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Candy company sweetens packaging efficiencies

Farley’s and Sathers adds versatile vertical cartoning line to keep pace with growing product demand.
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FILED IN:  Package Type  > Bags/pouches
     

Farley’s and Sathers Candy Co. Inc headquartered in Round Lake MN wanted to add some packaging capacity at its Des Plaines IL plant to help meet growing product demand. A main criterion in choosing packaging equipment was the flexibility to accommodate the company’s broad range of candy products and package sizes to serve markets ranging from club stores to regular retail stores to vending machines.

Kevin Walsh corporate engineering manager for Farley’s and Sathers says “We went with the CV15-100C vertical cartoner from Z Automation because this supplier was willing to meet our needs to build in flexibility to run multiple product lines with minimal changeover time. We run anywhere from single-serve theater-size boxes of candies to club store-size pouches in a carton. So we need versatility in our packaging lines.”

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Building the new line

In June 2005 Farley’s and Sathers installed the new vertical cartoner. They integrated the cartoner with Ishida scale/check-weighing equipment supplied by Heat and Control. Walsh says “We selected the Ishida scale because Z Automation already had a good working relationship with them and because we saw a price delivery and equipment support advantage that met our company’s requirements.”

A metal detector from Fortress Technology a case sealer from 3M and an ink-jet case coder from Markem also were integrated into the new automated packaging line. The cartons are sealed using a ProBlue™ hot-melt adhesive system from Nordson Corp.

Z Automation personnel offered start-up and machinery integration assistance along with follow-up visits to help the plant staff become more familiar with the packaging equipment. Walsh points out “Z Automation met its deadline to deliver the cartoner within 5 months of the order placement. And we had line start-up within two weeks after installation.”

Meeting the changeover challenge

According to Walsh the biggest challenge on this packaging line project was to achieve a completely flexible easy-changeover system to accommodate Farley’s and Sathers’ wide range of SKU’s.

As Walsh explains “The speed of this new cartoner is basically the same as our old cartoners—about 100 cartons per minute depending on product and package size. But the old cartoners require anywhere from 5 to 8 hours for changeovers and we can only run two different carton sizes on the old machines none of which have pouching capabilities.

“Due to the servo technology incorporated into the Z Automation cartoner it only takes between 15 to 60 minutes for changeovers depending on the carton sizes involved. When we change over we need to retrieve a pre-programmed recipe from the Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation HMI (Human Machine Interface) and the majority of the adjustments are automatically accomplished.

“For example to change from a typical 8-oz theater box to 6-oz to 60-oz pouches per carton takes about 15 minutes to 60 minutes depending on product volume per carton. We have to change filling funnels. But minimal tools are required and most adjustments are tool-less” says Walsh.

Farley’s and Sathers is well satisfied with the performance of the new cartoning system and is now better poised to serve its growing diversified cartoned candy markets.

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