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Packaging OEMs in the spotlight

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Probably the most successful OEM in Australia is TNA, established by Alf and Nadia Taylor in the 1980s to address the lack of a reliable, high speed packaging machine for the snack food market.

TNA consequently designed and manufactured the Robag machine which was faster and produced less rejects than other machines on the market.

A major point of difference on the machine is the stripper tube closer assembly which ensures that product is dragged away from the seal part of the bag while heat sealing takes place.

The double shaft, double jaw design enables jaws to close one bag and start another at the same time – enabling faster processing. The double jaw design on the standard size machine enables 120 – 200 bags per minute to be filled and closed.

TNA has five or six major competitors worldwide, but all run purely rotary machines ensuring their production rates never meet those on offer from the Robag. Consequently, TNA holds 80-85% of the worldwide market for snack food packaging machines.

Alf Taylor said the secret of maintaining and expanding market share is constant evolution.

“While we have dominated our market for a very long time, we are not complacent about our success,” said Taylor. “We are constantly striving to improve our product through new technology, controls, production efficiencies etc.”

Taylor also offered the advice to other would-be exporters to consider carefully the components and suppliers used – and their availability worldwide.

“With the throughput we promise to our customers, reliability of components is vital. With our machines going to various countries they need to be able to stand up to heavy use without the need for constant downtime repairs. For example, suppliers such as SMC Pneumatics give us the confidence that our machines will work at their best and that if work is required, there will be local support available wherever they end up.”

SMC Pneumatics is involved with many of Australia’s packaging OEMs and recently consulted on a highly specialised one-off machine developed by Andrew Donald Design Engineers (ADDE). The first of its kind in the world, the machine is loaded with plastic components at one end and a fully-packaged, single-use syringe is produced from the other.

“Such technology is a huge step forward – particularly in areas where the packaging process may jeopardise the integrity of the contents,” said Dale Collison, general manager of ADDE.

ADDE was established by Andrew Donald in 1997 with the intention of assembling a team of leading engineers to offer highly specialised, tailored solutions for customers.

“ADDE offers customers extensive control system products and knowledge. We use ‘E-Plan’ for the automated design and tracking of control systems and field electrics, PLC programming of all major brands, SCADA control systems and soft PLCs. Our engineers are conversant in all forms of motor control, servos, stepper control and other specialised motor applications,” he said.

Although not a specialised packaging company, ADDE is involved in manufacturing one-off machines for any industry where a solution is required but hasn’t previously been available.

One OEM that does specialise in packaging equipment is Bud-Pak, who began building packaging machines in 1974 for a niche domestic market. The company has gone on to build specialised turnkey packaging machines for similar markets around the world.

Bud-Pak’s specially built machines fill packages from as small as 25g up to those as heavy as 2t. The machines weigh the incoming raw material to the desired quantity, fill the packages, seal them and, in a new development, automatically stack and wrap them onto pallets directly from the conveyor. The speed of weighing, packing and sealing bags varies according to their size, weight and material being filled.

Sugar, for example, can be weighed and packaged in 1kg bags at the rate of 86 packs per minute, within 1g accuracy, through a single tube VFFS packaging machine which, as far as Bud-Pak management is aware, is the fastest flexible packaging line installed anywhere in the world.

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