Earl Wohlrab is the Director of Product Strategy and Innovation for BW Integrated Systems. The following content contains excerpts from his interview with Packaging World, originally published on October 24, 2022.
In October, the BW Integrated Systems team debuted our new mid-speed case palletizer Maximus for the first time in person at PACK EXPO International in Chicago. Maximus was engineered to meet the changing market needs for a small-footprint, flexible high-level palletizer. Utilizing layer-forming technology and featuring an interactive operator interface, Maximus allows for easier collection of information. Maximus primarily serves the food, household, chemical, personal care, and specific beverage industries, but can serve many other markets in the mid-speed palletizing arena.
When Packaging World Senior Editor Anne Marie Mohan asked to learn more about Maximus, I was happy to answer her questions. Here are some of the key takeaways from our interview.
Maximus Meets Changing Needs for Smaller Case Sizes
Today, we’re seeing footprints that are down in the four- or five-inch range, something we would have typically shied away from in the past for a case palletizer. For example, the explosion of the pet food market in the last couple of years has given rise to trays of can sizes that can be five ounces. That whole tray, with the can, is only about an inch-and-a-half tall. We've done some things with this palletizer to allow for special handling of these types of cases.
The First Truly All-Electric Palletizer of its Kind
Maximus is probably the first 100% electric palletizing machine, including the options that we’ve added. In the past, some companies have said that their machines were all-electric, but they still needed air for case stops or other functions. We don’t have that now. We use electric actuation for everything. An all-electric system brings several advantages to our customers. For example, it eliminates the inefficiency of air that you'd get when leaks occur in a compressed air system. With compressed air, the system has to be running constantly to be ready to actuate. With Maximus' all-electric system, energy is "on demand" or idle until you need it.
Labor Shortages Addressed with UX/UI Optimization
As we're all aware, high levels of operator turnover have created a skills gap in modern machine operation. To make training and startup easier for our customers, Maximus was designed with simple UX in mind. It has pattern-forming software incorporated into the machine and a new vision-guided error recovery system that directs operators to the source of a fault via images of componentry. For the longest time, operators would just get an error code, and they had to figure out exactly where the problem was. Now we’re visually guiding them.
For Maximus, we've adopted a quick vertical start-up philosophy whereby the machine splits for shipment to get through most doorways quickly. Once on the production floor, BW sets the top frame back onto the base frame with a bolt-together construction and quick disconnect controls.
You can learn more about Maximus by visiting the BW Integrated Systems website.