Established in 1975, ARA Food Corp. is a private, family-owned tropical snacks manufacturer based in Miami. The company was founded to manufacture the most popular tropical snack: the plantain chip. Over the years, its offerings have grown to include yucca root, cassava chips, white sweet potato chips, pork rinds, and pork cracklings, marketed and distributed across North America and Puerto Rico.
Within its manufacturing facility, ARA emphasizes quality and safety controls that help meet its production and efficiency goals. Because of the diversity of its product range and package sizes, ARA has traditionally looked for packaging equipment that minimizes overhead wherever possible.
Recently, the company made the decision to increase its capacity and grow its business by adding a third packaging line for its bagged snacks. The main requirement for the new system was flexibility to handle different bag sizes quickly and efficiently, with minimum machine downtime.
To meet these needs, ARA installed the tna robag® FX 3ci vertical form/fill/seal system, equipped with a tna intelli-weigh® 0314 omega multihead weigher, tna metal detector, tnaintelli-date® date coder, and labeler.
Snack bag flexibility
Used to pack ARA’s range of snack chips, the new tna rotary vf/f/s system is designed with flexibility in mind. The equipment handles bag sizes from 2 to 16 oz (60 to 450 g) and accommodates a range of biaxially oriented polypropylene films.
Using a rotary jaw design, the robag operates at speeds to 150 bags/min, in bag widths from 55 to 320 mm and lengths up to 50 mm. Facilitating ease of changeover, the equipment requires no mechanical adjustments for product or film changes, with rapid former changes accomplished with Auto Connect and Unload Assist features. According to tna, the system reduces product waste, through optimized product transfer former and stripper/tube closers. The system uses tna intelli-system® continuous motion control software.
The system’s tna intelli-weigh 0314 omega multihead weigher offers a number of features, including two-way load cells that eliminate low-frequency vibrations, a digital filter for maximum speed, and individually adjustable collating chutes. The IP67-rated stainless steel equipment is equipped with 14 weighers and can handle a net weight to 330 kg. The intelli-weigh uses springless, polygon bucket designs with large radius corners that make the buckets quick and easy to clean, reducing downtime.
Providing brand protection, the system is equipped with tna’s compact metal detector positioned between the bagger and the scale. The metal detector features the ability to detect 1.0-mm stainless steel, 1.0-mm non-ferrous, and 0.8-mm ferrous materials at high speeds.
Benefits are numerous
Installation of the vf/f/s system has brought a number of benefits to ARA. “Reducing waste, cutting downtime, and preventing overweighing were key requirements for the new packaging system,” says Oscar Tanaka, Manufacturing Coordinator at ARA. “With two tna robag systems already installed and performing consistently well in our plant, we knew another tna machine was our best option for the additional line.
“The whole project ran smoothly, and we have been particularly impressed with tna’s technical support and knowledge sharing—an important service that will continue with tna’s regular maintenance visits to ensure the machines are always running at 100-percent capacity.”