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Sustainable Success in Packaging Equipment

In the spring of 2010, Starflex Packaging Systems,  Jonesboro, Ga., found that its PL-100 poultry bagger was failing to operate correctly. Since the PL-100 requires no electricity and is operated with pneumatic parts from Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc., Starflex Director of Operations Dennis McGinn sent one of the baggers to Clippard for assistance in finding the root of the problem.
Pneumatic Poultry Bagger
The day after the machine arrived at Clippard’s Cincinnati, Ohio, headquarters, they notified McGinn that the machine was failing to operate because there was an engineering oversight that originated at Starflex.
“To me the real relationship with Clippard—in particular [Business Development Manager] Rob Clippard—started with the engineering mistake that we ourselves had created,” says McGinn. “Not only did they discover the problem, they also developed an alternative solution.”
Clippard manufactured a new manifold from an acrylic base at a cost that was comparable to Starflex making it. Behind the scenes, Clippard took a concentrated look at how the PL-100 was constructed and asked McGinn if they could propose an alternative design to the machine.  
Although it was fully functional as designed, Clippard engineers came up with a way to reduce the number of parts by more than half, while maintaining the same exact operational specifications. This new design cut the assembly time of the machine from over eight hours down to two hours.
“Without removing the top cover to the machine to see the inside, the PL-100 looked exactly the same—which was extremely important,” McGinn says. “I instantly dubbed this new version of the PL-100 as the Green Machine because of the reduction of natural resources required to build. With the skyrocketing price of raw materials, this allowed me to maintain my price point with my customers while achieving my goals of cutting costs.”
Starflex displayed the new PL-100 Green Machine at Clippard’s booth at PACK EXPO Las Vegas and was pleased with the attention that it received during the show.

January / February 2012 Issue "Equipment Misfire Leads to Sustainable Success"
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