Wanted: Manufacturing Machine Operator / Manual Lathe Machinist

Posted on November 16, 2015

Job Description: Convertech, a leading manufacturer of expanding shafts and chucks, is looking for experienced Manufacturing Machine Operators. Your experience running a manual lathe will make you a perfect fit for this Manual Lathe Machinist role. At Convertech, we produce a very custom product with very short lead teams and run a clean modern shop. If you are looking for an opportunity where you can grow your career with a dynamic company with great hours and low turnover rates, we want to talk to you!

Job Responsibilities: In the Manufacturing Machine Operator role, as a Manual Lathe Machinist, you will be responsible for setting up and operating a variety of manufacturing machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Additional responsibilities of the Manufacturing Machine Operator role include: • Setting up and operating manufacturing machines, such as lathes, cutters, shears, millers, presses, drills, etc., to make metallic and plastic work pieces

• Reading blueprints or job orders to determine product specifications and tooling instructions

• Measuring dimensions of finished work pieces to ensure conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments, templates, and fixtures

Job Requirements: Successful candidates for the Manufacturing Machine Operator must have manual lathe experience in a manufacturing environment. Someone with a strong attention to detail, a good attitude, and an eagerness to learn and grow would be a good fit for this role. Additional requirements of this Manufacturing Machine Operator role include:

• 7 – 10 years’ experience in a fast-paced manufacturing environment, running a manual lathe

Benefits: At Convertech, we are always looking for experienced people to join our dedicated team. We encourage a strong team environment and friendly atmosphere with great working hours! As a Manufacturing Machine Operator, you will work from 7:00 AM – 3:30 PM and will be eligible to receive a benefits package, including:

• Health insurance

• 401(k) retirement plan

• Profit Sharing

• Pension

• Generous vacation and sick time

Contact: admin@convertech.com

Recycling Reconsidered

Posted on November 12, 2015

Here’s an interesting article from Eco-Insights blogger Robert Lilienfeld:

"Recycling is not a new phenomenon. From the Sumerians who built the first-ever cities 4,000 years ago to modern Europe and America, virtually every civilization that has ever existed has tried recycling as a way to save its resources, and ultimately itself, from disappearing.

But it hasn’t worked once. Perversely, the reason is not because people didn’t try hard enough. The fact is, they tried too hard! By focusing so heavily on recycling and not on the primary reasons that resource availability and environmental problems arose in the first place, societies have consistently missed the real opportunities to sustain natural resources and thus their own human and financial resources.

So, let’s be honest. Recycling, for all its benefits, will never by itself prevent or remediate major environmental concerns such as climate change, habitat destruction, and loss of biodiversity. It is simply the icing on a very large, very thick, and very heavy, cake.

By the way, both the EPA through its Sustainable Materials Management program, and the G-7 in its latest Leadership Recommendations, all agree with this assessment.

What we really need to see is political dialogue relating to population growth and the concurrent increase and changes in consumption patterns. Thus, those of us in the packaging value chain must work harder to reverse the popular notion that a better environment starts with less packaging waste.

We also need to demonstrate that packaging’s critical role is to prevent waste of the far greater resources used to produce, transport and store the food and other goods contained within.

Again, recycling the packaging is merely the icing on the resource conservation/waste prevention cake."

Pet Food Packaging to Top $2.5 Billion

Posted on November 11, 2015

The food and beverage markets represent the largest consumption group for packaging materials and machinery. Sales for one top growing segment alone—pet food packaging—are expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2018 in the U.S., according to market research firm Freedonia Group. And growth in beverage packaging markets is projected at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4%, to hit $131.1 billion by 2019, according to analysis by MarketsandMarkets.

From soup to nuts and water to booze, food and beverage products demand quite a bit from their protective vessels. Whether the package is rigid or flexible, it must deliver the freshest and safest product to its consumer—anywhere in the world. Once within reach, the bottles, pouches or cups must capture the attention of potential buyers with an appealing design. If purchased, the packaging must perform as expected (or better!) or else you can kiss away the chance of a future sale from today’s critical consumers.

