Specialty Hispanic foods processor Goya Foods headquartered in Secaucus NJ produces a range of bagged food items including various flavors and sizes (from 12 oz to 10 lb) of beans and flours for regular retail and club store markets. Each of the plant’s seven bagged-product packaging lines incorporates vertical form/fill/seal machines from Hayssen Inc. (www.barrywehmiller.com). Case erecting packing and sealing operations for these bagged products had previously been done manually.
Evaluation and automation
Recognizing the increased operating efficiencies that could accrue from installing automated casing equipment Goya Foods began to shop around for the best options. Ben Spinnickie GM at the Secaucus facility says “Our research indicated that BluePrint Automation (www.blueprintautomation.com) manufactures quality equipment in the food packing arena and they provide various options that could accommodate our packing needs.”
Goya chose rotary packer Model RP case-packing equipment from BluePrint and case erecting/tape-sealing equipment from Wexxar Packaging Machinery (www.wexxar.com). Between May 2004 and February 2005 the company installed new BluePrint casing systems incorporating Wexxar box formers/tape sealers to accommodate all 7 bagged-product packaging lines.
Spinnickie notes “Floor space in the plant was at a premium but after a few iterations BluePrint provided various options to maximize the limited floor space and present an orderly production flow.”
He notes “The first two case-packing units were delivered four months after the order was placed. We began operating these units within two weeks of delivery and installation. BluePrint personnel were active participants in the installation start-up and operator training. On-site electrical mechanical and programming assistance was conducted by Blueprint field service engineers.”
How the casing system works
The new casing system is completely automatic. Filled sealed bags are conveyed counted and deposited into the cases in uniform packing patterns. The case-packing system also incorporates a bag inspection/rejection sensing mechanism to ensure integrity of bag seals before the bags are case-packed.
The BluePrint Automation Rotary Gate Packer (RP) is a modular gravity case packer that allows packing a variety of products directly into the secondary shipping container. With a rotary gate system design this packer allows product to “drop” at much higher rates.
“Goya Foods estimates a relatively quick return on investment in the new casing systems.”
Product enters the Rotary Gate Packer on a conveyor belt. For slow speed operations and single bag drops product is transferred directly to the rotary gate. For higher speeds with multiple bags per drop an indexing gate forms groups of Goya bags. The gates then rotate dropping the row/layer of product directly into the case. High-speed shifting for multiple row patterns was provided to accommodate Goya’s various pack pattern requirements.
The RP was engineered with very few mechanical electrical and pneumatic components thus minimizing downtime for repairs and decreasing spare parts costs.
Goya Foods estimates a relatively quick return on investment in the new casing systems. Spinnickie comments “We have benefited in the following manner—faster casing speeds reduced labor costs a safer working environment improved uniformity and accuracy of case-packs for our customers and elimination of bottle-necks in our casing operations.”
He adds”BluePrint Automation personnel were very responsive to our concerns and helped us meet all the challenges throughout the design installation start-up and commissioning stages for our case-packing upgrade. In the near future we will be installing two more case-packing lines in Secaucus as well as three at our Miami FL plant.”