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Pack Expo 2017
Hey everyone! Thank you very much for stopping in to visit us at Pack Expo in Las Vegas this year. I am doing my best to get in contact with you all. I always love seeing our old friends, as well as meeting new ones at the shows. It can be pretty stressful in the days leading up to the show. This year we arrived only to be told that they had no record of our freight. I seriously thought you guys were going to walk up to booth S-8133 to see me sitting on a stool with an empty cup and a cardboard sign reading: "Freight lost. Need leads. Anything helps." Everything always works out in the end though, and I hope you guys enjoyed our booth design. This is a really great industry to have been born into, and I consider myself lucky to be apart of it. I was invited to be a part of the "Women's Leadership Network" breakfast this year, and seeing a whole room full of women in the industry was fantastic. You see, I grew up with great role models in the form of my mother Cathy and two other System Builder presidents: WHM's Joan Morgan and TNA's Dana McGuirt. I was in grad school before I ever realized that there was a glass ceiling to be danced upon, in the words of the speaker. It was heartening to see so many other women, especially those just coming into packaging and automation careers forming those mentorships. What many of you don't know is that Rhett and Cathy, my parents, and two of the four founders of Flex-Line Automation have their wedding anniversary in late September. Th... Read More
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Pack Expo 2017 is quickly approaching. We are finalizing booth designs and throwing a few unique ideas around to try to have a little fun with things this year. That's why I always love the Vegas show. It is a little more laid back than the one in Chicago, and I feel more comfortable letting our "hair down" as it were. It has been growing too, I fully expect them to add days to it at some point. There is an awful lot to experience there in two days. I'm sure that by now you have realized that Flex-Line isn't the kind of company to hound you about coming to see us, and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon. I can tell you that there is a nice little picture at the top of our home page that has a link to free registration for the show. So if you would like to come visit us and see the crazy things that we are doing this year click the link and swing on by. We will be waiting for you September 25-27th!... Read More
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Pack Expo 2016
Well, it is that time of year again. The crates are being loaded up as I type this. Pack Expo is right around the corner. It is in Chicago this year – at the McCormick Place from November 6-9th. If you are interested in attending THE tradeshow for the packaging industry for FREE just drop us a line. I would love to get you a complimentary pass to come see us and the rest of the innovative companies that attend the show! We will be show casing a few of our unique solutions, and you don’t want to miss it! See you in Chicago!... Read More
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I love the level of customer service we can provide because we have been in business for so long. Nothing makes my day brighter than being able to tell someone that we have the parts on hand to get them out of a bind.   I was on a sales call this morning for a conveyor that was put into service back in 1996. Since its installation it has received minimal maintenance, and is still going strong. Of course, with only spending about $300 in spare parts for the old gal over the last 20 years she is ready for some TLC.   While we do recommend a more frequent service schedule; it is incredible to see how durable the FlexLink product line is in action. How many other conveyor systems do you know of that can run for 20 years without wearing out a drive or idler? It’s crazy. It is even crazier to think that the newer parts are designed to be even more robust than the old ones. Talk about getting your money’s worth.   But that leads to a problem. Where do you turn when you have a conveyor that was engineered in the 90’s needs spare parts? FlexLink doesn’t support the really old designs anymore, and the common school of thought is to shift a customer away from the old parts and into a new system, but that can get to be pretty cost prohibitive. Well, there is another option. You can turn to us.   As much trouble as I have given my parents about needing to get rid of our extensive collection of old style FlexLink part... Read More
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Today I read a blog about ergonomic work stations being built with mk North America’s extrusion. It really got me thinking. I have spent my whole life surrounded by extrusion, so maybe I take it for granted that other’s know just how flexible it can be. For example, many of our desks and shelves at the office are built out of FlexLink’s discontinued XCBM 84, but offices could easily be fitted with any of the mk extrusion products or items from FlexLink’s XC line. While I have worked pretty much exclusively with FlexLink’s aluminum extrusion, I can say that the flexibility and durability of either their or mk’s product cannot be questioned. There are so many options for connectors and brackets! It is pretty fantastic to be able to alter desk heights with the turn of a socket, or to easily adapt shelf heights based on the ergonomic needs of multiple employees. The locking casters that are available with these modular systems can even make movable work stations a breeze. It really gets you thinking, is there anything that can’t be built with aluminum extrusion? Based on this gift to Cathy I think I can confidently say, “No, not really.” So, the next time you are designing a desk for your shop, a custom cart, a shelf, or any sort of protective guarding remember that our slogan – “We don’t just sell conveyors, we provide solutions.” means that we do that too. Even if what you... Read More
