When a special machine was required to apply security labels to all four sides of a box of sweets, as well as accommodating a range of pack sizes, Sessions Label Solutions of York stepped up to the challenge. A machine had to be designed where the labelling heads and parallel conveyors could be moved in unison to pre-determined positions to accord with box dimensions.

The basis of the resulting system is two pairs of parallel conveyors mounted on linear slides that are coupled together to form an ‘L’ shape. The conveyors, on each leg of the handling system, enable the width to be adjusted to suit the different box sizes. For the maximum box width of 400mm the conveyors are at their widest apart, and for the smallest, 100mm, they are brought together.

Precision was needed here as L-clip labels had to be applied, so the box has to overhang the 30mm wide conveyors on two opposing sides, enabling the label to be affixed to the side and bottom faces of the box.

The linear speed of the conveyors is 30m/per minute with a maximum product throughput of 60 boxes per minute; and to move these in and out the company selected the HepcoMotion double-acting PSD80 linear actuator, which can run dry.

With the new machine, the labelling heads are fixed to the carriage plates of HepcoMotion’s GV3 linear motion system that easily provides the required positioning accuracy of ±1mm. The entire machine is mounted on the HepcoMotion MCS aluminium machine construction system.

In operation, the conveyors and label heads on both sections of the machine are manually adjusted to suit the dimensions of the next batch. On leaving the packaging line, the boxes then travel down the first pair of conveyors to the label heads where the L-clip labels are applied to the first two opposing sides of the box and secured underneath. They are then turned through 90° by the cross over unit and steered along the second pair of conveyors for the application of L-clip to the two remaining faces.