Flexibility in an automated case packaging machine increases efficiency and gives more options for product and packaging variations.
Today’s consumers have busier lifestyles, causing many of them to replace standard meals with snacking options. To address this trend, many snack manufacturers are offering a wider variety of flavors and portion sizes, so product runs can sometimes be shorter, making changeover time a bigger factor. Coupling this trend with the growing difficulty in sourcing a dependable and skilled work force, many snack manufacturers are turning toward automation.
Beyond eliminating labor uncertainty, automated case packers are much more efficient and reliable than manual packers, so incorrect bag count in the case and waste from damaged product during packing are no longer significant issues. Automated case packaging machines ensure speed, accuracy, and error-free efficiency, as well as improve employee safety and return on investment.
Automated case packaging machines are sophisticated and expensive so selecting the optimal machine to purchase is a significant investment. The machine should be reliable, match the layout of your operation, be flexible to handle all your products and packaging options, match your staff and their skillsets, and work seamlessly with your entire line of equipment. This blog addresses the importance of flexibility in handling your products and of packaging options.
Automatic case packers can take a given instruction for different pack patterns in a case and load accordingly. Depending on the machine, a basic configuration is upright rows of varying lengths (depending on the size of the package). More advanced machines can also vary the vertical stacks and/or configure more complex patterns.
Automating your case packing removes problems, such as the introduction of foreign bodies or incorrect case counts, and fully automatic systems provide accurate case-packing of mass-produced products, some with a capacity for boxing up to 150 packages per minute.
Ishida makes one of the industry’s most advanced automatic case packaging machines, the ACP-701 (Case Packer) is a fully automated system based on Ishida’s vast experience in the snack foods sector around the world. Case Packer combines bag handling, collation, case erection, case loading, case closing, and sealing in one machine, for a wide range of bag sizes, case sizes, and pack patterns.
Using vacuum-free bag handling, Case Packer can pack small and large pillow style bags, standup major, standup minor, side pack, as well as multiple pack patterns within the case. As the industry-leading universal case packer, the Case Packer can offer case packing for bag sizes of 108mm—330mm width with many bag types, including pillow, side gusset, flat bottom, HEM, and different pack patterns without changing parts. By setting case size and bag size in the HMI, appropriate time values and mechanical settings are automatically selected (up to 500 presets are available).
All functions for case packing, such as case erecting, bag sorting/packing, and case closing, are fully integrated, and no additional conveyor for interfacing with other equipment is required. This integration offers controlled case and bag handing and returns on floor space and cost.
The case packer can perform an industry-leading 3-minute changeover, achieved in part due to automatic adjustment capability, and the changeover requires no tools and no change parts. For example, if the system is running eight bags in a row/four rows and the changeover requires nine bags in a row/four rows, the operator can easily change the bag count per row or row per case by setting the value in the HMI. Case Packer will automatically change timing values and mechanical adjustments.
The Case Packer is a part of Ishida’s complete packing solution cell, which includes the Inspira snack food bagmaker VFFS and the TSC-RVS in-line seal checker. They integrate together seamlessly and operate with feedback and feedforward software to maximize efficiency.
Industry Manager—Snack Food Packaging