5 min read
How to Further Automate Your Virtuo Packer: Virtuo and ACF Combination
François Granger : 11 January 2022
Or, if you already have a Virtuo packer, you’re probably asking yourself:
“How can we further automate our Virtuo packer?”
“How can we reach higher packing speeds?”
“And is investing extra dollars in an Automatic Case Feeder really worth it?!”
In the article “What is the Virtuo Packer & What Companies is the Virtuo Best Suited For?” we talked about the 3 different versions of the Virtuo packer:
We also covered the 2 different automation levels to choose from:
As an Area Sales Manager and an IMPACK Expert for the last 5 years, I have recommended and sold dozens of Virtuo packers across the world. In addition, I was the Account Manager for our very first Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) and was responsible for the process coordination, development, testing, and implementation of the very first ACF.
So, for box manufacturers out there that are considering the Virtuo packer, or for our friends who already have a Virtuo packer, this article will cover:
What is the Virtuo Packer & What Companies is the Virtuo Best Suited For?
The Virtuo packer helps you achieve this by automating your case packing process so that your operators are only performing background tasks, such as feeding the packer with empty cases or managing full cases.
It is offered as an Automatic or a Fully-Automatic machine.
The Virtuo can only pack one-row, one-layer into cases.
And so, if your typical production is multi-row, multi-layer case packing then IMPACK’s Virtuo is not the right fit for you.
🔍 Recommended: If you’re interested in learning more about IMPACK’s Virtuo packer, the different options available, and whether it is the right fit for you, check out “What is the Virtuo Packer & What Companies is the Virtuo Best Suited For?”
What Are My Options With the Virtuo Packer?
There are 3 different versions of the Virtuo packer for you to choose from:
If you’re not sure what version is right for you and how to choose, I cover that in detail in the article “What is the Virtuo Packer & What Companies is the Virtuo Best Suited For?”.
And, there are 2 automation levels for you to choose from:
In its basic and most common product offering, the Virtuo is an Automatic packer.
If you’re not sure what automation level your company needs, check out “What’s the Difference between Manual, Semi-Auto, Auto & Fully-Auto Case Packers?” It compares the 4 different levels of automation and guides you through how to choose the right automation level for your company.
What is the Automatic Case Feeder and Do I Really Need It?
The Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) is a module that feeds the Virtuo packer with empty cases.
The ACF can be purchased with the Virtuo packer or retrofitted at any point in time to your existing Virtuo packer.
The diagram below shows the Virtuo + ACF combination (a Fully-Automatic packer) and the circled area depicts the ACF module.
Adding the Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) module to the Virtuo packer is what pushes the Virtuo’s scope of automation into the fully automated category, hence making the Virtuo a Fully-Automatic Packer offering a fully automated packing process.
That is, the Virtuo + ACF combination feeds the packer with empty cases, manages the filled cases, and seals the filled cases fully automatically without requiring the presence of an operator (or any other humans) while running.
The operator is only ever involved in setups and adjustments.
Also, IMPACK’s Virtuo + ACF combination is the only 100% Fully Automatic packer that exists in the world for both carton and corrugated boards.
You should know though that the ACF can only be added, or retrofitted, to the “Virtuo Intermediate” and “Virtuo Advanced” versions.
In other words, the ACF cannot be added to the very first IMPACK Virtuo (since it has no empty case conveyor on its top) or to the recent economical “Virtuo Basic.”
What Additional Options Can be Added to My Virtuo Packer?
The Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) can be integrated on the same side as the folder-gluer operator or on the opposite side.
The position of its electrical locker can also be customized.
The circled area in the diagram below shows the Automatic Case Feeder (ACF):
The ACF also has an interesting feature called the “Automatic Flap Opener” (AFO) which is a module that fully automatically opens the flaps of the RSC cases (Regular Slotted Containers with flaps on their top). This feature could be placed on standby when using HSC cases (Half Slotted Containers with open tops).
The circled area in the diagram below shows the Automatic Flap opener (AFO):
It is important for you to know that the Automatic Flap Opener (AFO) is required for RSC cases and not optional since there is no way of opening your case flaps manually when using the Automatic Case Feeder (ACF).
You may think that the case flaps are already opened once an empty case is erected, but the Virtuo packer handles the cases with the flaps widely opened to form a 90° angle with the case’s vertical walls in the case filling station.
The Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) has its own operator interface. It can be programmed based on your case sizes and orientation.
Once those parameters have been entered into the software, the ACF system will transfer all your cases from the loading conveyor to the Virtuo’s Case Feeder fully automatically. It will also open the case flaps fully automatically for RSC cases with the Automatic Flap Opener (AFO).
The Case Elevator has a pivot on its vacuum cup maintaining system. This pivot will ensure the right orientation of each case no matter which direction the cases are delivered to the loading station.
How Fast Can I Run with the Automatic Case Feeder?
The Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) with, or without, the Automatic Flap Opener (AFO), can process up to 8 cases per minute which matches the Virtuo packer’s maximum packing speed.
How to Decide: Invest in an Automatic Case Feeder or Not?!
“So, is investing in the ACF worth it for my company or not?”
Here is the answer in less than 20 seconds:
Your Company Needs the ACF IF 👇:
You want to increase the scope of your Virtuo packer's automation to a Fully-Automatic machine.
You want to reduce the number of packing person(s).
You are short-staffed and want to make your packing process a zero-human intervention process.
Your Company Does Not Need the ACF IF 👇:
You have the Virtuo Basic and so you cannot integrate the ACF module.
You have limited floor space.
If your cases are only HSC cases (Half Slotted Containers with open tops), you will need the Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) to transfer the cases from the ground conveyor to the top of the Virtuo feeder’s conveyor.
If your cases are only RSC cases (Regular Slotted Container with flaps on their top) or a mix of HSC & RSC cases, you will need the Automatic Case Feeder (ACF) to transfer the cases from the ground conveyor to the top of the Virtuo feeder’s conveyor. In addition, you will need the Automatic Flap Opener (AFO) to open the top flaps of the cases before transferring them to the Virtuo feeder’s conveyor.
Your Next Steps
👉 Get more info about the Specifications of IMPACK’s Virtuo packer & ACF module.
👉 If you’re still unsure about what version of the Virtuo packer you should choose or whether the Virtuo is the right machine for you, find out by reading “What is the Virtuo Packer & What Companies is the Virtuo Best Suited For?”.
👉 Find out How Much Does the Virtuo Packer Cost?
👉 And finally, get answers to some of your questions by checking out “The Top X Frequently Asked Questions About IMPACK’s Virtuo Packer.” (Coming Soon).
Still Got Questions?
If you still have questions that you need answers for, 📲Contact an IMPACK Expert! We’d love to help! Plus, maybe even show you the Virtuo packer + ACF combination LIVE on a video call 😉!