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Article | October 6, 2006
Integrated system boosts efficiencies
Richmond Baking meets upgraded speed and capacity goals by installing six new v/f/f/s bagging lines.
Richmond Baking, Richmond, IN, one of the largest baked goods manufacturers in the United States, produces cookies and crackers for retail markets, as well as industrial-ingredient coating systems for meat, fish, vegetable, and dessert processors. The company's preprinted, heat-sealable rollstock bag material structures and suppliers are considered proprietary.
Two years ago, the company recognized a need to increase bagging speeds on its cookie/cracker packaging lines. William Quigg, president of Richmond Baking, notes, “The scales we were using maintained desired throughputs, but the baggers we had in place were intended for large cereal bags and did not provide the bag-per-minute (bpm) rate required for our cookies. We need a minimum of 90 per minute to maintain satisfactory packaging efficiency.”
A colleague of Quigg suggested that Richmond Baking consider Robag bagging equipment manufactured by TNA (www.tnarobag.com). The baker put the equipment to the test and decided to purchase two Robag 3 vertical form/fill/seal machines.
As a result of this packaging equipment upgrade, Richmond Baking was able to negotiate a number of contracts to produce 1⁄2-oz bags of cookies and crackers, including snack crackers, cheese crackers, oyster crackers, animal crackers, and chocolate chip cookies (contract customer identities not disclosed). But taking on these contract packing jobs also necessitated a further packaging line expansion to achieve 300% more production capacity. Based on the positive results of the first upgrade, Richmond acquired four more Robag 3 machines and a TNA “Roflo” distribution system that feeds combination scales from Yamato (www.yamatocorp.com).
Says Quigg, “We selected the Roflo system primarily to allow TNA design engineers to develop an integrated system in a turnkey fashion. The Roflos incorporate a vertical spiral conveyor design that works very well for our operations.”
Other new packaging line equipment includes metal detectors from Safeline (www.metaldetection.com) and Bunting (www.bunting-magnetics.com) and date coders from Videojet (www.videojet.com) and Leibinger (www.leibingerusa.com).
The baker is now running two double-head and four triple-head Robag 3 machines. Seven-and 11-oz bags are produced on the double-head systems. The triple-head machines produce 1⁄2-oz and 0.9-oz bags. Size changeovers on all six baggers can be accomplished in approximately 30 minutes total.
According to Quigg, the most significant benefits of the line expansion project are increased capacity and faster throughputs. “The baggers we purchased actually exceeded our capacity needs. We achieve 120 bpm on the double-head machines and 180 bpm on the triple-head machines,” reports Quigg.
He also is impressed by the overall engineering of the equipment. “TNA machines really shine in functional design,” says Quigg. “The bagging line design is straightforward, and the equipment accomplishes the desired tasks effectively and efficiently. TNA knows how to put together a good system—from product conveyance through specially designed scales, metal detectors, date coders, and, most important, the baggers.”
Quigg adds, “We have manufacturing plants in Indiana and Oregon. We don't have any expansion plans at this point, but, in the future, TNA will be our primary choice for bagging systems.”
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