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TEC conveyor keeps track of bottle preforms

By: Frank Antosiewicz

April 2, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 2, 9:20 a.m. ET) — TEC Engineering Corp. (Booth 3673) is known for custom designing automated product handling systems and they’ve come up with two new products that they are introducing at NPE2012: An exact count preform conveyer system and an automated box filling system.

“When you injection mold preforms the problem is in counting. When you sell preforms, you don’t get an exact count in the box, so you end up giving some more to be sure,” said Maurice Minardi, president of the Oxford, Mass., company, in an interview at the show.

He said that the preform system took about three years to develop. It is set up so that preforms are weighed as they come off the injection molding machine. That allows a counter to establish a total for a conveyor system that adjusts and soft drops the products for protection, then pushes them onto the line for the blow molder.

The preform system is called Flex-Tec and its advantage, according to Minardi, is that the conveyor can change length and shape automatically and still give an accurate count.

He said the set up is an advanced version of the Soft-Tec conveyor system that TEC has sold over 200 in the past 10 years. Now, it has two different versions for sale.

Also new for TEC is the patent-pending automated box filling system for extrusion lines. He said that the line is set up for dip tubes or straws used for something like a window spraying product and it can handle up to 1,000 per minute. Running at NPE, a line of empty boxes runs along a conveyor, are lifted into place, clamped and turned to handle the dip tubes. When full, a gate drops down, the box lowered and the next box brought into play. The NPE system was dropping about 3,800 dip tubes into each box.

Minardi said the automated system speeds up a process that was done partly by hand in the past.

TEC Engineering was founded in 1982 and started with regular conveyor systems.

“Now, it is more automated, more complex and everything has a touch screen and self diagnostics,” he added.

Minardi said that sales are up 20 percent over last year, partly because of an improving economy and “secondly people are looking for more technology.”

TEC uses three-dimensional technology to design its systems and he noted that about 80 percent of its business is custom designed systems.