Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 92

SNACK PACKAGING
" Many of today's food factories are working around
AUTOMATION
helps alleviate labor concerns in packaging
Packaging departments tend to be labor-intensive,
and in the current workforce market, it can be tough
to staff this portion of a snack facility.
" The best way to reduce or reallocate labor is to
add automation, " said Jeff Almond, industry manager,
snack food packaging, Heat and Control. " This
enables manufacturers to fully leverage their packaging
and processing capacity and allows packaging
machine operators to operate more systems. "
Automation to reduce labor constraints can come
in several forms.
" Automation provides manufacturers a consistent,
repeatable process for packaging their products, "
said Mark Finneran, sales business development,
Niverplast. " Either through robotic systems or basic
sensor controls, fully automatic lines for packaging
allow manufacturers to set up their packaged products
once and then only through menu changes can
they change to a different product. "
He estimated that this can result in a 4-to-1 reduction
in labor based on a multiple-shift 24/7 operation.
Mr. Almond pointed to the automatic case packer,
which can replace manually erecting, loading, inspecting,
closing and labeling a case.
" Depending on the line size, this could significantly
reduce labor requirements, add packaging capacity
and leverage processing capacity, " he said. " All of this
provides a significant return on investment and helps
alleviate some of the issues related to a labor shortage. "
Robotics are often the first technology that comes
to mind when looking for labor solutions. Robots can
take on those repetitive tasks in packaging.
" Usually it's close to one-to-one, so as you add
robots, you decrease your staffing, which is a huge
concern these days, " said Craig Souser, president and
CEO, JLS Automation.
While automation can ease reliance on employees,
it also allows companies to shift employees around
to other areas of the plant, alleviating concerns of
coronavirus (COVID-19) exposure.
" Many companies right now are focused on
organizing operators in a safer way and deploying
more automated systems with self-test and diagnostics, "
explained Pierre DiGirolamo, director, Fortress
Technology Inc. " This enables a plant to relocate an
employee to adhere to safe working practices and
streamline operations. "
legacy equipment and have severe spatial limitations,
therefore compact design is often a prime consideration, "
Mr. DiGirolamo said. " One of the ways in which
companies can save line space is to opt for a combined
checkweighing and metal detection system. "
Fortress addressed this challenge with its multi-aperture
technology. This technology can be applied in two-, three-,
four- and five-lane configurations, and it comprises separate
lanes through a single search head.
" This enables operators to inspect and independently,
automatically reject packs across multiple lanes without the
need for individual detector heads or conveyor systems, "
Mr. DiGirolamo explained.
Just as equipment must be adjusted to accommodate different
packaging formats, so must inspection equipment.
Fortress' Vertex metal detector automates that changeover.
An operator simply pushes a button, and the machine recalibrates
to suit a new pack size and packaging format.
Snack companies can also minimize the need for extra
equipment by relying on existing equipment to inspect as
well as perform its originally intended purpose. Robotics
can be an opportune application for this integration.
" More and more, functions like quality inspection can
be incorporated into the robotic system, which minimizes
the number of external or dedicated QC systems
required, " Mr. Souser said.
And then there's the seal on the packaging itself, the
piece that keeps the food inside safe and fresh. Ensuring an
intact seal can also be a quality check that is placed in the
hands of technology rather than an operator, keeping production
moving even when seal integrity is compromised.
" Product-in-seal-detection (PISD) solutions can be incorporated
into VFFS packaging systems to monitor seal
integrity and flag when specific packs are compromised, allowing
them to be quickly removed from the line without
disrupting the overall packaging run, " Mr. Mitra explained.
While the packaging department of any snack plant
may have its own needs and challenges apart from production,
it still exists within a wider production line. Each
piece impacts the next, so as snack manufacturers are looking
to improve their flexibility and expand pack sizes, Mr.
Almond stressed that the production line be viewed holistically,
from raw material handling to the finished case.
" The goal is to run the processing system at its optimal
capacity, to convey the product in an efficient manner, to
control quality, to provide enough flexibility to meet changing
demands, to automate where it provides a good return,
and to have systems in place for training and maintenance to
ensure line efficiency for extended periods of time, " he said.
A fast and flexible packaging department can support
those goals as snack makers offer their products in new
sizes and formats.
*
92 Baking & Snack September 2021 / www.bakingbusiness.com
http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - September 2021

Baking & Snack - September 2021 - Intro
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 1
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 2
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - VDG-1
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - VDG-2
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 3
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 4
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 5
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 6
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 7
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 8
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 9
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 10
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 11
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 12
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 13
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 14
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 15
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 16
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 17
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 18
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 19
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 20
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 21
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 22
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 23
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 24
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 25
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 26
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 27
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 28
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 29
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 30
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 31
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 32
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 33
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 34
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 35
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 36
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 37
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 38
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 39
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 40
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 41
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Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 43
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Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 45
Baking & Snack - September 2021 - 46
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