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Packaging chips at high speeds

Source:FoodBev Asia

Date Published:10/29/2018 04:10:04 PM

Piper Crisps has doubled packaging speed and even reduced waste using a tna robag vertical form fill seal machine.  

Pipers Crisps Ltd, a company established by three farmers in Brigg, Lincolnshire, UK, in 2004 are widely known for their gourmet chips made from local potatoes. Positioned in the premium market, the brand has won awards in the UK. The chips are imported to the US and Europe, and continue to enjoy rising popularity.

It did come to a point when the company needed to speed up packaging, in particular, how to efficiently switch packaging between their 40g and 150g pack sizes. They were not satisfied with the rate of 80 bags per minute (bpm) for smaller bags. The solution they chose was high-speed equipment from tna. Evaluating the improvements after installation of the robag FX 3ci, Pipers said the machine has nearly doubled the company’s packaging capacity and helped in reducing waste. The UK manufacturer was also impressed that in spite of the speeds, they could maintain product quality through enhanced seal integrity. 

Fast changeovers, seal integrity ensure 

The company invested in two tna robag® FX 3ci – vertical, form, fill and seal (VFFS) packaging solutions. the high-speed baggers feature the world’s shortest vertical product transfer from the scale to the pack, helping to maximise packaging performance. The new setup allows Pipers Crisps to package a variety of bag sizes at speeds of up to 140 bpm, resulting in a 75% increase, in line with the company’s capacity uplift. 

The tna robag FX 3ci makes changeovers fast and easy, enabling operators to easily switch from one bag size to another on the same packaging line.

The Pipers Crisps brand is renowned for its premium positioning. It was therefore important that the chosen packaging solution could maintain seal integrity and reliably produce high-quality bags that do not compromise the shelf life of the product within it.

“During the packaging process, pieces of chips can get caught in the bag seal, compromising seal integrity and reducing the shelf life of the product. When this occurs, it can often lead to product rejects and waste,” explains Simon Hill, regional sales manager at tna.

tna robag FX 3ci at Pipers Crisps

tna robag FX 3ci makes changeovers fast. At Pipers Crisps, packaging speed for different pack sizes increased from 80 bpm to 140bpm. 

With its innovative rotary jaw design and advanced sealing technology that offers improved seal performance at high speeds, the tna robag FX 3ci proved to be the perfect solution. Featuring patented stripper tube closures, the completely integrated packaging system allows for better control of the product through the packaging and filling cycle, therefore helping to control dust generation and minimising crumbs in the end seal of the bag.

The tna robag FX 3ci was also customised with product-in-seal-detection (PISD) software that monitors product in the seal and jaw area. If seal integrity is compromised, the system immediately alerts the operator so that bags can be quickly removed from the line for further inspection. That way Pipers Crisps is able to ensure that each bag meets the highest quality standards while keeping waste to an absolute minimum.

Richard Mottram, factory manager at Pipers Crisps, comments: “Before the installation, we experienced 3% wastage at 80 bpm, as we had to manually detect and remove any bags with compromised end seals or pleats before they entered the packaging area. Now, our wastage is down to 1% at 140 bpm – which has surpassed our expectations. As a result, it has helped us gain better control over product losses and achieve operational cost savings, while contributing to quality assurance.”

Complete customer service

“When we first started looking for a VFFS packaging solution to expand our existing fleet, tna was the first name that came to mind,” explains Mottram. “We were initially attracted to the high speed capability and unparalleled product quality. During the project, we were impressed with tna’s forward-thinking attitude and level of support – from specification and project scoping, to trial and implementation.”

“Installing two new packaging lines into an existing fleet can be challenging. Taking the time to extensively trial how the tna equipment would integrate alongside existing systems was therefore crucial. Once we fully understood Pipers Crisps’ needs, we were able to tailor our systems to fit specific requirements, providing them with flexible, high performance solutions that would meet their long-term production needs,” adds Hill.

He continues: “The tna robag tends to be shorter and more compact than other systems, making it ideal for factories that are limited in floor space. In comparison to other plants, however, Pipers Crisps had a significant amount of ceiling height available, which meant we had to tailor the equipment to fit. We therefore installed the system on 500mm stainless steel plinths to work with the existing distribution and weigher gantry configuration. The solution allowed a smooth transfer of products, delivering full integration with existing equipment.”


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