Upgrading an automated bagging line has led to UK horse feed manufacturer FH Nash achieving a 30 per cent increase in output. Bagging up to 144 tonnes a day, Pacepacker has used its new ROI calculator to show how the innovative new FastPac sack placer, also recently installed, can achieve a 12 month ROI by significantly improving efficiency and by handling a range of different sack types.
At their Essex-based factory FH Nash operates three production lines that weigh, bag and palletise over 50,000 tonnes of horse feed per year. For almost 30 years Pacepacker has supplied the majority of the company’s equipment, supplementing and upgrading their systems to optimise productivity and incorporate new packing technology. Increased demand means that FH Nash now produces 20 different ranges of horse feed, making them one of the UK’s largest suppliers to racehorse trainers, merchants and distributors.
With heightened demand for more flexible plastic sacks featuring enhanced graphics and durability, FH Nash decided to tackle one productivity bottleneck – their non-Pacepacker sack placer. Director Joe Venner explains: “Plastic sacks can be tricky to handle as they are either too slippery or contain static. Previously, this often resulted in more than one bag being picked up at the same time, so our operatives frequently needed to intervene. Having one worker permanently manning the line, manually lifting the bags when they became stuck was causing significant machine downtime and consequently impacting our productivity.”
Coincidentally, at the same time Pacepacker was experiencing growing demand from the bulk sector for faster, more versatile bagging equipment, and had launched an upgraded sack placer under its new FastPac range of bagging systems. Capable of running at 17 bags per minute, the new FastPac sack placer is up to 20 per cent faster than previous models. Although the speed increase appealed to Joe, it was also the system’s ability to handle an unprecedented range of sacks.
Benefitting from the integration of mechanical grippers along with the conventional suction grippers seen on most sack placers, Pacepacker’s FastPac sack placer works by picking bags up by the bottom and peeling them off the stack, rather than picking up the top of the bag. This counteracts the issue of bags sticking together. When the bag is picked from the pile by the sack placer it is immediately held in place on a sack clamp for filling.
FH Nash’s new FastPac sack placer was installed along with Pacepacker’s Total Bag Control System (TBC). Once the sack is placed onto the clamp by the sack placer the TBC takes over. Using motorised grip arms, the TBC transports each filled 20 kilo sack of horse feed to be heat sealed. The sacks are then stacked onto pallets using a robotic palletiser.
With the reduction in manual workers needed to manage the line and a new shift output of 3600 bags, compared with 2800 bags, FH Nash is well on the way to achieving a 12-month ROI since the installation of the FastPac sack placer in September 2015.
Joe comments: “Since installation we haven’t looked back. We no longer need to intervene which allows our workers to focus on other areas of the business. Pacepacker has been instrumental in keeping us abreast of new technology and upgrading our systems over the years which in turn allows us to continue meeting our customer’s needs.”
This isn’t the first time that Pacepacker’s technical prowess has assisted FH Nash. Several years ago, Pacepacker created a bespoke sack placer and TBC on sliding rails, which toggled the other two production lines. By using sliding rails, Pacepacker’s equipment was interlocked into the weighing system on each production line and worked in unison, giving FH Nash the ability to pack two separate products – one sticky and one dry – without additional outlay.
For more information about the new FastPac sack placer please visit www.pacepacker.com.