Stretch hood packaging – a vision becomes reality

It is MSK’s fastest stretch hood system for appliances, it ensures smooth product stacking and features an impressive energy balance: the MSK Tensiontech.

At Electrolux Revin/France, these new stretch hood machines now package washing machines with high speed and a unique packaging result.

Packaging demands

In order to being able to continue their “Green Spirit” dynamics, Electrolux Revin (France) asked for a stretch hood packaging solution at MSK Covertech, producer of packaging systems. A total of nine MSK Tensiontech stretch hood machines has already been in operation at Electrolux since 2001, however now there was a new challenge: the new stretch hood technology would have to be even faster – the fastest that MSK has ever offered for appliances. The former shrink oven technique was to be replaced by a modern, cost- and energy-saving packaging solution that would be able to handle over 400 products per hour.

 

Focus on final packaging

The development of perfect packaging for transport always calls for consideration of the primary product packaging, as well. The inner package has to resist the pressure which is put on by a stretch hood, so that the cost-saving effect of the stretch film does not go at the expense of the primary packaging.

In order to allow for that, MSK started extensive test series for Elextrolux Revin at their technical-scale laboratory, while other tests were run at Elextrolux Revin in order to come up with a specific solution for the packaging of compact and heavy devices.

It was a special challenge to design an ideal concept for the total unit of machine-product-film altogether. One of the main conditions was smooth product stacking, where the under-stretch at the product bottom plays an especially major part. The test series were successfully completed to the total satisfaction of the producer of washing machines. Electrolux placed the order for new MSK packaging machines for their plant in Revin.

 

Innovative high-performance technology

Both of the MSK packaging machines delivered to Electrolux Revin belong to the fastest stretch hood systems in the market. Each of the machines fits up to 220 washing machines per hour with an individually mass-produced stretch hood. “With regard to reaching this maximum speed, Electrolux has put a lot of confidence in us that we have not betrayed,” Uwe Jonkmanns, marketing and sales director at MSK, says about the close and trustful cooperation during the stage of development. “It is thanks to fundamental constructive features of the MSK Tensiontech and the result of great cooperation between different film producers that such an outstanding packaging result can be reached at this high performance level”, he explains.

The covering frame, for example, is made from highly stable aluminum, which reduces the moveable mass and - in addition to the balanced counter weight – allows for a smaller machine design. The system is fitted with a welding strip for film roll changes, which notably minimizes the loss of time during the exchange. It also offers a maximum of comfort in operation and refitting, as well as excellent accessibility. The MSK Tensiontech has been designed to operate without hydraulics or chains, so it does not need any lubricants on the product and comes as a “clean” system with minimal maintenance and very little abrasion. An important milestone in the development of the packaging solution for Electrolux Revin has been the use of the innovative MSK laminating system, which allows for easy product stacking and smooth transportation.

 

MSK laminating system

For on-plant transport of the washing machines in Revin, up to 18 devices can be conveyed simultaneously. This requires fast and secure stacking of the products. Stretch film at the product bottom that shows an insufficient “snap-back” effect would be counterproductive in this case as it could lead to packaging damage in stacking and transportation. In order to avoid that, MSK together with Electrolux Revin’s engineers applied an innovative laminating system which completely smoothes the film below the product after hooding. Thus, the devices can be conveyed and stacked without any problems or risk. On the plus side, using this technology enables the use of cheaper film.

Energy-efficient packaging

MSK’s stretch hood technology is able to handle even the thinnest film and abandons any usage of hydraulics and gas. By adding new material and constructively developing their machines to use less energy, MSK contributes to a positive energy balance. Depending on product and performance level, energy consumption is just below 0.1 kWh per packaging unit.

Customized project planning

Since the new packaging system was to be installed in a very compact space, MSK engineering started their project with an intensive layout phase. As a result, the machine arrangement now offers ideal film access and even allows for easy integration of another optional stretch hooder. Thanks to the close cooperation between the MSK and Electrolux engineers, the replacement of the old machines with the new system was implemented extremely fast and thus without any loss of production.

Cooperation of many years

The packaging machine producer MSK is proud to be called their “preferred supplier” for packaging solutions at Electrolux. These two companies are connected by a successful cooperation of many years. The variety of over 50 MSK machines for packaging of dish washers, washing machines and dryers at Electrolux includes shrink packaging systems, stretch hood machines and very extensive complete systems with conveyor technology and visualized controlling software MSK EMSY.

MSK technical-scale laboratory: check-up for packaging concepts

At their technical-scale laboratory, MSK offers packaging tests for comparison of different packaging concepts, including stretch hood and shrink films as well as alternative packaging systems. Analyses focus on final packaging, which means they include the concurrence of primary and secondary packaging. MSK is renowned for their customized innovations: “Using the original customers’ products, the best method for handling and packaging is tested and analyzed together with the customer at our technical-scale laboratory. By doing so, their experiences add to ours and the resulting unique systems and concepts form a great business advantage for our customers”, Uwe Jonkmann explains. Many leading OEMs, such as BSH, Buderus, Electrolux, GE, Trane and Whirlpool – all of them using MSK stretch hood packaging solutions – have already experienced the benefit of these advantages.