Demand continues for ready-to-eat and on-the-go foods and drinks, especially for time-pressed Americans. Packaging Digest presents here the latest packaging designs, technologies and trends for foods and beverages to help keep you inspired and your brands up to date.

source: Packaging Digest

Develop Custom Robotic Picking Applications

Posted on November 11, 2015

MotoPick™ is a user-friendly, highly advanced software package that allows for the development of machine vision-based, high-speed picking solutions. This powerful software can synchronize multiple robots equipped with vision to pick fast moving product off a conveyor and place it on an outfeed device, tray or box in an organized arrangement. MotoPick provides building blocks to create optimal solutions for up to ten robots and eleven conveyors. It also offers pattern-based distribution of product and dynamic load balancing among multiple robots.

MotoPick provides precise control and coordination of infeed and outfeed conveyors. If the advancement of either the infeed or outfeed conveyor falls behind, the speed of the opposite conveyor can be automatically decreased and even stopped until the operation is equalized.

Multiple cameras are available based on conveyor width, workpiece size, target accuracy, production volume and conveyor speed. MotoPick is designed to function with minimal additional hardware requirements.

Dog food packaging gets more personable

Posted on November 10, 2015

Here’s an interesting article by Rick Lingle from Packaging Design:

"Just Right by Purina’s custom dog food blend launched last year enhances the label on the bag packaging to make it even more personal—and more fetching for pet owners.

The pet food market is trotting along at a 3% CAGR for the period 2014-2019, according to a new report, which also points out that “the increase in pet humanization has led to growth in premium products, and clients are asking for customized and premium packaging solutions from vendors, which is positively affecting the sales in the market.”

Perfectly reflecting that trend is Just Right by Purina dog food that was launched last year (see Dog food gets personal with custom packaging published last October). As a pet listens to its owner’s voice, Purina listened to dog owners who wanted to make the packaging even more focused on the owner’s beloved pet. In doing so, the company expects the enhanced presentation will make the custom products even more fetching for consumers.

I virtually borrowed a friend’s dog, a 6-year old golden retriever named Riley, for which Just Right created custom artwork for this article that appears above. The bag copy reads: “This blend has been crafted to provide Riley with the complete, balanced nutrition he needs as a 6 year old golden retriever. Formulated by Rick and Purina in November 2015, it includes lamb as the primary protein source. This blend is a mix of high quality ingredients that promotes healthy skin and coat, promotes an active lifestyle and supports joint health and mobility.”

We reconnected with Brian Lester, director of marketing for Just Right by Purina, who discloses the reasoning and reality behind the refresh.

What’s changed from before and why?

Lester: Just Right’s recent packaging updates bring an increased focus to what matters to our consumers most—their dog. By listening to detailed consumer feedback, we discovered that we had the opportunity to further exceed their expectations for a personalized experience by emphasizing their unique dog on our packaging, and that’s exactly what we did. Our previous labels contained a 195×200 pixel image of the dog on the left side of the front label. Now, the image is 560×410 pixels and is centered across the full-width of the label, taking up nearly half of the label’s real estate.

To support this enhancement and provide a better personalization experience for our consumers, we also updated the photo upload process on our site. We’ve implemented Filepicker, which now allows consumers to upload photos directly from platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, as well as from native files on their computer or mobile device. The tool also allows consumers increased ability to zoom, crop, and rotate their images directly on our site.

The revised labels also continue to include our existing personalization techniques, including dog’s name, owner’s name, unique blend name, product features/claims, and personalized feeding instructions.

What will be most obvious to customers about what’s new?

Lester: The greater emphasis on their dog’s photo should be incredibly apparent to existing consumers who are accustomed to the first generation of our label design. For new consumers, we believe that the increased focus on the unique dog photo will further convey our belief that every dog is unique and deserving of a personalized feeding experience. We’re giving our consumers’ dogs the same amount of prominence and real estate that most dog foods give to one “model” dog, demonstrating our commitment to each unique pet.

While our recent label revisions focused on enhancing the photo presence on the front of the package, we also want to emphasize that the label on the back of the packaging is just as personal as what is on the front. This back label details the personalized benefits of each dog’s blend and includes feeding instructions tailored to that individual dog. While the back label is remaining consistent in these revisions, we know that the information it contains is just as important to our community of highly involved dog owners as it is to us."