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Thank you very much for your patience this morning. Due to winter weather in our area, we have been experiencing phone and power outages. As of now it seems that things are back to running normally. We apologize very much for the inconvenience.... Read More
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It happens every year. No matter how many months there are between trade shows, the Pack Expo always surprises me with how quickly it gets here. This year the show is in late September, and that means that it is already time to start considering free passes to the show. There are a limited number of them available, so if you are interested, please let us know as soon as possible. It is a great show, with some truly innovative displays. If you can make it out to lovely Las Vegas Nevada I would highly recommend it. And I'm not just saying that because we will be exhibiting in Booth S-6303. Though we are putting the finishing touches on our booth design  - so if there is anything that you are dying to see now is the time to ask for it to be included. Otherwise you'll just have to wait and see what we have come up with this year. See you in September!... Read More
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Choosing your System Partner
Building off of last week’s post on 5 questions to ask yourself about your product before you decide to choose your conveyor type, I wanted to sit down and give you my insight into how you choose your conveyor supplier. Now there are several blogs like this out there floating around on the web, and those authors make very good points; but in my opinion they go off topic by exploring how to choose the conveyor system itself, not the supplier. Many suppliers handle multiple types of conveyors so maybe I am off base here, but I don’t think it is as imperative to choose your supplier based on their product as it is to choose a supplier that has experience with their product lines and who you can rely on. We have had times when our vendors, who don’t carry multiple conveyor lines, have called us because their customer needed something to which they did not have access. That is loyalty to their customer right there. That’s what you should be looking for. I am confident that whoever you choose to provide you with a conveyor will be able to find you a gravity, roller, belt, or tabletop conveyor if that is what you truly need.  The question then, isn’t really whether or not they carry the product; it is whether or not you can trust them to get you the best solution, even if it isn’t their premier product.  I’m not talking about a situation where the vendor truly believes that their product is the best on the market, because each ... Read More
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So, you have products that need to be moved from point A to point B. Naturally, you decide that you need a conveyor, right? Sure you could use a cart, or have people wearing their backs out toting boxes, but why not enter into the wonderful world of conveying options? Except maybe that the world of conveying is very overwhelming. It isn’t just about low cost leaders here. There is so much more to consider than upfront costs. Do you want gravity conveyor, or powered options? What about rubber or plastic belt; or steel belts? How about guiderails? Are they going to mar the product? If you accumulate, is your product going to all fall down? What style drive do you need? Do you need a VFD? Are you carrying multiple sizes of products on the same line? How fast is your changeover? How fast is your line? Can you even carry golf balls up an almost 90 degree incline? What about conveyor made from rubber bands, do they do that? Should you get a steel conveyor, or an aluminum one? Do you need adjustable height? Do they even make a conveyor for your application? Maybe most importantly, even if the conveyor works what is the system with lowest total ownership cost? So - Many - Options... Let me make it simple for you. Here are five questions to ask yourself about your product when you are picking out a conveyor system. Or, you could just call us and take advantage of our free engineering and experienced staff so you don’t have to worry about it, but I digress… ;) 1.... Read More
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It seems like every trade show that we do someone asks us about elevating solutions. There are so many great ways of incline/declining products out there that it can be a little confusing, not to mention overwhelming, to try and figure out what the best solution is when you don't live and breathe material handling day in and day out. We in the conveyor industry tend to embrace our jargon with a passion which only makes things worse. It can be awfully confusing to try and translate what exactly someone means when they say "Alpine" or "Blanket Conveyor." So, without further ado and with a little insight into their names, here are seven elevating options from Flex-Line Automation! 1. Incline/decline conveyors are the most basic elevation changing option. They usually use friction chain, friction belt, cleated chain, cleated belt, roller cleats, or small elevation changes over a long run in order to get a product moving up or down in a controlled manner. They are great when you have a lot of room or don't need drastic height changes. The roller cleat style can even feed product in between the cleats with no additional automation! 2. Alpine conveyors are what immediately springs to my mind when I think of FlexLink conveyor choices. (I'm not even going to pretend that they aren't my personal favorite. We strapped a camera to a pallet moving through one of these once. It was awesome. You can check it out on our downloads page, under Flex-Line Video.) They are named after their s... Read More
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