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More than ever before, our supermarket shelves are a battleground for an enormous array of packaged fresh food products, each competing for the attention of time-strapped, price-sensitive consumers. Particularly in comparison to frozen alternatives, fresh food products such as vegetables, salad and dairy products appeal to modern, health-conscious, environmentally aware shoppers.
But today’s selective consumers do not just want their food to be fresh—they want it to be fresh for longer, with greater usability. This places complex requirements on both food manufacturers and packagers, and presents an array of challenges.
Eric Aasen, VFFS Product Line Manager, dives into the requirements and challenges of packaging fresh food products in an article published today on Packaging Digest. The article focuses on fresh produce packaging using vertical form fill seal machines but many of the insights shared in the article can be applied to all types of packaging machines. Read the entire article here.
Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc. now offers its best selling line of Doboy table top hand sealers for purchase online. The online store provides customers a fast, convenient way to purchase either the HS-BII or HS-CII tabletop sealers. The HS-CII is a portable continuous band sealer that seals most soft films, such as polyethylenes. The HS-BII is a portable rotary sealer intended for heat sealing hard or supported films such as cellophane, polypropylene, foils, or paper laminates. Both sealers are simple to operate with temperature and pressure settings easily adjusted to accommodate different different bag styles and thicknesses.
In addition to the sealers, spare parts kits and an optional table top mounting stand is available for purchase in the online store.
For more information on the Doboy tabletop sealers watch the video below or visit the Bosch website.
Endangered Species™ Chocolate expects more than a 230 percent boost in output by using Bosch’s Pack 401 horizontal flow wrapper, enabling it to meet increasing demand for its chocolate bars. As evidenced by its name, the premium chocolate company donates 10 percent of its net profits to species and habitat conservation efforts.
The company has been using Bosch machines since opening in 1993. As more and more consumers were craving its 0.35-ounce Organic Chocolate Squares, known as Chimp Mints and Bug Bites, Endangered Species needed to increase production capacity. The Pack 401 enabled production to jump from 120 pieces per minute to 400 pieces per minute.
“The Pack 401 wraps our products faster than we can currently produce them,” said Bryan Fuller, Director of Operations, Endangered Species. “This positions us for our anticipated growth over the next few years.”
Previously, defective packaging had to be manually sorted and discarded. The Pack 401 features sensors that automatically detect and reject inadequate products and packaging, such as empty packages, uncut packages, or packages with film splices, which increases efficiency and saves on labor costs.
“Our conservation mission is the core of our organization and we fully trust that Bosch’s technology will produce results,” Fuller added. “Higher profits and reduced waste mean more donations to our not-for-profit partners.”
As the company experienced tremendous growth in production, it needed a machine with simplified cleaning and maintenance to ensure product safety and remove all traces of allergy-causing ingredients. “The Pack 401 is an expertly planned machine – every section is easy to access and clean,” said Fuller.
“We always enjoy helping our customers reach their production goals and it’s even sweeter when this also benefits important causes,” said Paul Garms, Marketing Manager, Bosch Packaging Technology.
Endangered Species’ previous solution required that the chocolate squares be manually transferred from their molds to the primary packaging machine. The Pack 401 automatically directs the chocolates from the mold line to the flow wrapper without human intervention, allowing the company to redirect labor to higher skilled positions.
We invite you to walk through our Pack Expo 2012 booth in a new 3D interactive website (www.BoschPackagingBooth.com). Our new “Virtual Booth” technology makes it feel like you are right on the show floor with 3D machine views, video from the show, and the ability to download brochures and contact Bosch.
See what you missed at our booth, or share with your colleagues the exciting new machines you saw. The virtual booth includes 17 different displays that you can interact with. Navigating the booth is easy. Simply click on the left or right arrows to move around the booth and then select the machine or kiosk that is of interest to you. It’s a great way to explore new packaging technology without leaving your office!
A new option for dry pet food manufacturers and pet treat operations looking to automate their packaging and reduce costs is the Bosch SVI series VFFS (vertical form fill seal) baggers. The Bosch SVI series VFFS baggers have the potential to reduce material costs by up to 40% verse pre-made bags.
New VFFS machines, like the Bosch SVI, are now able to make a wide range of bag styles and can even incorporate popular reclose features that traditionally were only available in pre-made bags. Reclose features have gained popularity, and are widely used in the pet treat market on doy style bags. Horizontal pouch machines, another alternative to pre-made bags, can produce high quality doy style pouches as well. However, they are significantly more expensive than VFFS machines and have a much larger footprint.