10 Ways Smart Packaging Extends Your Brand

Posted on November 9, 2015

Here’s a good post from John Van Ankkeren:

What can hardware manufacturers learn from cream cheese? In this example, brand owners can increase brand loyalty and gain powerful revenue with packaging that is smart.

In 2014, Kraft changed both the recipe and tub design of its iconic Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. Gone were the familiar circular vessels. In their place, redesigned oblong containers that stop products from shifting on store shelves and keep labels facing forward, so consumers can easily spot their favorite flavors.

With its new stackable design, Kraft can stock an additional row of products on a grocery store shelf. Meanwhile, the addition of high-quality, in-mold label graphics show appealing images of whole fruits and vegetables. The result: Philadelphia Cream Cheese stands out in a sea of sameness on store shelves and retains its long-standing reign as America’s best-selling cream cheese.

What’s so smart about that? How about increased brand loyalty and powerful revenue gains? Sounds pretty smart to me.

Alas, changing the shape of a container or packaging label isn’t often viewed as smart packaging. We beg to differ. In its purest form, smart packaging is a way to differentiate products and elevate brands. It may ignite a conversation among people, package, brand and objects in a connected world. Or, it may serve as a platform for sensory experiences, added functionality and improved performance. And, all together, smart packaging is experiencing massive growth; the sector is expected to reach $39.7 billion by 2020.

Smarter packages that provide better safety, wellness, convenience, value and gratification will increase brand loyalty because these factors drive most purchasing decisions and behavior.

So, whether you make cream cheese, computers or consumer electronics, consider these top 10 ways that smart packaging can illuminate your brand:

1. Go beyond conventional packaging to take advantage of hybrid approaches that integrate both rigid and flexible materials to attain better shelf life while improving sustainability and customer interfaces.

2. Use smart codes to embed more information onto your package. Standard codes have been around since the 1960s, but new advancements are making it easier to link products to machines, databases or multimedia experiences. Heinz tomato ketchup was among the first consumer packaged goods companies to use a mobile augmented reality app to turn a ketchup bottle into a fully interactive recipe book viewable on a shopper’s iPhone or Android device.

3. Deliver extended protection and more functionality through new engineered materials and substrates on labels that change when exposed to certain variables. Interactive food labels that communicate a product’s state of freshness or temperature are gaining momentum while advances in anti-theft tag sensors continue to reduce shrinkage.

4. Add intelligent functions through the integration of different manufacturing components to connect, capture, analyze and provide business intelligence. Connect packages to smartphones and cloud services in ways not available previously so you can monitor conditions and behaviors contextually, track supply chains and foster interaction between other things and objects.

5. Follow advancements in printed electronics on flexible films and miniaturized components, which are finding their way into packaging concepts today. The flexible structure of the circuits make it possible to integrate this added intelligence into existing package molding and labeling processes.

6. Enrich “lock and key” brand protection while ensuring a rich consumer experience. Such is the case with HP Instant Ink, which includes microchips in inkjet refills so the printer automatically buys ink for the customer when its supply runs low.

7. Create and nurture immersive sensory experiences when the package is opened or activated. Perhaps the brand mark becomes illuminated when the package is opened. Equally interesting could be an “under the hood” in-store tracking capability that alerts retailers if the package is opened before it’s purchased.

8. Turn your package into a billboard promoting other offerings and dynamic displays of user ratings while giving consumers multiple ways to connect with your brand.

9. Measure packaging performance for greater sustainability: Reduce, reuse and recycle. There are far-reaching benefits from following the performance of your package through its entire lifecycle to modify, improve and eliminate waste. Keurig’s decision to make all K-Cups recyclable by 2020 has boosted the brand following controversy over the environmental impact of its original multi-layer plastic K-Cup designs.

10. Leverage social networks to connect physical objects to social platforms. Enabling the connected conversation creates endless opportunities to foster integrated marketing, social campaigns and peer recommendations.

