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Automated solution unplugs a bottleneck during coffee packaging

29 November 2019

As part of a capital investment project to automate coffee production at its factory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Ringtons has employed packaging machinery from PFM. 

Ringtons supplies over 250,000 customers across the country – including cafés, restaurants, hotels, workplaces and other outlets – with door-to-door deliveries of tea, coffee, sweet treats and biscuits.
 
When the company set out to automate its coffee packaging process, in a bid to clear a bottleneck caused by a hand packing operation, it spoke to PFM. The suggested solution was to supply two Zenith EW and Auger filler packs, which have significantly improved output from 300 kilos in an eight-hour shift to 800 kilos per machine every hour in different bag styles.
 
The Zenith bagging machines are designed to host filling and weighing equipment with no need for a gantry. The result is a compact unit with bagging and weighing controls integrated within a single control system. 

Stephen Drysdale, head of coffee & business division at Ringtons, takes up the story: “The PFM equipment was successfully installed as part of a major investment in the factory, moving coffee production from manual to a fully automated system. PFM helped us go to the next level and helped increase our packing rate.”
 
The fillers pack ground coffee into 57-170g pillow bags, 200g Steelo stand-up packs with rigidised corners and block bottom bags of 500g and one kilo. The bags also have a valve applied to allow the gas given off by ground coffee to escape the pack. Another Zenith – the ZC model – is a fully integrated system with a 10-head multihead weigher, for block bottom bags of coffee beans in packs from 125g up to one kilo.
 
The ZC is said to offer flexibility and accuracy and is simple to use. The absence of a gantry reduces cost and machine footprint compared with a conventional system, while the compact nature of the unit also allows elevators and other support equipment to be downsized.
 
In addition, the weigher software includes a new routine designed to cut the time needed to replenish each weigh hopper with product, allowing the contents of more hoppers to be combined for a more accurate dose of powder and beans at higher speeds.


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