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Not just for Burns night
26 October 2015
Two specially constructed Endoline high speed packing lines have helped Scottish haggis producer Macsween meet its objective in automating the production of a new Haggis brand to meet retail demand, and assisted in increasing output by 200% – all within a compact area.
Due to the natural casing of the original haggis line it was difficult to automate the packing line, as James Macsween, MD, explains: "As our original product range is packed within its own natural casing our packing lines were manual as sizes differ greatly. However we standardised the packing of the new ‘Delicious Everyday’ range, allowing us to look into automating the packing line.”
Automating a packing line was a first in the 60 year lifespan of Macsween. The company turned to Murray Packaging, Endoline’s Scottish distributor, to install two packing lines. These needed to be installed within the original factory. As space was tight Murray Packaging and Endoline designed a ‘cruciform’ system with three conveyors running in parallel.
Two Endoline power roller conveyors were installed at the start of each packing line where a manual worker puts the packaged product onto these once it has been run through a chub labeller. Each of the packing lines has an elevated conveyor which runs the product from the power roller to a packing station where four manual packers are ready to pack the products into a formed box.
A single, fully automatic 248 case erector feeds both of these packing lines and formed cases are transported to the packing stations via a conveyor running above the packing stations. "A control system was integrated into the conveyor to accumulate and control the in-feed of the empty boxes to work in tandem with the pace of the manual operators so as each box is removed from the line another is moved along ensuring a constant smooth flow", explains Ian Murray, MD of Murray Packaging. "As the empty cases are light, we ran the conveyor from the case erector up an incline with a 90° bend to run at head level for the packers, not only meeting the factory’s space constraints but ensuring it was ergonomically friendly to the packers with minimum twist and turn effort.”
Once the packers have filled the case with the desired quantity of product, either 6 or 8 depending on the customers' requirements, the full case is placed by the packer onto a third power roller conveyor, which runs parallel with the packing station, to be sealed. Two fully automatic Endoline 602 case sealers are fitted at the end of each line to close the top flaps of the boxes and accurately tape the tops. Both case erector and case sealer can be easily adjusted to deal with different case sizes.
Combined, both lines can run up to 40,000 cases of the ‘Delicious Everyday’ range per day, increasing Macsweens overall output by 200%.
While managing the design and installation of Endoline kit, Murray Packaging also ensured the smooth integration of other supplier systems, including compressed air supply and labelling, into the lines. James Macsween concludes: "Ian not only came up with solutions but made the whole process simple. Automating this process has not only boosted our output but given us the scope to deal with future demand.”