Contract Packaging in North America will be a $75 billion industry in 2020. A CPA associate member, Butler provides automatic roll splicing solutions to many co-packers, increasing their overall factory output.
Butler Automatic Inc. was founded in 1956 by Richard A. Butler, Jr. as a manufacturer of “zero speed” web splicing equipment. As the original inventor of zero speed splicing technology, Butler splicing equipment redefined performance and reliability over a broad spectrum of industries and markets.
Today Butler is a leading multinational manufacturer with over 17,000 units installed worldwide and continues to be the industry benchmark for quality, reliability and customer support. The company’s products are used in numerous applications including packaging, sleeving, thermo-forming, over-wrapping, printing, and a variety of converting operations. Our splicers are used to manufacture many different products including, stand-up pouches, flexible pouches, film bags, paper bags, business forms, envelopes, disposable diapers, wallpaper, fiberglass insulation, and corrugated cardboard.
Company headquarters and manufacturing operations are located in Middleborough, Massachusetts approximately 30 miles south of Boston. The Middleborough facility is a state of the art manufacturing operation. Butler Automatic is proud to have achieved ISO 9001:2015 Certification. Our quality and engineering is dedicated to developing new technologies for the packaging industry. Click below to view our ISO Certificate.
With an additional office located in Geneva, Switzerland, our sales and support center is strategically located in the center of the main European markets.
Blog & News
Butler Automatic offers top five tips to get the maximum Overall Equipment Effectiveness from reliable Butler Automatic splicers
Backed by the experience of delivering more than 17,000 automatic splicing solutions worldwide over the past 65 years, Butler Automatic has published a Five Step Plan To Boost OEE With Automatic Roll Splicing, which results in customers gaining several points of increased Overall Equipment Effectiveness (Availability x Productivity x Quality) for roll fed packaging lines.
The first step is to involve Butler Automatic in discussions with roll fed applications equipment providers from the beginning of the project. When the Butler team is directly involved on-site at installation and ramp-up, Butler achieves successful implementation quickly, 99% of the time. The second and third tips are to utilize Butler’s One Point Lesson Plans (OPL’s), and Clean-Inspect-Lubricate instructions (CIL’s). With these documents Butler customers are able to train and maintain for top performance of Butler solutions, consistently achieving increased output by eliminating 100% of line stoppages for roll changes. The fourth step includes having a short list of essential wear parts on-hand since Butler solutions consume very few wear parts. The fifth and perhaps most vital, is to establish a solid connection with our team. Butler service and parts teams support our applications 24/7.
New ‘WAVE’ bar feature ensures optimal vacuum coverage
Middleboro, MA - Butler Automatic announces a recent innovation to their SP1 Automatic Splicer.
Upgraded vacuum bars featuring Width Adaptive Vacuum Effectivity (WAVE) technology, eliminate edge curl which creates issues on certain films. The new wave bar is an improvement over previous vacuum bars because it includes strategically-placed vacuum holes in conjunction with wave-shaped vacuum slots. This enhancement means that SP1 users consistently have adequate vacuum coverage for their splices, regardless of the width of the film being used. This innovation allows customers the flexibility to change format widths of plastic films without the worry of covering holes on vacuum bars. The innovative design also ensures minimal vacuum loss (i.e. maximum Vacuum Effectivity) regardless of film width. To view a video of the new wave bar design, please click here.
Mike Mucci, Vice President of Engineering at Butler Automatic, states that this enhancement “allows our automatic roll splicing solutions to be more reliable and drive higher OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) on roll-fed packaging lines.”
The upgraded WAVE bars are currently featured on certain SP1 orders and can be added to existing machines on a per case basis.
By John Gonsalves, Purchasing Manager, Butler Automatic
While the market is in a state of hurried change – Hydralign Safety Chucks continue to be “rock solid”. Our obsession with high quality components, competitive pricing and lightning speed deliveries set us apart from the competition. Our safety chucks provide our customers with a quick change and improve cycle time at the end of their production process. By simply replacing the hardened upper and lower jaws our customers save time and money in replacement costs.
