Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 210

AFA Systems Inc.
www.afasystemsinc.com / 2012 revenue: $13 million / HQ: Brampton, Ontario / Eric Langen,
vice president: "Our focus in the industry is designing solutions that perfectly fit the customer."

Canada

the last 10 years through creating
engineered solutions."

Robot Helpers

afa does all of its engineering
designs in-house, and all of
its designs are proprietary.

Perfect Fit
afa systems inc.'s goal is to give its customers exactly
what they need and nothing less. by jamie morgan
There are two major modes of
thinking when it comes to manufacturing equipment. Manufacturers can
either design and produce machines
as they see fit and expect customers
to fall in line, or they can take a careful
look at their customers' processes
and create exacting solutions. AFA
Systems Inc., based in Brampton,
Ontario, has chosen the latter. The
company, run by a second-generation
of Langen brothers, specializes in
engineered automated product-handling and packaging solutions. AFA's
equipment can be used for a number
of packaging functions and applications such as product handling, case
packing, cartoning, product orienting, alignment systems, lane combiners, palletizing and case erecting.
210

manufacturing-today.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014

As one can imagine, because packaging is used in almost every industry, AFA's client list runs the gamut
from food and beverage manufacturers to pharmaceutical and personal
hygiene companies. The company
has developed best practices for
working with each industry, but also
creates customized solutions for
specific needs.
"We do all of the design in-house
and all of the designs are proprietary," Vice President Eric Langen
explains. "I think traditional packaging companies were more focused
on building a machine and selling it
to customers and having them modify their product and process to
match the machine, whereas we've
enjoyed tremendous growth over

AFA Systems monitors trends in the
packaging world to stay ahead of customers' needs. One of those trends is
the move away from pneumatic compressed air solutions to electronic
motion-controlled machinery, which
uses robotics to control movement
through the packaging process.
Langen says a good example of the
process is AFA's MK-DLT Integrated
Delta 3 Robotic Cartoner, which uses
a Delta 3 robot that is designed and
manufactured by AFA Systems. The
robot is mounted above the cartoner
to provide accurate collation of product off either an indexing or continuous moving conveyor. An integrated
AFA platform for motion and
machine control offers one programming environment for operators.
Other benefits to the end-user
include reduced training costs, easier
troubleshooting and reduced maintenance costs.
The key innovation behind the
MK-DLT is that the Delta 3 robot and
the cartoner are controlled by an
Allen Bradley platform. Traditional
integrated Delta 3 Robotic Cartoners
will typically employ two control
systems: one for the cartoner and
one for the Delta 3 Robot. This
means that operators will have to be
familiar with two control systems,
which increases training and maintenance cost. With the MK-DLT, one
integrated platform is used to control both the cartoner and the Delta 3
Robot. An integrated vision system
ensures accurate pick and placements of a wide variety of carton and
product sizes. The machine can handle up to 300 pick and placements
per minute.
"We have really spent a lot of effort
in increasing our capabilities in terms
of machine control and robotic integration," Langen says. "We've part-


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014

Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 1
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 2
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Manufacturing Today - January/February 2014 - 4
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