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High Speed Punnet Sealing Solution

A Proseal designed solution, incorporating the company’s market-leading GT3 tray sealer, is operating at 180 packs per minute for the high speed sealing of large imported strawberry and raspberry punnets at Berry Gardens.

Founded over 40 years ago, Berry Gardens is the UK’s leading berry and stone fruit production and marketing group supplying all of Britain’s leading retailers.

To ensure quality and freshness are maintained and to give the berries the longest possible shelf life in-store, especially for imported fruit, fast packing speeds are vital.  In particular, imported punnets tend to be wider and shallower than normal in order to help preserve the quality of the fruit and this brings further challenges in achieving high speeds during the sealing process.  Proseal has therefore devised and installed a bespoke feed system for the GT3 in order to maximise speed and reliability throughout the 18 hours per day that the line operates.

The sealing process includes a checkweigher over which filled punnets are fed, with any under or over weight packs then diverted to be adjusted as required.  Accurate weight punnets are moved to the GT3 via a special conveyor that provides maximum flexibility in the feeding of the punnets into the tray sealer.

The GT3 features a unique three axis servo drive tray transfer system that maximises tray throughput by automatically adjusting for different tray heights.  This eliminates the need for tray height specific change-parts and means that all height settings can be programmed through the user friendly touch screen.

The tray sealer’s rugged construction is manufactured to food industry approved hygiene standards with full wash-down protection.  An innovative ‘Free-Lift’ tool loading system delivers rapid transfer of pre-heated tool sets to Proseal’s proven Auto Tool Connection, which enables tool changes to be carried out in around three minutes.

Downtime is also minimised by the use of quick-change conveyor belts, and an auto-lock film reel holder.  The machine’s practical design is further enhanced by situating the electrical controls above the sealing area, which also allows safe access for cleaning.

An Internet based secure gateway connection system provides real time data and error condition support and enables Proseal engineers to remotely access the PLC and HMI (touch screen) of the machine to provide diagnostic support and implement software modifications.

The GT3’s full-line integration capability incorporates an ‘Auto-Restart’ function that activates following any downstream equipment errors, helping to keep line stoppages to an absolute minimum.

“Because of the complexities of this line and the need to ensure it could operate consistently at peak performance, it was essential that we had a single point of contact so that any issues during installation or subsequent operation could be dealt with swiftly,” explains David Perry of Berry Gardens.  “Proseal provides good service and support and the line continues to function well.”

Process Industry Informer

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