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Nuts about new weigher/bagger

Custom combo system serves up targeted operating and cost efficiencies.
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Johnvince Foods, Toronto and Montreal, Canada, is a bulk foods supplier, specializing in nuts, dried fruits, candies, and snacks. Customers include major grocery store, department store, and convenience store accounts across Canada.

The company wanted to install a new packaging operation to handle out-of-shell and in-shell peanuts, trail mixes, dried fruits, and chocolate-coated items in two bag sizes. After careful deliberation, Johnvince decided that the optimum-performance, most cost-effective system for their specific needs was a Model B32C intermittent-motion, vertical form/fill/seal bagger from Triangle Package Machinery Co.  coupled with a Model ADW-514AHC combination weigher from Yamato. The automated bagger features easy-touch programmable changeovers and online troubleshooting via modem. 

In October 2009, Johnvince Foods installed the new bagger and weigher at its Boucherville facility in Montreal. Johnvince COO and chief of engineering Tom Copping says, “We didn’t need any assistance in starting up the new system. We have a great maintenance team that is familiar with the Triangle bagger and Yamato scale. For many years we have had a good relationship with Triangle, and we have several of their machines installed in our Toronto facility. Our experience with Triangle has been positive. The equipment is low-maintenance, and their service department is very responsive.”

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Meant for each other

Sylvain Laliberte, technical director at the Boucherville/Montreal plant notes, “This bagger and scale installation was really important for us. I was closely involved with the installation from the initial layout to the production start-up. The installation was easy to do. All the wiring was ready to be plugged in without the need to add any other components. The start-up and training were easy as well. It’s obvious to us that these two machines are meant to work together.”

Citing some of the performance benefits of the new bagger/scale system, Laliberte says, “We’re getting the speed and accuracy we wanted—more than 100 bags per minute with accuracy within one gram of target weight on many products. The bag lengths and film alignments are stable and consistently reliable. The high-quality, easy-to-operate programmable logic controller (PLC) features simple start/stop push buttons and intuitive touch-screen menu design. The system also features auto-lubrication, overall ease of maintenance, and tool-less changeovers, minimizing downtime.”

Package size changeovers take about five minutes. The operator selects a recipe from the bagger menu and another in the scale menu. The only physical change required is changing the forming shoulder to match the bag size.

All noncandy products packaged on the new bagging system are gas-flushed with nitrogen to extend shelf life. The typical bagging speed for the 400-g out-of-shell peanuts is 60+ bags/min (8” wide x 10” long pillow packs). Johnvince is not disclosing bag material structures or suppliers. Copping only says that some of the bag material is supplied fully printed, and some bags are printed/coded in-plant, using a printer from Videojet Technologies, Inc.

Summing up, Copping notes, “The new system has yielded multiple benefits for our operations. We’re getting good speed, accuracy, reliability, and ease of changeover, along with minimal machine maintenance needs. And we also got a good, competitive deal on both the bagger and scale.”

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