The new machine at the firm’s Motley, MN, plant replaces a vacuum skin packaging system that heat-sealed film over a paperboard card, thus capturing the fish piece between the film and the card. Because it was a chamber system, and because labels were applied by hand, throughput was slow. The new system, by comparison, is a horizontal form and seal system that seals trays three-up, nine cycles/min. Vice president of operations Bob Thiede says that represents a 25% improvement over the old machine.
Also contributing to the greater throughput is the increased level of automation. Paperboard header cards are picked and placed automatically by equipment from MGS (Maple Grove, MN). The 4- to 5-oz piece of fish is placed by hand, but manual labeling is replaced by machine application. One labeling head applies the attractive front label, and a second head beneath the machine applies an informational label to the back. The pressure-sensitive labeler was recommended by Cryovac (Duncan, SC), the firm that provides both forming web and lidstock. The material specs for these films were not made available. But Thiede says he appreciates the tight seal of lidding material to forming web produced by the R270. Refrigerated shelf life remains at 52 days, but losses due to leaks are practically eliminated. Morey’s Seafoods’ fish products are available in 37 states. —PR