As a provider of both bag closers and VFFS machines, Bosch can help pet food operations decide which machine will help them best meet their packaging goals. For many operations, pre-made bags continue to be the best solution; especially where large package sizes and high speeds are needed. However, with the potential to reduce material costs by up to 40% over pre-made bags, vertical form fill seal baggers should be considered for those operations where they fit the requirements. For more information on the Bosch SVI and pet food packaging visit www.boschpackaging.com/nrd/petfood.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recognized Bosch’s commitment to superior environmental performance by awarding the New Richmond and Shell Lake, WI facilities with Green Tier 2 Status on August 14 and 15, respectively.
As one of only four companies to receive Tier 2 status, Bosch’s environmentally friendly projects and its new partnership with the Wisconsin DNR demonstrate a commitment to maintain and improve sustainability efforts within the company, making a significant impact on the environmental health of the company and the community. Bosch received this recognition due to its environmental record, willingness to exceed regulatory requirements, implementation of an Environmental Management System and ideas for improving performance that would benefit both the company and the environment.
Some of the key projects that have helped Bosch achieve the Green Tier status include:
- Significantly reducing the amount of industrial waste, energy storage and water usage
- Implementing recycling waste streams for manufacturing processes
- Continuous improvement projects to further eliminate paint related to hazardous waste
- Achieving significant reductions in CO2 emissions
To commemorate this recognition, Bosch will plant a Wisconsin state tree, the Sugar Maple, at the New Richmond and Shell Lake facilities. The tree itself is another step toward helping the environment, due to its ability to release water into upper, drier soil layers, helping itself and the plants around it. To Bosch, every small step to help the environment makes a big impact.
In addition to planting the trees, Bosch has selected three community organizations to receive cash awards toward environmental projects, including:
- Shell Lake School District – The district will receive $10,000 toward its Edible School Yard Project, a sustainable garden growing organic vegetables that will be incorporated into the school lunch program. The project will help teach students about farming and nutrition.
- New Richmond School District – The district will receive $15,000 toward The Weather Bug project, a weather station to help students learn about meteorology and the science of weather and data collection.
- City of New Richmond – The city will receive $10,000 toward the City Stock Purchase Program, which allows concerned citizens and business to invest in the city for special projects. The funds will be directed to an environmental or technology project.
About Green Tier
Green Tier provides an opportunity for Wisconsin to combine and achieve economic and environmental goals. Building on the leadership of business, environmental and government communities, the program supports the Department of Natural Resources’ mandate to protect and enhance the environment, while setting the stage for economic growth. Green Tier has two tiers, or participation levels. Tier 1 is designed to encourage innovation, collaboration and new environmental goal setting. Tier 2 involves more rigorous participation requirements, placing greater emphasis on superior environmental performance contracts as a means of giving customized regulatory flexibility proportional to environmental performance.
Solar powered IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) vegetable processing and packaging facility in the USA relies on efficient Bosch VFFS baggers to meet its quick changeover times and reliability demands.
Seabrook Brothers & Sons is a third generation family owned and operated business that processes and packages 150 million pounds of frozen vegetables per year. Located in the “Garden State” of southern New Jersey, they are ideally positioned to quickly supply the major metropolitan areas along the east coast of the U.S. with a wide range of frozen vegetables.
As a co-packer, the demands on their operation are diverse, with over 1,800 SKUs produced in their Seabrook, NJ facility. Seabrook runs two 10 hour shifts per day, six days a week and on average has 3 to 4 changeovers on each line per shift. That’s up to 288 changeovers per week across Seabrook’s 6 packaging lines. These changeovers affect their Vertical Form-Fill-Seal operations dramatically. It was the need for rapid changeovers, ability to handle a multitude of films with no tweaking or loss in speed, and basic reliable operation that lead Seabrook to purchase a Bosch SVE 2510 continuous motion bagger after trying two other VFFS bagger brands.
As William “Wes” Seabrook , Vice President Engineering, at Seabrook explained “Every machine you can make work if you have time to tinker with it. We don’t have time here. We need to set it up for the next product and run.” Just like their customers, Seabrook doesn’t carry a lot of stock, so if they are to meet their customer’s demands they need to package and ship without interruption and the Bosch machines give Wes the quick changeover and reliability he needs. “After we tried the first Bosch bagger we loved it,” notes Wes, “The ease of operation and reliability of the Bosch bagger lets us meet our customer’s demands.”
Seabrook Farms uses state-of-the-art equipment throughout their facility. The bagging lines primarily uses Gough Econ bucket elevators to feed Yamato scales above the Bosch baggers. Safeline metal detectors and check weighers on the take-away conveyor round out the bagging lines. Wes specifies this equipment to Bosch and then Bosch executes and integrates the entire line, including the scale platforms, for Seabrook. “This is a big help for us” notes Wes, “We don’t have to worry about the drop heights from the scales to the baggers, or anything else about the line integration. We know when we get it all from Bosch it will be optimized and running together smoothly.”
