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Endoline boxes off spuds at Bennett Potatoes

11 May 2015

A fully automated case erecting and sealing line installed by Endoline Automation has enabled Bennett Potatoes to not only fulfill their need for improved pack presentation but increased throughput by 35% per hour on a line which achieves an annual output of 35,000 tonnes of potatoes.

Bennett Potatoes both export their potato crop and supply leading UK wholesalers and food services with a wide variety of potatoes, including Maris Piper and Saxon, which are packed into bags or sacks and delivered to customers throughout the UK.  However their baker sized potatoes, which are predominantly supplied to various foodservices, wholesale and export customers are boxed into cartons.  “The filled cartons each weigh 15 kilos so we required durable boxes to sustain this weight.  However manually forming, filling and sealing these boxes was a laborious and time consuming task as we have an annual output of 600,000 cartons per year.” Explains Ian Bennett, owner of Bennett’s Potatoes.

To endure the weight of the filled boxes Bennett’s required twin walled boxes which can be difficult to form on an automatic case erecting system as there is a high risk of failure due to the heavy board that needs to be opened and folded.  Consequently Endoline installed their fully automatic 221 case erector which has an integrated dual opposing vacuum technology which uses two vacuum systems for consistent, positive opening of the case. The machine also includes pneumatic rockets which open the outer case flaps before the inner case flaps, which overcomes issues with folding the case flaps that more conventional case erectors regularly have. Endoline’s Area Sales Manager, Mark Budd, explains how this system handles twin walled boxes:  “The dual opposing vacuum technology overcomes problems relating to forming heavy-duty boxes as it clamps to each side of the case during the forming process applying the same amount of pressure to simultaneously open it from both sides.”  The 221 case erector is also built to a small footprint to take up minimum space within Bennett’s site.

Once the boxes are formed they are transported via an automated conveyor system which feeds six separate filling lines. The filling process is controlled via a PC and its software to accurately fill the product to its desired weight before running through Endoline’s fully automatic 607 case sealer.  Capable of speeds of up to 30 same sized cases per minute Bennett Potatoes are able to leave the sealing system running 24/7 if required.  

Automating their potato box operation has been highly successful says Ian Bennett: “The line consistently produces accurately sealed boxes and requires very little manual operation.  While we have increased our output capabilities Endoline have simplified a previously lengthy task.  Our team have found the line extremely easy to use and it has meant that fewer are needed to man the line resulting in a more efficient production”.

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