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issue: November 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine European Edition

Supplier Innovations
Packaging Materials and Equipment


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Because protecting the inside of an appliance during transport is just as important as protecting the exterior, Tesa Tape, Inc. (Charlotte, NC, U.S.) has developed a new line of low surface energy (LSE) tapes that keeps interior appliance components in place.

Tesa Tape

The packaging tapes are said to combine a revolutionary new backing with a high-performance synthetic rubber adhesive system that is not only strong, but closely conforms to parts and leaves zero residue.

Christine Melchers, product manager, explains that the heavy-duty Tensilized polypropolene (TPP) backing is specially formulated to provide high tensile strength in a thinner backing than traditional TPP tapes. “The advantage of this is that it has better conformability around the surfaces, but maintains the strength,” she explains. “So when you are going around the side of a refrigerator door, for example, or going from the drawer to the shelf to keep those parts in place, a stiff backing wouldn’t fully adhere to every part, whereas this backing will.”

The LSE tapes are strong enough to pass manufacturer drop tests, she adds, and were designed so that the elongation is dramatically reduced by up to half of that of traditional TPP tapes. This eliminates the tape from stretching, which could reduce the adhesive quality.

The new line’s synthetic rubber adhesive was developed to provide a secure bond to low energy surfaces and, when removed, does not leave adhesive residue and filament delamination. According to Ms. Melchers, the technology and formulation behind the residue-free tapes are unique to Tesa. “We actually extrude our own film, whereas a lot of other companies buy the film and put the adhesive on themselves,” she says. “So we can control every step of this process, and that makes it a lot easier for our R&D department to come up with the best process.”

She adds that the LSE line’s residue-free property—as well as the backing strength—also makes it useable for surface protection of corners and edges, adhering to both powder-coated and stainless-steel surfaces.

The new line includes three tapes—the 53000 PVI, 53200, and 53300—all designed with different backing thicknesses to address specific needs. The strongest of the line, the 53000 PVI, has a total thickness of 4.9 mils and a tensile strength of 210 lb/in, making it ideal for protection of both refrigerator interiors as well as exteriors. Applications requiring a thinner backing and more conformability might specify the 53300, which has a total thickness of 4.5 mils and a tensile strength of 165 lb/in. The thinnest tape, the 53200, is 4.0-mils thick and has a tensile strength of 155 lb/in.

Although initially designed with refrigerator manufacturers in mind, Ms. Melchers says the tapes can be used in several applications, including stove burners, washers and dryers, and printer peripherals and other office equipment.

Thimon

A new shrink hood system from French company Thimon is said to offer appliance manufacturers easy-to-use, flexible equipment that can handle a variety of applications, from refrigerators and dryers to vending machines.

The system consists of two pieces of equipment—the Cover-Pal 2000 Évolution hooding machine and the Hot Pal 2000 shrink frame machine. The newest product, the Cover-Pal, can handle up to four different hood sizes at random, enabling it to consecutively package different appliance models.

According to Jean-Christophe Jaconelli, general manager, the system was designed with flexibility in mind. The hoods are prepared (sealed) and rest upon vertical plates called “separators.” Just before entering the Cover-Pal, the pallet size is measured, and the information is processed through a PLC, which then communicates the amount of material needed to package the product.

“The transfer module of the machine then comes on top of the separator that holds the hood size corresponding to the appliance, picks it up, and transfers it to the hooding module,” Mr. Jaconelli says. “A Cover-Pal equipped with four film reels and four separators, therefore, is able to hood four different product sizes.” In one application, Thimon’s system was able to package washing machines ranging from 480- to 980-mm wide, 438- to 790-mm long, and 680- to 1,260-mm high.

Unlike other systems, in which the hood comes from the top of the machine, the Cover-Pal is designed so that hood comes from underneath, is picked up, wound around a roller, and then transferred above the hooding fingers. “These catch the lower part of the hood and take it down over the appliance,” Mr. Jaconelli explains. “During the hooding operation, the hood is permanently guided in order to avoid any contact between the hood and the appliance, no matter its height.”

The equipment is also said to be extremely fast and can package more than 200 pieces per hr. Hood preparation, which includes sealing and cutting, and the transfer and hooding operations are done simultaneously—as opposed to consecutively—so there is no dead time. Also, because the hood transfer head is able to rotate, the packaged product stays in place, further speeding up the whole process.

Another feature of the system is that the mechanical components are at the operator’s level, making the unit easy to control and safe. “The Cover-Pal is extremely safe, mostly because its subassemblies are at the ground or the operator’s level, but also thanks to the anti-fall devices that prevent any risk of drop of the transfer or hooding frames,” Mr. Jaconelli notes.

The Hot-Pal 2000, which blows hot air onto the packaged appliance and “shrinks” it, is connected to the outfeed of the Cover-Pal and is said to also ensure safe operation, as well as high shrink quality. The unit is designed with air diffusers that reportedly maintain constant temperature and eliminate thermal inertia. The end result is a tight wrap, without creases, even when various pallet dimensions are shrink-wrapped. The company says this also enables the use of thinner film, which can help save costs.

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
tesa tape, inc.
 

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