Packaging Machines for the Food Industry
Bakery, Dough Products, Pizza, Croissants, Cakes, Frozen Food
Baked products such as Cakes and Pizza's require careful handling when they are packed. If bakery products get damaged in transit, there is no opportunity to return the product to the supplier for re-pack & re-supply. The customer loses out through lack of product availability. The supplier runs the risk of damage to their reputation and will also suffer lost profit on the damaged items. This profit cannot be recovered by just re-packing & re-supplying.
Whether volume produced or niche products, baked products call for traceability and packing methodologies that are quick, economic and reliable.
Investing in end of line packaging machinery helps to facilitate the packing process. Keeps it simple and repeatable for different products, and is very cost effective. Payback on investment can be as little as 6m depending on the process automated. Automation does not have to mean massive investment. Simple Case Erectors, semi-automatic Case Sealers, Case Coders and Pallet Wrappers all improve end of the line operations without massive cost implications.
Typically the baked product will be delivered to a packing line already contained within some kind of primary packaging. The task of the packing line will be to place the items into a cardboard outer for onward shipping & transportation. It is therefore very important that the secondary packaging protects and contains products safely, securely and economically. The primary product must reach the customer, retailer and end user in good condition with an easily identifiable use by date with traceability for the producer / supplier.
Cardboard Outer Boxes
Using cardboard outer boxes is a common way of protecting goods in transit from the manufacturer to the customer. Sealing a box with tape is an effective way of making sure the product within stays in the box safe & secure.
Automation: Case Erector
Using a Case Erector to form & seal a box saves time and space. There is no need to pre-make the cardboard boxes before they are actually required. The cases are made on demand and made faster than when done by hand. Speeds in excess of 10 / min are easily achieved on entry level machines. The case is ejected from the machine with its base already sealed, top open and ready for product to be placed inside.
Automation: Case Sealer
Case Sealers can be justified on a throughput as little as 100 boxes / day. A Case Sealer also ensures consistency of taping; the box will be taped first time every time. There is no need to re-apply a second line of tape just to make sure that the box is actually taped closed and will not open in transit. A Case Sealer ensures consistent presentation of the box being sealed.
A uniform semi-automatic Case Sealer still requires an operator to fold the flaps of the box and present the box to the tape machine for sealing. However, most users of a Case Erector will also put an Automatic Top Flap Folding Case Sealer in the production line. This type of Case Sealer removes the need for human intervention once the product is packed in the box.
Low Height Boxes
Products such as Pizza's can be supplied in their own individual boxes. As Pizza's tend to be thin, the boxes they go into can be as low as 50mm in height. The Legend Case Sealer is able to do this.
Traceability & Inventory Management
With foodstuffs it is probable that the box containing the items will be stored for a limited time in a warehouse before the contents are required for display and / or sale. Warehouse racking systems can be vast. If a warehouse operator is to rotate inventory according to shelf life and best before dates, he needs to be able to see, understand & locate the items in the boxes. The shelf-filler in a supermarket has similar requirements.
Simple Case Coders such as dot matrix ink jet printers accomplish this. They put a best before date, batch code in human readable format in large characters directly on the box. This enables a warehouse operative to easily see which boxes of product should be used first, and therefore maintain the correct inventory holding for a particular product. The external batch codes act as a control for the supplier, so that if for any reason he needs to identify a particular batch, say if a product recall may occur, it can be done so easily and quickly.
If a Bar-Code or more complex printing is required such as ingredient lists or a promotional logo is required, a high resolution Case Coder such as an IJ3000 would be more suitable.
Security in Transit
Volume producers / manufacturers may ship goods to their customer on pallets. Pallets facilitate ease of moving large quantities of boxes in a stable and controlled manner. Pallets can then be put into storage in a warehouse and stacked on shelves ready for use as & when required. However, if the boxes are not secured to the pallet in some manner, they can easily move in transit and risk being rejected and / or damaged in transit. This can result in non delivery and fines. For baked products, the opportunity to replace the damage items may not present itself, it maybe too late. It certainly puts reputation at risk. It also adds unnecessary and avoidable cost.
Securing a palletised load to a pallet with stretchwrap film is a simple yet economic method of reducing risk of damage in transit & rejected deliveries. If end of the line equipment such as a Pallet Wrapper is used to accomplish this, security can be enhanced and productivity improved, especially when compared to wrapping by hand. Productivity gains of over 30% have been achieved with wrappers from Loveshaw Europe. Using a pallet wrapper is also an environmentally sound way of wrapping a pallet. It uses less film as it stretches the film as it is applied to the palletised load. Using a power pre-stretch pallet wrapper generates less waste that will ultimately end up as landfill.