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Packing in more efficiency

17 December 2018

Humdinger has employed new baggers as part of a company-wide drive to achieve operational excellence. Since installing the first system in February line efficiency improvements of up to 50% have been achieved.  

Humdinger produces a range of natural fruit and nut-based snacks for retailer own labels and licensed brands, including Marmite, Branston and Peperami from three separate sites across the UK. In addition, the company has its own branded business, taking in kids’ fruit snack brands Humzinger and The Fruit Factory as well as pulse snacks such as wasabi peas and sweet chilli edamame beans. This varied portfolio demands a flexible packaging operation, not least because pack sizes and styles vary – bags range from 80g up to 500g and can be either quad or pillow in style. 

While the original baggers used by the company were able to handle all the different style and size variations they did not have the format flexibility that Humdinger needed. 

A better solution?
“When we set out to find a better solution we created our own URS (User Requirement Specification) and asked various equipment manufacturers to tender against this,” said Paul Ramsey, operations director at Humdinger.

As part of the tender process, Ilapak put forward its Vegatronic 6000 high speed, modular bagging platform. The continuous motion bagger can run off the full gamut of bag styles, including pillow, block bottom, quad and soy-style packs and is able to switch easily pack between sizes and styles. This was one of the deciding factors in Humdinger going on to specify the Ilapak solution.

“Our production model is such that we might produce the same format or pack size for three days or change over three times in a day – run lengths vary greatly, so accessibility and quick changeover capabilities were top requirements. On the Vegatronic 6000, the forming sets are very easy to take out, enabling us to effect a changeover in minutes,” said Ramsey.

As improving performance was to be the principal metric for evaluating the payback of this project, hitting Humdinger’s speed targets was vital.

The Vegatronic 6000 is capable of up to 200ppm on pillow packs. It also has the ability to produce quad packs either in-line or on the tube, depending on the customer’s requirements. The in-line configuration specified for this project allows higher speed operation and delivers aesthetic benefits due to reduced friction in the tube and better control over the film. 

A Vegatronic 6000 bagger was installed as part of a turnkey project that also included integration of a Herma labeller and ICE coder. Fed by an existing multihead weigher, the bagger is specified to produce quad bags at speeds of up to 80 per minute, and pillow packs up to 120ppm.

“We have increased our format flexibility by investing in a machine that can produce more than one pack style and have achieved a significant improvement in performance. “We produce for the major retailers which means we need to run a very efficient packing operation in order to protect our margins. Upgrading to the Vegatronic 6000 on one of our lines gave us the performance uplift we needed and the justification to invest in a second machine,” concluded Ramsey.

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