great team effort by
Tetra Pak and Delkor service
technicians to deliver such a
high-performance system.”
Carton Forming
The cartoning process
begins by forming a highgraphic carton in the Delkor
Trayfecta former. Using three
servo axis drives, the former
picks the carton blank from
a high-capacity magazine,
transfers it with precision
through the Nordson hot-melt
system to apply a pre-defined
adhesive pattern and forms a
perfectly square carton using
a forming head and springloaded forming cavity.
The completed carton is
stripped from the forming
head and ejected onto the
carton transport conveyor with
a positive eject mechanism
that is integral to the forming
head. The ergonomic magazine
allows the system operator to
replenish carton blanks while
the former continues running,
for uninterrupted production.
At the start of production,
the formed cartons are
introduced to the servo-driven
flighted conveyor in the robotic
cell by an escapement device
and are staged for loading PACKAGING DIGEST OCTOBER 2012
within the working range of the robots.
Flexibility is a key consideration for
this application, so future carton
requirements are handled with a
tool-less 3-min changeover based on
cartridge style tooling.
Carton Loading
The tetrahedral-shaped packages
produced on the A/1 filler enter the
robotic cell for packing into cartons
after being routed into two staggered
lanes by a servo-driven diverter. As the
packs transfer to the product belt in the
robotic cell, they are transferred onto
a lower speed belt that maximizes the
package density on the conveyor prior
to loading.
Vision-based product picking
provides speed and flexibility for future
pack-count variations. Each of the
packages is conveyed over a light box
in the conveyor that is monitored by
overhead vision cameras. These cameras
coordinate with the robots to pinpoint
the location and orientation of each of
the packages.
The robot control system tracks
the position and orientation of the
products on the continuous-motion
product conveyor until the robot is
able to pick them off of the belt for
placement into the carton. This process
repeats for each of the four robots, until
all products are removed from the belt
and packed into the cartons.
Products that do not conform to the
pre-defined parameters of the vision
system are allowed to pass through the
system untouched and into a collection
bin at the opposite end of the cell. This
prevents possible downtime associated
with picking products that are nonconforming.
Gessler says, “This operation
requires a tremendous amount of
control. The Tetra Classic Aseptic
packages, which have a straw glued
to their side, are located randomly
on the product conveyor. With
the product and carton in motion,
the robot must orient the gripper
to match the inclined angle of
the product, match the angle of
orientation of the product on
the conveyor, then move in three
dimensions to match conveyor
speed and securely pick the product.
The robot then places the product
into one of 10 pre-defined positions
0 More information is available:
place the packages into cartons
by hand. And they have been
tremendous to work with. They
were here during installation
and start-up and trained our
Sealed cartons are conveyed
past an inkjet printer from
Videojet Technologies Inc. that
applies the date and product
code, after which they travel to a
palletizing station where they are
palletized manually.
See us at Pack Expo Booth #2552
in the carton. What makes this
system remarkable is that the four
robots are coordinating to place
several products per second into a
carton with a very complex pack
Cartons leaving the robotic
packer are conveyed to the Delkor
Capstone T series carton closer. In the
closer, Delkor’s patented intelligent
positioning technology ensures proper
alignment of the carton graphics
during the closing process. Simple toolless changeover allows the carton closer
to match the capabilities of the other
line components.
McClelland says, “I can’t say
enough good things about Delkor.
Their robotic cartoner is the future of
packaging. I am running the entire
line with two people and it would
have taken probably six more to