Humdinger produces natural fruit and nut-based snacks for retailer own-labels and licensed brands, including Marmite, Branston and Peperami, at its factories in Hull and Sleaford. It installed the first Ilapak Vegatronic 6000 bagger in February to help with the varying product lines offered by the business.
Paul Ramsey, operations director at Humdinger, explained how the equipment improved line efficiency by 50%. “We produce for the major retailers, which means we need to run a very efficient packing operation in order to protect our margins. Upgrading to the Vegatronic 6000 on one of our lines has given us the performance uplift we needed and the justification to invest in a second machine.”
Ramsey added that the new equipment suited the business’ model. “Our production model is such that we might produce the same format or pack size for three days or change over three times in a day – run lengths vary greatly, so accessibility and quick changeover capabilities are top requirements. On the Vegatronic 6000, the forming sets are very easy to take out, enabling us to effect a changeover in minutes.”
The continuous motion bagger can run off the full gamut of bag styles, including pillow, block bottom, quad and doy-style packs.
“We have increased our format flexibility by investing in a machine that can produce more than one pack style and have achieved a significant improvement in performance in line with our business-wide efficiency drive. Our plan was that we would order a second machine once we were sure we were happy with the first one. The first machine has been up and running for eight weeks and we have had no hesitation in placing our order,” added Ramsey.
Capable of up to 200ppm on pillow packs, the Vegatronic 6000 is engineered for high-speed operation; the machine’s compact design means there is less distance for the product to travel, while the electrical control platform and unique jaw profile guarantee seal integrity at ultra-high speeds.
“On some continuous motion machines, speed is at the expense of seal integrity. Our advanced electrical control platform enables our Vegatronic 6000 to pulse the dwell in the jaws to ensure maximum seal integrity,” explained Sam Robinson, VFFS product manager at Ilapak.
The Vegatronic 6000 also has the ability to produce quad packs either in-line or on the tube, depending on the customer’s requirements. The in-line configuration specified for this project allowed higher speed operation and delivered aesthetic benefits due to reduced friction in the tube and better control over the film, said the firm.