Many companies in our position would succumb to the temptation to outsource their safety chuck manufacturing. We choose instead to take advantage of our lean and continuous improvement assembly practices as well as our ISO 9001 accredited manufacturing facility to protect product superiority. Every component of our safety chuck is designed and manufactured in the United States to ensure the highest quality level possible. Our current fill rate on safety chuck orders is 95% with a company goal of 100%.
In today’s rapidly changing manufacturing landscape, we understand that delivering a clear, consistent message to our customers is now more important than ever. Our message is that Hydralign parts are available and we are ready to fulfill your needs.
Industry Veteran Brings Capital Equipment and Packaging Experience to the Team
Middleboro, MA - Butler Automatic is pleased to announce that Bob Hamilton has joined the sales team as Sales Director - EAST. A highly experienced sales executive with an extensive capital equipment and packaging background, Bob will be responsible for growing Butler equipment sales and key OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) partnerships.
“Butler Automatic has a unique position in the packaging industry where the focus on Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), and the exponential growth of flexible packaging applications are top-of-mind. Bob joining our team is well-timed and opportune.” states Phil Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Engineering and Marketing Welcome New Hires
Butler Automatic is pleased to announce the expansion of both our Product Development Engineering group and our Sales and Marketing team with the addition of Dan Dalessio and Amanda Estey, respectively. These positions will address our continued growth and need for increasing engineering resources as well as shifting our marketing and engagement landscape.
Dan joined the Engineering team at Butler on May 21, 2018 as a Product Development Engineer. He will be operating at our headquarters in Middleborough, Massachusetts. Dan’s responsibilities will include designing Butler products to meet customer requirements and investigating product performance. Dan’s extensive engineering experience spans over 20 years across a broad array of industries. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
Amanda joined the Sales and Marketing team as a Marketing Coordinator on April 23, 2018. She will also be based at our headquarters. Amanda will be responsible for driving an increase in Butler’s profile in the packaging industry and creating industry-specific marketing content. Amanda has over 10 years of marketing and communication experience, four of which have been within the packaging industry. Amanda has also worked in the technology, law enforcement and full service advertising industries. She holds a Master of Arts in Media Communication Management from Webster University and received her Bachelor of Science degree from Bloomsburg University.
Chip Johns, CEO, states that “Bringing Dan into our engineering team is driven by Butler Automatic’s focus on continuous product improvement, and is also a reflection on the increasing number of packaging applications involving OEM equipment partners where our SP1’s must interface seamlessly.”
“Amanda’s digital marketing expertise and background in packaging equipment will raise the profile of Butler Automatic’s growth driven by our customers’ focus on OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of their flexible packaging lines.” notes Phil Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Butler Automatic President Chip Johns will join other business leaders in the panel session on “The Importance of ‘Boards’ in the Success of Your Business” presented by Caleb White, Senior Consultant, CFAR, on October 25th at 2:45 p.m. at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston, MA.
The talk will cover board of directors, board of advisors, and peer advisory boards and which is right for your organization, who should be participating and why. Hear from experts and successful business owners who have learned through experience to gain the utmost value from the appropriate board.
Panelists will include:
- Chip Johns, President of Butler Automatic and former CEO of Vanguard Sailboats
- Engin Okaya, MD of Prudential Capital and board member at both Legal Seafoods and Polar Beverage
- Mike Mulrain, CFO & COO of Polar Beverage and a member of the Kayem Board
The New England Family Business Conference provides an opportunity to meet face-to-face with family business owners, hear from experts, study a variety of best practices and network with peers. The program is designed for professional development and features industry leading keynote speakers as well as a selection of educational breakout sessions with panels of family business owners.
For more information on the session visit https://www.thewarrengroupevents.com/nefbc/agenda-2017/ and to sign up click here.
