Secondary packaging in tissue


In a market that, especially in recent years, has changed its habits a lot, for tissue companies having the possibility to be flexible even in the packaging phase of their products is a competitive advantage. Here then is the solution of a hybrid machine that bags and bundles, handling secondary packaging in a complete and automatic way.

Online shopping for all kinds of products has now become a daily habit for millions of consumers. A habit that has become even more widespread and entrenched since 2020 following the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, the following have changed accordingly

also the needs of companies, which have had to pay more attention to the types of packaging used to pack their products. Among them are companies in the tissue sector, which have seen an increase in the demand for secondary packaging in plastics or in

paper and cardboard.

New markets, new machine

Against this backdrop, Stax Technologies, a Serbian company that is part of the BW Converting Solutions division of the Barry- Wehmiller Group, devised a machine that would meet the new needs of a market where the pace of change is accelerating. One of the first goals the company set itself was to think of a machine that could do secondary packaging faster, first and foremost. “We designed a solution that would allow tissue products to be packed quickly in boxes, to increase the speed of industrial production, and that would also allow them to be reliably wrapped with film. We therefore decided to develop a machine that could offer more solutions to customers, a hybrid machine”. This was spoken by Veljko Zlatanovic, product life cycle leader of Stax Technologies, who spoke on the subject in Lucca during one of the conferences dedicated to Tissue at Miac 2023. The machine is called Diversa and was designed to be “as compact as possible without losing functionality, to allow working with different materials, and to have a high speed with the least operator intervention,” explains Zlatanovic. In particular, being a hybrid solution, Diversa encompasses two distinct machines: a bagging machine and a case packer; to switch from one processing to the other, a simple adjustment from the panel is sufficient. When used as a case packer, it can work at an operating speed of more than 25 boxes per minute, while the bagging machine can make more than 20 bags per minute. But one of the most interesting features is its extremely compact dimensions. Bundling in several steps but in one flow The efficiency of Diversa is also due to the fact that every operation takes place inside the machine; “everything is integrated in one flow,” says Zlatanovic, no stage of the bundling operation takes place outside the machine. Its functions have also been optimised by extending the processable carton volume to more than 1,400 mm in height, so boxes can be delivered stacked or on pallets to be handled directly with the forklift. The structure of the machine has also been improved, allowing it to handle the boxes more efficiently and, at the same time, to have an increased capacity. Another interesting feature is that everything is done automatically, Diversa can operate for hours without the operator having to intervene, allowing him to focus on other tasks. All operations take place in successive stages: “The first stage in the KDF loading section starts with the separation of the box to be loaded from the stack of boxes. A single carton is taken from the stack, pushed onto a belt and transported to the next section of the machine. It is then dropped onto a semi-stack which is also inside the machine; a kind of partial stacking that allows the machine to run continuously”. The system therefore, explains Zlatanovic, never stops, neither while a new stack of cartons is being loaded nor if a pallet is rejected by the machine, as it is precisely the intermediate stack that allows operations to continue. “In the next phase, one by one the cartons are transferred onto a series of conveyor belts and prepared for the opening phase. A vacuum is used to perform this operation, which allows the carton to be held in place and opened”. This technique, explains the Stax manager, allows the geometry of the carton to be preserved, avoiding possible damage. “Once opened, the wings of the carton are held in place by a strap and prepared, therefore, for the loading of the contents. The next step is the loading of the products, which are then simply pushed into the carton. The last two steps consist of closing the flaps of the box and, finally, sealing, which can be done by gluing or using adhesive tape”.

Controlled management

He mentioned the implementation of the Diversa model’s increased production capacity and its functionality that allows it to perform all operations, from box formation to box loading, using the same hoist. “We have several lanes and sliding elements on which the boxes are moved,” Zlatanovic continues. “And finally, once all the products have been stacked into the desired shape, they exit the section so that the machine can continue to produce another layer of products, without having to stop. The stacked products, at this point, are pushed out of the machine onto another lifter. The latter, which also has the ability to turn the product 90 degrees, allows the stack to be prepared for subsequent activities, depending on the configuration of the plant. The whole line is therefore also more stable when it comes to transporting the products, and the management of their handling is fully controlled; “from the moment they enter the machine to the moment they leave, everything is managed automatically”. 

Hybrid feature

What makes this machine a hybrid, however, is the presence of the “bundler” section which, recalls Zlatanovic, “allows 20 packs per minute”. For this part of the processing, Stax engineers have devised a module that allows no changes to the machine set-up whatsoever, i.e. “it is possible to box or bundle and wrap products without having to handle them differently. Furthermore, it is not necessary to make any changes to the layout of the system should the paper mill or the converter decide, for example, to add the bundling function at a later date”. This is an interesting feature both because it makes it possible to evaluate over time the need to install this function as well, and also because it makes it possible to do so without changing the original layout of the plant, thus saving costs. “It is sufficient to modify the machine parameters and choose the packaging method. Here again, all stages are integrated into the machine, from the infeed of the packs to the closing of the packs and the gluing of the boxes. The modularity thus proves to be “ideal for all productions where there is not much space available and a second packaging method is required, which can be carried out by packing in cardboard boxes or through a bagging machine, which wraps the product in polyethylene film. And again where more transport capacity is needed, for example: we can have two loaders on two different lanes and this further increases production capacity. Diversa therefore offers the possibility of secondary packaging that meets the different demands of the market, without requiring large investments for tissue converters. 

Tissue solutions

Stax Technologies’ product portfolio includes a wide range of primary and secondary packaging machines for toilet and kitchen rolls, as well as folded products such as napkins, handkerchiefs, facial tissue and interleaf products. These are complemented by palletising systems to optimise the entire packaging process, as well as conveying systems and devices. Different is the hybrid solution for tissue wrapping, which combines two machines: a bagging machine and a case packer; switching from one to the other is done with a simple adjustment. The machine can pack up to 25 boxes per minute and make more than 20 bags per minute.

Over 20 years of innovation

Stax Technologies is based in Čačak, Serbia, where it was founded in 2002. “It started producing packaging right away, but the product portfolio has grown every year with more and more innovative solutions,” says Veljko Zlatanovic, product life cycle leader at Stax Technologies. In particular, the company stands out for the development and production of packaging machines for the tissue industry. After rapid development to a team of 450 people, “it now supplies the market with various types of innovative solutions, including in secondary packaging and palletisers”. To date there are 600 installed lines and the Serbian company’s products are present in more than 70 countries worldwide. As of 2019, Stax Technologies is part of the BW Converting Solutions division, the platform expert in solutions for the converting industry of the Barry-Wehmiller Group. Alongside the Serbian company in the division, the Paper Converting Machine Company (Pcmc), Baldwin Technology Co., Winkler+Dünnebier (W+D), Hudson-Sharp and Northern Engraving and Machine also operate.