The improvements center on eight new pairs of CP-200 case erectors/positioners and DP-160 case packers from SWF Companies (Elk Grove Village IL). Started up in February 2002 the equipment operates 24/7.
Downstream from form/fill/seal baggers the new machinery erects corrugated cases that are laid down on their sides before the bags are collated and loaded through the case top in a 1 x 6 pattern. The 5- 6- or 6½-lb plastic-lined kraft bags of frozen fries are destined for quick-serve restaurant use primarily for export markets according to maintenance manager Paul McDaneld.
The previous erectors had been installed on a mezzanine level which meant a split work crew. The new casing layout—now at floor level—led to the elimination of four positions one per crew. Rates were bumped slightly higher to 34 bags/min to match bagging output but still far short of the equipment’s capacity of 60 bpm.
The machines combine mechanical and pneumatic operations; additionally two servos assist loading accuracy. The physically integrated machine pairs are controlled through the case packer’s programmable logic controller.
McDaneld notes that the new casers also have the potential to save corrugated use and costs through case height reductions. “Overall this is a much better set up than we had before” sums McDaneld. —RL