What connects all these different kinds and levels of smart packaging is the opportunity to add value to a package that either you couldn’t or didn’t do before. This not only gives you greater control and management over your supply chain, it lets you gather more customer intelligence so you can analyze vital data about your customers and how they use your product. Most important, you can build brand brilliance by enhancing user experiences while increasing product usefulness, revenue and return on investment (ROI). Read more about Smart Packaging in this 5-page research brief “Smart Packaging and the Future of Brands.”

Goss Launches Unwinders and Rewinders

Posted on November 6, 2015

h/t to Yolanda Simonsis for sharing this:

DURHAM, NH | Goss announces new Contiweb modular product lines for digital web presses. Company says new unwinders and rewinders introduce proven tension control technology to digital web printing; different levels of automation provide scalable solutions; and applications including labels and packaging will benefit from Contiweb 99.7% splice performance.

The new range comprises six unwinder/splicers and rewinders. Both the unwinder and the rewinder series are designed and engineered to be entirely modular, providing customers with an easy path to full automation at either end of the press line. The lines have been designed to equal the Contiweb signature splice performance of 99.7% for digital webs.

Available in two web widths (770 mm/30 in. and 1,100 mm/42 in.), the CD range of splicer/unwinders and the CR range of rewinders share features said to facilitate simple setup, integration, and day-to-day operation. These include floor-level loading and unloading of paper reels; unwinding/rewinding in either direction; as well as motorized reel side-lay adjustment. All of this can be monitored throughout via an HMI screen on the unit.

Each model is shaftless and uses pneumatically expanding core chucks driven by low-noise electric motors, which provides an added element of sustainability since energy generated feeds back into the electrical circuit.

The Goss Contiweb CD Series of unwinder/splicers has been engineered to ensure accuracy and repeatability at every stage of the digital web infeed process, regardless of operator experience or familiarity with web-fed production.

• CD-W unwinder with manual, stationary splicing

• CD-S Stop/Go double unwinder with semi-automatic splice allows the operator to unload, load, and prepare for splicing while production is underway; facilitates a minimum stoppage cycle time per splice.

• CD-N fully automatic splicer with nonstop reel changeover—uses Contiweb ‘zero-speed’ festoon technology to splice running web and new roll while press continues at full speed.

The Goss Contiweb CR Series of rewinders have been developed to rewind reels at speed without the loss of any printed copies. Transfer may be between reels of different width and paper thickness, and repeated transfers from first to second position, and vice versa, are also possible.

• CR-W single rewinder – reel change and web transfer to the new core is manual while the press remains stationary

• CR-S Stop/Go double rewinder with semi-automatic web transfer – allows unloading and preparation of cores during ongoing production; facilitates a minimum stoppage time for reel change and web transfer to the new core

• CR-N Nonstop unwinder with automatic reel changeover—unloading of fully wound reels and preparation of cores is possible during production; automatic splice can be made at full press speed, at any reel diameter The three versions can be fitted with a slitter and are available with optional extras such as integrated electronic web tension control at outfeed, web guides, central console operability, and remote diagnostics.

Manufacturing Jobs: Ours to Lose

Posted on November 6, 2015

Machinists at Convertech

As an owner of a small manufacturer for over 30 years, I can attest to the fact that U.S. school systems no longer produce work-ready adults who are equipped for careers as machinists. While today’s job’s report seems optimistic—with U.S. employers adding 271,000 jobs in October and manufacturing jobs remaining flat—the reality is that manufacturing is flat because nobody wants the jobs that are available. If they did, the manufacturing sector of job growth would explode.

Forty years ago, schools required all students, regardless of college or vocational track, to get hands-on experience in basic machinery as part of their metal and woodshop requirements. Whether it meant making a bird house or a metal box, all students had to actually make things. For some reason, schools later decided that it was better to prep students for service jobs where they would sell what others made. And now we reap the results.

In my opinion, the reversal of this problem must start with the school systems. From a young age, students need to see manufacturing is a viable and honorable career path; one that doesn’t require a college degree (which not everyone desires). Manufacturing pays better than average wages, offers good working hours that allow people to spend more time with their families, and it suits the majority of people, if they would only be aware of it as a career option.

