When the doors of the Sands Expo and Convention Center open Sept. 10 for this year's edition of Pack Expo Las Vegas, a contingent from Hiram, Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese Co. again will be among the 17,000 attendees expected for the biennial packaging equipment showcase.

Mark Majerus, maintenance supervisor at Great Lakes' Plymouth, Wis., plant, was part of the retinue of plant managers accompanying the firm's owner to the 1999 PMMI-sponsored show. After making the rounds of fabricators of robotic case packers, the group placed an order for six L-500 top-load packers from Fallas Automation Inc., Waco, Texas. Increased efficiency and productivity and enhanced quality control have been achieved with the L-500, says Majerus.

The servo-driven, PLC-controlled L-500 is married to an O/K International case erector at the plant. Its robotic arm picks up shredded cheese in 8-oz., 12-oz. and 2-lb.zip-lock bags and places it in three pack patterns. A touch-screen control minimizes manual adjustments for changeovers, which take about 15 minutes, Majerus estimates.

Pack Expo Las Vegas runs Sept. 10-12. To register, call PMMI at 703-243-8555 or log on to www.packexpo.com.