Visit Booth #3916 to learn how film splicers increase overall equipment efficiency
Butler Automatic announces that it will showcase its SP1 and SP3HSL Automatic Film Splicers at PACK EXPO 2017, to be held September 25-27, 2017, at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. Butler Automatic experts will be on hand in Booth #3916 to demonstrate how Butler film splicers improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and increase packaging line output.
Drop by the booth to see how Butler equipment improves OEE – defined by equipment availability, performance, and quality. Equipment availability is improved by eliminating roll change downtime caused by manual film roll changes. Performance improvements come through Butler splicers’ consistent web infeed, resulting in fewer stops and starts. Butler splicers’ precise web control improves quality by providing filling and sealing consistency.
With a simple mechanical design and high-quality manufacture, the SP1 promises long-term, trouble-free automatic splicing performance. The device senses the diameter of the expiring roll of film and automatically splices the end of each expiring roll onto the new roll. It is capable of running at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute (FPM). The SP1 is an excellent investment for food, beverage, and medical device packaging operations because it drastically increases production uptime, improving your OEE, and resulting in a complete return on investment in just a few months.
Butler will also showcase its innovative SP3HSL automatic shrink sleeve splicer. Film roll changes must occur in shrink sleeve packaging applications as frequently as once every 8 minutes, and changing the roll by hand wastes minutes of production time. The SP3 Automatic Sleeve Splicer increases line efficiency by 9 percent or more in these applications. Capable of running at speeds of up to 600 FPM, the SP3HSL is ideally suited for increasing production time in consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical applications utilizing shrink sleeve packaging.
By Chip Johns, President and Chief Operating Officer, Butler Automatic Inc
The engineering team at Freshpet, a leading US pet food manufacturer, specializing in fresh, natural pet foods, wanted to improve production efficiency on one of their pet food manufacturing and packaging lines. They came across a solution at PackExpo that led to cost savings ranging from $60,000 to $130,000 per year. What was this incredible solution? Automatic splicing.
Let’s rewind for a moment. The Freshpet engineering team audited their process and realized that one of the greatest sources of downtime and therefore lost efficiency in their ‘chub’ production line was the time it took to change the chub packaging film rolls when they expired. In this particular line, it took operators at least 6-8 minutes to replace the roll of film, something that needed to be done every 35 to 60 minutes. The hand-spliced film also led to alignment issues, bottlenecks, and even greater downtime.
During PackExpo 2014, Freshpet’s Engineering Manager Sam Torres saw a demonstration of the Butler Automatic auto-splicing technology, and recognized that it was the solution he had been searching for to reduce downtime and improve profitability on the company’s chub packaging line.
Freshpet reached out to the experts at Butler for an automatic splicing solution customized to their specific manufacturing process. The splicer, installed by Butler in April 2015, has cut downtime to less than one minute per roll change. Not only that, but Freshpet has ordered a second splicer for their facility expansion, and has used the feedback about upstream bottlenecks that the Butler splicer revealed in the current line to design a more overall-efficient line for the expansion project. This lead to greater efficiency, more product, and more profits!
Read the full story in Packaging Strategies.
By Chip Johns, President and Chief Operating Officer, Butler Automatic Inc.
Cincinnati-based JTM Food Group is still thanking its luck for stumbling upon a zero-speed automatic film splicer by Butler Automatic at PACK EXPO International several years ago. JTM vice president Joe Maas says they are still benefiting from the productivity wave three years later. JTM is a food processing plant with more than 700 food products, about 70 percent meat and 30 percent non-meat, which has grown from a neighborhood meat store in 1960 to today’s sales of $170 million, with 430 employees.
Until it purchased the Butler Automatic splicer, JTM was switching rolls of film manually on its Vertical Form Fill and Seal (VFFS) machines used for its grind and form and kettle cooking packaging operations. The time it takes to change rolls of packaging film is frequently the single greatest cause of downtime in packaging lines; Maas estimates that it was taking about 10 minutes for each packaging roll changeover, which mounts up considerably over the course of the day.
