This research was a collaborative project funded by Visy Research and Development Pty. Ltd. and undertaken between Visy Packaging Systems Division (PSD) and the Industrial Research Institute Swinburne (IRIS). The project commenced in July 2000 and was completed in July 2002. The primary objective of the project involved an investigation of how to increase the flexibility of corrugated fibreboard (CFB) tray forming equipment by developing a flexible (size changing) mandrel and well system which folds the trays from a flat blank. This type of equipment is produced by Visy PSD and installed at customer sites. This objective was achieved, and a working, innovative prototype was developed and manually tested. This paper provides a background introduction to the corrugated fibreboard folding machine history with particular regard to flexible mandrels. The industrial implications of the research and development program are overviewed and an introduction to the CFB tray folding process is provided. The size change requirements are defined and the design and development process used in guiding the research and development program is outlined. The prototype was designed, built and subjected to manual testing and was adopted by Visy PSD and was being incorporated into a complete machine for customer production use.
The assistance, advice and guidance provided by the following people was greatly appreciated in helping this project to progress more effectively and efficiently: (1) Ed Kosior: program progress; (2) Ian McBride: prototype design and build; (3) Brian Dempster: prototype component manufacture; (4) Colin Mierisch: prototype component manufacture.