Historically, only the most studious went to college. Today, students are pushed to get degrees that many (perhaps most) won’t use. In my shop, less than 20% of the employees have college degrees—the other 80+% are hard-working people who live productive lives. A college degree would have wasted their money, years of their lives, and prepared them, in many cases, for jobs that don’t exist or are not needed.

I’ve been trying to get my local, county and state schools to listen to the needs of manufacturers for decades. We’ve seen a shift in their attitudes over the last five years and to an even greater extent in the last few months. NJ State and local schools have finally realized (a generation late, alas) that our students need to recognize manufacturing as a career path. 

I urge everyone to join the conversation: Contact local, county, and state school officials to advocate for our needs.  The more of us who raise our voices to those who can make this happen, the more they will listen, and the sooner the problem will be addressed.

It will be many years before U.S. school are producing qualified machinists again, but the process has to begin and it starts with manufacturers, large and small, pushing our school officials to produce a generation with the skills and attitude needed to grow companies.

A 30 year drought of young machinists is far too long. It’s up to manufacturers to push “the system” to change.
Larry Taitel is President of Convertech Inc.

How is India Using Robots?

Posted on November 5, 2015

India’s largest flexible packaging company, Uflex, is setting up a robotic plant for producing gravure cylinders at its Noida location. The company, which is the largest fully integrated flexible packaging solution provider to a range of clients across industries both in India and overseas, enjoys a formidable market presence in more than 140 countries. Since its inception in 1983, Uflex has grown from strength to strength to evolve as a truly Indian multinational with consumers spread across the world. Uflex today has state-of-the-art packaging facilities at multiple locations in India and film manufacturing facilities in India, the UAE, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and the USA.

“The robotic plant in Noida for producing gravure cylinders will be ready by January 2016,” says PK Agarwal, joint president, Uflex – Cylinder Division. “The technology is from Think Laboratory in Japan. Our people have already received the training and got a demo as well. The whole cylinder-making process will now become a one-man operation. It will need just one man to put the steel rollers on the rack and the engraved and finished cylinders will come out automatically at a rate of 80 cylinders a day.” If the robotic plant in Noida is successful, Uflex may add another robotic plant in Jammu, according to Agarwal. Jammu is coming up as the next important production site, after Noida for Uflex, with eight gravure printing presses – all Ceruttis and Bobst Rotomecs – and a pair of wide-web CI flexo presses – one each from Bobst F&K and Comexi.

“In Jammu we are already producing 6,000 gravure cylinders annually and very soon we will increase it to about 8,000,” says Agarwal. “My focus is to do 70% packaging business and 30% special value addition business – both gravure and flexo combined. In flexo, we are looking at going towards digitally imaged sleeves and plates based on elastomers and in Jammu we are in the process of installing our new Lead direct laser for producing flexo plates both as flat forms to be mounted on the plate cylinder and also for elastomer sleeve plates. “The Xeikon digital flexo imager in our Noida plant is working round-the-clock and due to increased demand, we have ordered another Xeikon for Noida which is likely to be installed in the November 2015 timeframe.

Agarwal says, “One advantage of Lead laser direct imaging of elastomer plates is that the plates themselves are extremely robust.” He is interested in exploring niche markets and in providing gravure embossing rollers for several materials such as leather, paper (for greeting and invitation cards) and aluminium foil (for pharmaceutical packaging). “We will try embossing in some of our packaging products also – initially on paper-based packaging products and later, on laminates for pouches too,” says Agarwal

Rising Drug Costs Trouble White House

Posted on November 5, 2015

The president’s administration is getting in on the recently hot topic of lowering drug prices by calling for a forum later this month aims to address the issue.

According to The New York Times, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, will host a day-long conference, “to consider ways of speeding up the discovery of innovative drug treatments while making them more affordable.”

Patients’ advocates, doctors and hospital executives, insurance carriers, state officials and pharmaceutical executives were invited.

The news outlet reported that the event’s invitation doesn’t specifically mention price controls, but the first panel at the forum is scheduled to be talking about, “the impact of rising pharmaceutical costs.”

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