​Unisource dramatically reduced labor costs and increased product protection by automating the food product company's processing line.

Client

This US based company, produces grain-based extruded products for food applications. These extruded “pellets” are expanded or puffed by hot oil, hot air or by pressure. They form various shapes and are seasoned by the end user. Good examples of this application are breakfast cereals, savory snacks like sopapilla, crispy mexican flat bread deep-fried and served with honey.

Situation

The client was looking for opportunities to achieve a number of goals: reduce packaging cost and damage, and make the packaging process less labor intensive through automating and modernizing the processing line. The current process is to manually open a 50-pound bag and place the contents into a gripper to be filled. It is then sealed and the operator stacks it on a pallet. The 50-pound sacks do not adequately protect and prevent breakage of the product which is similar to the texture of an uncooked pasta noodle.

Solution

Our team implemented a unique bag-in-a-box fully automated configuration. This solution begins with a Pearson case erector which sends an erected case to a Pearson bag inserter. The case then travels down the line and indexes under a Weigh Right weigher and filler. The case is filled with either 20 or 50 pounds of product and then travels down a shaker conveyor to settle the product. The case moves on to a Pearson un-cuffer where the poly bag is un-cuffed from the case. The case travels next to a Pearson automatic case sealer then on to a vonGal palletizer and finally to an Orion automatic stretch wrapper. The Unisource Worldwide Systems Integration team was instrumental in providing the client this automated turnkey solution.

Benefits

Labor costs were dramatically reduced through the automation of the processing line. Packaging costs were also significantly reduced and the solution provided for increased product protection resulting in less product damage.

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