Breaking News
  • Ornua Delivers Record Revenue Ornua, Ireland’s largest exporter of Irish dairy products which supplies to over 110 countries worldwide, has reported record revenue of €2.1 billion for the year ended 30 December 2017. It marks the first year of Ornua’s new five-year growth plan, ‘Ornua 2021’, which positions the business as a leading global dairy organisation that delivers results [...]...
  • Danish Crown Becomes European Market Leader in Pepperoni Toppings For Pizzas Danish Crown has acquired the Danish pepperoni giant DK-Foods to become the European market leader in pepperoni toppings for pizzas. DK-Foods will operate as a separate business unit under Danish Crown’s subsidiary Tulip Food Company and will spearhead the group’s global focus on pizza toppings. Pizza is the favourite choice of fast food in Denmark, and [...]...
  • Iceland Seafood International Acquires Oceanpath Iceland Seafood International is acquiring Oceanpath Group, the leading fresh fish company in Ireland owning the iconic Dunn’s of Dublin brand, which has been operating since 1822. The acquisition marks a significant step in Iceland Seafood International’s strategy of delivering strong organic growth combined with strategic acquisitions of first rate seafood companies into the group. Iceland [...]...
  • KHS Presents Innovative Block Systems For the Sensitive Range Yoghurt is no longer spooned out of the pot but drunk. Breakfast is no longer just eaten at the kitchen table but also on the hoof. And it should all be as healthy and sustainable as possible. This is one of the reasons why the demand for smoothies, milk and dairy products is steadily growing. [...]...
  • MOGUNTIA Establishing New Future-oriented IT Infrastructure With Infor Infor, a leading provider of industry-specific cloud applications, has announced that MOGUNTIA FOOD GROUP, a spice producer focusing on meat processing based in Basel, Switzerland, has decided to introduce Infor’s Food & Beverage suite in the cloud to consolidate its IT infrastructure. This will help enable MOGUNTIA to adhere to customary certifications more efficiently and [...]...


January 12
09:57 2013

The secret of success in virtually any business is delivering what customers want, and at Thomas Fawcett & Sons, investing in two pre-owned palletising robots from Pacepacker Services has achieved exactly this, while at the same time doubling throughput and reducing labour costs on two of its packing lines.

The family-run maltster and malt roaster supplies 25kg bags of malt to the brewing and food industries, and orders tend to be for a one-tonne pallet (40 bags). “Our customers were regularly asking for 40 bags on a pallet, which we could do manually – but with difficulty,” says Brian Hickman, general manager of the West Yorkshire factory. “Hand-stacking eight layers of five sacks was not easy, due to the height of the load, and resulted in untidy and unstable pallets.

“Now that we’re using Pacepacker’s Blu-Robots to palletise sacks, our customers get what they want; we can do 40 bags to a pallet without any problems, and the pallets are uniform and neatly stacked.”

Pacepacker’s Blu-Robot palletisers are re-conditioned six-axis robots that originate primarily from the automotive industry. The robots, which are approximately a third of the way through their lifespan, are supplied to packaging users pre-programmed and complete with end-of-arm tooling, controls and a 12-month warranty with service and spares back-up. They are typically half the cost of a new system, enabling the user to achieve a far quicker payback.

“The Blu-Robot is ideal for companies looking to palletise eight to ten bags per minute. Buying a new robot would mean buying an over-specked, faster robot and paying for capabilities that simply aren’t needed,” explains Paul Wilkinson, Pacepacker’s business development manager.

At Thomas Fawcett, the Blu-Robots were part of a project to part-automate two lines for packing pale and crystal malts. Previously, the entire packing process on these lines was carried out manually, requiring seven production personnel. “Staff hand-packed the malt into sacks on a counter-balance weigher; sacks were then hand-tied and palletised and stretch-wrapped by hand,” recalls Brian Hickman.

A visit to an existing Pacepacker customer, I’Anson Bros, convinced Thomas Fawcett that Pacepacker’s bagging and robotic palletising equipment would enable it to cope with growing sales by increasing throughput.

Pacepacker’s willingness to work within the space constraints at the Castleford factory was another factor in its favour.“The site is a historic building and in both packing areas the space for the new lines was restricted by columns. Pacepacker went to great lengths to design a layout that was bespoke to the space available,” says Brian Hickman.

By Christmas 2011, Pacepacker had installed and commissioned the first line, incorporating its Total Bag Control (TBC) system, a stitching unit, a motorised sack kicker and the Blu-Robot.

An operator places a bag on a sack holding device to start the filling and weighing process, in which malt is transferred from a hopper into 25kg bags via a gross weighing system. The TBC system then takes hold of full sacks with a pair of grip arms and motors toward the stitcher. Sealed sacks are laid down using a motorised sack kicker, and transferred to the robotic palletiser on a flat belt conveyor. Empty and full pallets are fed through the system on powered rollers, and full pallets are automatically indexed onto a rotary stretch wrapper. Wrapped pallets are fed out of the guarded area for collection by fork lift trucks.

The second line was up and running by January 2012, within the time frame agreed with Thomas Fawcett.

“Pacepacker have been very professional in terms of meeting deadlines, keeping in regular contact and providing very detailed design work. We felt throughout that they were a company we could trust,” says Brian Hickman.

He reports that since semi-automating the lines, throughput has doubled and that the investment is well on the way to paying for itself, largely through labour savings, as now only two operators are required to man each line.

“We were doing about two bags a minute with the old system; now we’re doing double.”

About Author



Related Articles

Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2016

Upcoming Events

  • March 21, 2018World Olive Oil Exhibition
  • March 28, 2018FOOD INDUSTRY
  • April 4, 2018The leading event for the snack and food-on-the-go market
  • April 5, 2018Slow food The forum for good taste
AEC v1.0.4

Jobs: Food Packaging

find food jobs

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers

New Subscriber

Subscribe Here