By Michael Mucci, Vice President of Engineering, Butler Automatic
Shrink sleeve packaging is on the rise, largely in the beverage industry, because it allows the product manufacturer to make use of the entire surface of the package for artwork and information. This type of packaging enables rapid, cost-effective packaging design changes, providing product marketing groups the ability to make sure that the product stands out from competitive products on the shelf. As with all packaging applications, finding ways to increase efficiency is critical in shrink sleeve packaging operations, as increased efficiency directly translates into higher throughput and greater profit margins.
Like all other packaging film, shrink sleeve film must be spliced together. The typical challenge to creating a hand splice in these applications lies in operators’ ability to achieve a consistent splice joint for smooth operation over the mandrel. In many cases, an overlap joint is created with the expiring tube of material being “tucked” inside the new tube, thus allowing the new material to be guided over the mandrel. This can create issues if the combination of the tape and double-thickness of shrink sleeve does not move smoothly over the forming mandrel.
Automatic splicing technology in the form of the patent pending Butler Automatic SP3HSL Sleeve Splicer solves the challenge of striking a balance between fast splices to minimize downtime and accurate, well-formed splices. Butler’s SP3HSL provides a zero-speed, in-registration, automatic splice from an expiring roll of film to a new roll, all while continuously providing film to the downstream process at speeds up to 450 feet per minute without interruption or any need to reduce the process speed. The SP3HSL provides a butt-splice joint with tape on both sides, ensuring smooth motion over the forming mandrel.
Automatic splicing technology enables packaging operations to fully reap the benefits of this type of packaging, in terms of marketing optimization and rapid, cost-effective packaging design changes.
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