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You may have heard the news by now, but we would like to officially announce our newest partner: Comau. An Italian company that has extensive experience in robots, cobots, and AGV’s since the 1970’s Comau has the kind of legacy that we look for in a partner. They have been on the cutting edge of technology since their inception, and continue to advance. Their COBOT AURA (advanced use robotic arm) is incredible. It is the future of human / robot interaction, with the robot able to sense the proximity of a person or another piece of equipment and use that data to slow down and work around the obstacle – only stopping if very close or touched by an employee. Even better? When stopped the robots sensors can be used as buttons to respond to the operator’s needs. These robots are top of the line an can be installed virtually anywhere, even in tough overhead environments. Much like our FlexLink product line they were initially designed for heavy duty manufacturing, like automotive and bearing plants; but they have since taken that quality and resilience and applied it lighter duty manufacturing like consumer goods or food and beverage handling. Comau is truly a product line that has a solution for everyone, which is why it fits so well with our solutions here at Flex-Line. In the coming weeks we will be adding more information to the site, but in the meantime please take a look at http://www.comau.com/EN to learn more.... Read More
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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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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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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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We had dinner with one of our salesmen last night, Don Petsch  of Mike Petsch and Associates. As you might guess by the name, he is second generation in this business and has the experience that goes with that. He has been building conveyors with his dad since high school and has seen a lot of solutions, across a variety of industries, in his years of working with our product line. As we ate the conversation turned to FlexLink, which is pretty much inevitable during our dinner conversations. We talked about the differences between X65 and XL and X85 and its precursor XM. But that isn't what inspired me to write this morning. What inspired me to write this morning was one sentence, "You can move a refrigerator on an XM conveyor." Yes, you just read that correctly. We run into this misconception that a product has to be completely surrounded by a belt in order to move and orient it very frequently, and that is just not the case. Commonly, it is a much more economical option to move that refrigerator, box, bundle, can, package, or whatever else you might be handling down the line on a single belt with a creative guiderail solution. I don't think I am letting you in on any trade secrets when I tell you that a 2.48"/63mm wide conveyor is generally cheaper than a 11.61"/295mm one. Not only is looking at moving products that way economical, it has great benefits with respect to your floor space too. The price doesn't even take into consideration the world of reorienting opt... Read More
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Pack Expo
Did you attend Pack Expo this year in Chicago? We did, and we got a lot of attention. People spent a lot of time stopping to gape at the “drawbridge” conveyor, an innovative box moving solution that we designed for the show. It functions as both an elevator and a singulator, utilizing a combination of friction top chain and back pressure to feed a variety of box sizes up an incline. Are you interested in learning more? Contact us for more information, a complimentary quote, or just to say that you like the concept. We always love hearing from you. Did you miss the Chicago show? Are you going to be in Las Vegas for Pack Expo 2015? We are. Make sure to include a stop by booth # S-6303 in you show plans! If you thought the “drawbridge” conveyor was an interesting solution you won’t believe what we have planned. ... Read More
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