Operating a state-of-the-art facility isn’t restricted to Seabrook’s packaging lines. Their approach to powering their facility is also state-of-the-art. IQF processing is an energy intensive operation, so Seabrook looked for new, environmentally friendly technologies to help with their energy needs. It started with purchasing generators so they could participate in peak shaving, synchronized reserve, and demand response programs with their local utility. Then they took their energy program to the next level and installed 21 acres of solar panels next to their processing facility in Seabrook, NJ. The solar farm generates about a third of Seabrook’s total electricity requirements and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 6, 989 tones per year.
To increase outputs or lower manufacturing costs, manufacturers are often challenged with the decision of selecting between robotics or product distribution conveyors when opting to automate their lines. As a supplier of robotics, conveying technologies and integrated packaging lines, Bosch discusses the criteria in selecting an optimal feeding solution in a new white paper – “Packaging Line Automation – Robotics or Product Distribution Conveyors?”, recently featured on Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery. The white paper provides unbiased advice for manufacturers and highlights key considerations for choosing between robotics and product distribution conveyors for feeding.
For example, the paper advises on different pack configurations, such as for a simple bar package or a more complicated cookie stack. For more information, click on the link above.
The confectionery industry places a premium on package style and appearance. Often an impulse purchase, confectionery products must stand out on the shelf to grab customers’ attention. As a result, confectionery manufacturers need to be able to quickly react to new packaging trends and styles. Bosch helps confectionery companies react quickly by providing flexible machines that can be easily reconfigured to run different bag styles. An excerpt below from PMT’s March/April 2012 article titled “Candy Everybody Wants” explains more about what Bosch is doing in this area. Click on the previous link to read the entire article for more information.
At Bosch, Jansen has seen an increase in the need for package style flexibility and configurations, with an emphasis on shelf-ready displays. “Confectionery customers are being driven by retailers to meet various shelf-ready requirements and are partnering with Bosch to create flexible lines that can address multiple retailers’ demands across their various product lines,” he says. “As an example, we have installed numerous packaging lines in the confectionery industry that combine one of our V/F/F/S baggers with a delta robot for secondary packaging. The Bosch V/F/F/S bagger has the flexibility to package confectionery customers’ products in everything from standard pillow bags to four corner sealed bags and doy bags. These various package styles can then be picked up and placed by a Bosch delta robot into a wide range of secondary packaging configurations, including shelf-ready displays that many retailers are requiring.” Jansen also notes that Bosch has received many requests for technologies to top load vertically-produced bags in cases or cartons, and that Bosch is working to meet the demand from consumers for more packagage style flexibility.
Manufacturers who automate their carton or tray forming operations can experience large productivity increases and labor savings. However, as with purchasing any piece of automation equipment, it’s important to understand how it will fit into your operation and what machine features you should look for when selecting a machine. The following list highlights a few of the criteria you should consider when purchasing a carton former or tray former.
1. Size Flexibility – Look for a carton former that will handle the widest range of carton sizes and formats that you can envision needing now and in the future. Different size cartons often require change parts to the machine, but this of course is a much less expensive option than purchasing a new machine. A carton former should also handle hot melt, simplex, or lock format cartons on the same machine. Likewise, the PLC controlling the carton former should store multiple recipes to speed changeovers.
2. Material Flexibility – The material used for carton or trays, often paperboard, can experience variances in size and thickness from the supplier. Your carton former needs to be able to tolerate these minor fluctuations. Look for features such as spring loaded forming cavities that can compensate for these variances and assure even compression and sealing of carton flaps even with minor material fluctuations.
3. Carton Blank Control – One of the key sources of jams in carton formers is when the carton blank becomes misaligned. Look for machines that provide positive carton blank control from magazine picking through forming head placement.
4. Accurate & Flexible Hot Melt Glue Placement – For cartons secured using hot melt, its application to the carton is critical. The carton former needs to accurately control the carton blank position, distance from the glue applicator, and velocity while applying the hot melt to achieve consistent results. The length the machine can apply this uninterrupted hot melt onto the carton impacts the possible carton size ranges and therefore also affects the overall flexibility of the machine.
Of course there are other factors to consider when selecting a carton former for your operation such as speed, safety features, documentation & support, as well as overall durability, but the 4 tips above should provide a starting point in selecting the right carton or tray former for your operation. The video below demonstrates how the Doboy Cobra carton former addresses some of these selection criteria.