JTM had accepted this downtime as a cost of doing business until a few years ago, when while walking the PACK EXPO floors, Maas spotted a zero-speed automatic splicer exhibited by Butler Automatic. The splicing technology joins a new roll to an expiring one without stopping the production line. When the splice is complete the accumulator is re-filled and the expired roll can be changed while the new roll is running, eliminating roll change downtime in production.
Maas found the Butler splicer to be a straightforward machine that is routine to operate. He shared with Butler that the true cost benefit for a particular process depends upon how many hours one runs a VFFS machine. If lines are busier, the cost benefits became more obvious. Mass says he goes through 50 rolls a week, which translates into about 500 minutes or just over 8 hours of production time gained by adding the Butler splicer.
Maas said, “The bottom line is that the automatic splicers give us more uptime on our VFFS machines and we produce more product. I have made a lot of money as a result of stopping by their booth.”
Read more in the April issue of Packaging World.
By Chip Johns, President and Chief Operating Officer, Butler Automatic Inc.
Why would a relatively small business choose to make the significant investment needed to implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system? There are many answers to that question, including streamlining engineering processes, improved inventory management, and better costing knowledge, and more efficient financial reporting. This information is often extremely difficult to extract from legacy manual systems that rarely talk to each other.
Selecting the right ERP system is just the first step. Management commitment is needed for the software, training and implementation time required. Here’s an example of how implementing an ERP system allowed Butler Automatic to reduce its lead times for building machines, as well as improve its financial reporting.
Read the full article in Manufacturing & Logistics IT.
By William Brum, P.E., Manager, Aftermarket Parts & Service at Butler Automatic, Inc.
Today’s manufacturing equipment can be complicated in nature with many integrated components all controlled by computerized technology. The responsibility of running and monitoring the equipment and process can be an intimidating task to an equipment operator on the production floor. Manufacturers have learned a simplified design combined with operator engagement is the best recipe to deliver a highly reliable process and quality product. One of the leading tools to accomplish this engagement is the use of the OPL or One Point Lesson Plan.
The One Point Lesson Plans are the cornerstone of any good technology transfer and training plan. As the term states, a One Point Lesson Plan is intended to transfer knowledge on one specific feature or function of a larger process. The format incorporates pictures to aide in the visualization of the task. As the tool is also used as a training aide, a training date and signature record is included. A Butler Automatic Splicer OPL can be seen in Figure 1. The OPL in figure 1 teaches an operator how to inspect film role core adaptors. Although simple in nature, a quality core adaptor contributes to the precise application of the film splicer when integrated with the larger production process.
Read more about One Point Lesson Plans in Manufacturing Global.
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.
Learn more from Food News International.
Sensor provides greater resolution and simpler control for reduced packaging film waste
Middleborough, MA– Butler Automatic, the inventor and global leader of automatic splicing solutions, announces that it has developed an enhanced register sensor for new and existing SP1 Automatic Film Splicers. The new register sensor improves upon the previous sensor’s accuracy and reliability, and features software that more precisely controls the splice position, thereby reducing packaging film waste.
The register sensor in the SP1 Automatic Film Splicer uses registration marks on the film to provide an automatic, in-registration butt splice. In doing so, the splicer provides the downstream process with a consistent product pitch or imprint spacing, eliminating the need for re-registering the film in the process after a splice. The register sensor is critically important to minimizing film waste.
Butler’s new register sensor delivers a wider range of sensing and has proven to be more reliable in distinguishing between similar colors than the prior generation. As a result, manufacturers are now able to have print across the full width of the film, even when the print is similar in color to the black register marks.
Additionally, while the prior design required the operator to physically relocate the sensor in the in-web direction when adjusting between products of different length or pitch, the new control software allows the operator to achieve the same result simply by entering an offset value on the touch screen user interface. This enhancement allows operators to locate the splice in different positions on the final product more easily.
