Pregis, a leading global manufacturer of protective packaging, has engineered what it says is a “first-of-its-kind” paper cushioning conveyance system that uses air ducts to improve ergonomics and speed.

Pregis say that its paper cushions created by its Easypack Packmaster Pro machines can be conveyed via air blowers and aluminium ducting to overhead delivery hoppers. The air ducts reportedly move fan-folded paper, which can be created from a roll with nearly 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) of paper, depending on paper weight.

According to Pregis, proprietary engineering has gone into offering a new delivery system that improves worker ergonomics and packing speed while reducing equipment capital expenditures. The company claims that, unlike other delivery systems that use conveyor belts and/or structural poles, its conveyor-less approach uses more energy, frees up floor space, and is lower maintenance, apparently making it more cost-effective overall.

Paul van Dijk, senior product manager of paper systems at Pregis Europe, comments: “Typically, paper packaging machines are dedicated to either one or two packing stations.

“By conveying the paper void fill cushions to an overhead hopper which feeds up to six packaging stations, the need to take up valuable floor space with multiple machines is eliminated.

“Additionally, packers who are using the new conveyance system tell us that it is more ergonomic for them.

“For more than a decade, Pregis has a significant track record in providing overhead delivery systems for inflatable materials. We have taken much of the knowledge gained with those applications and applied it to our 100% recycled paper solutions.

“Further, the way we have engineered the paper conveyance ducting will allow it to work side-by-side with an air pillow system overhead system, for those operations that require both packing solutions at each pack station to accommodate a variable mix of items.”

Pregis’ air cushions with 50% post-consumer recycled content for e-commerce packaging were a finalist in the ‘E-commerce’ category of Packaging Europe’s 2021 Sustainability Awards.

Last year, Pregis partnered with inVia Robotics on a packaging fulfilment solution aimed at integrating automation capabilities throughout the fulfilment process and boosting the efficiency of pick, pack, and replenish applications.