The new register sensor is available as an option on any new Butler SP1 Automatic Splicer. In addition, it is available for retrofit with any Butler SP1 Splicer that shipped with the factory-installed Bi-Directional Registered Splice Option and also has a touch screen user interface. In these machines, it provides the full functionality when installed as a retrofit. The retrofit includes replacement of the sensor head with the new head and amplifier, and upgraded controls and user interface software to support the registration offset functionality. Customers with older splicers who desire improved resolution can contact the Butler Service and Parts Department to check for retrofit compatibility.
With automatic splicing, pre-applied zipper film is easy to incorporate into existing packaging lines
Middleborough, MA– Butler Automatic, the inventor and global leader of automatic splicing solutions, announces that its film splicers such as the SP1 Automatic Splicer make pre-applied zipper film easy to incorporate into existing packaging lines. As a result, these splicers greatly increase profitability and reduce lead time for reclosable packaging. Butler’s automatic splicers are engineered with a small footprint, and are custom built to fit on the front end of virtually any flexible film packaging line. Butler splicers make reclosable packaging retrofits a possibility for many packaging lines.
Reclosable packaging is in a period of rapid growth, as many manufacturers realize the added value reclosable features offer consumers. This is especially true in the food industry, where a push towards reclosability has led to the implementation of a number of reseal technologies. Many methods of adding reclosable features to an existing flexible packaging line require large capital investments, but pre-applied zipper film can be an ideal tool for companies looking to make the shift to reclosable packaging without significant up-front costs or extensive lead time.
Rolls of pre-applied zipper film are less dense than traditional film roll stock, leading to fewer impressions per roll and therefore less time between roll changes. Automatic splicing eliminates the downtime of these additional roll changes, dramatically improving the profitability of packaging with pre-applied zipper film.
With a simple mechanical design and high-quality manufacture, the SP1 delivers long-term, trouble-free performance. The device senses the diameter of the expiring roll of film and automatically splices the end of each expiring roll onto the new roll.
Splicer performs non-stop film changes in CPG packaging operations
Middleborough, MA– Butler Automatic, the inventor and global leader of automatic splicing solutions, announces that its SP1 Series Automatic Film Splicer is ideally suited towards consumer packaged goods (CPG) packaging applications. The SP1 Automatic Film Splicer increases efficiency in packaging operations by eliminating the packaging line downtime caused by manual film roll changes.
“CPG packaging operations can benefit from the introduction of the SP1 Automatic Film Splicer because it has a significant positive impact on line efficiency,” said Mike Mucci, Vice President of Engineering at Butler Automatic. “The SP1 enables customers to eliminate the leading cause of planned downtime – film roll changes – and therefore to dramatically improve profitability.”
In eliminating film roll change and manual splicing, Butler’s automatic splicing technology typically reduces downtime by 5-10 minutes per operational hour. For a typical packaging line operating 20 hours per day, 6 days per week, this can yield up to 20-25 hours of additional production per week, or the equivalent of an extra day’s production.
With a simple mechanical design and high-quality manufacture, the SP1 promises long-term, trouble-free performance. The device senses the diameter of the expiring roll of film and automatically splices the end of each expiring roll onto the new roll. It is capable of running at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute (FPM).
In addition to the standard SP1 automatic splicer, Butler offers the SP1 RB, designed for full wash-down capability. The SP1 RB is built to standards common with many regulatory requirements. It features mostly stainless steel construction, with only specific splicing head cylinders using coated aluminum, and has minimal flat surfaces.
Reclosable packaging is in a period of rapid growth, as many manufacturers realize the added value reclosable features offer consumers. This is especially true in the food industry, where a push towards reclosability has led to the implementation of a number of reseal technologies: traditional zip locks, slider locks, reusable adhesives and even Velcro-like closures. You may be considering adding a reclosable feature to your packaged products, or may have heard about the hype around new kinds of packaging, but likely have questions about the affordability of such a change. Packages constructed from pre-applied zipper film can be an ideal tool for companies looking to make the shift from traditional to reclosable packaging without significant cost or lag time.
Read the full article in Food Manufacturing.