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Case sealer is Eggs-actly what Simpson Wanted

Hatching new ideas each day, Simpson Eggs, a family-owned egg-producing and packaging facility in Monroe City, NC, near Charlotte, is hatching several benefits from its Loveshaw (www.loveshaw.com) case sealer, which randomly seals different sizes of shipping cases loaded with eggs. Simpson wanted to automate the case-sealing process in its egg-packing operation without investing in fully automatic, random-case sealing equipment. Not one to chicken out, Simpson Eggs found the Little David 16AE system.

Recognizing a number of case sizes, the 16AE pneumatically lowers its taping head to seal the particular size of carton approaching. "It does a very good and efficient job--we're extremely pleased with it," says, Rich Simpson, vp of Simpson Eggs and third-generation family member.

Prior to implementing the new case sealer, Simpson Eggs sealed all of the cases manually. Needless to say, that procedure was like walking on, well, eggs. With 1 million chickens producing eggs every day, Simpson Eggs, a turnkey manufacturer of commercially packaged eggs for retail sales, needed to streamline the egg-carton handling and packaging process as much as possible.

Maple Leaf Bakery's Roanoke, VA, plant also relies on Loveshaw's case tapers to streamline its bread and roll case-packing operations. Read about it at www.packagingdigest.com/info/maple.

Simpson utilizes a mix of manual and automatic packing techniques with its eggs, depending on their final destinations. The eggs are washed, sized, inspected and graded by systems from Diamond Systems (www.diamondsystem.com) and are loaded into polystyrene foam cartons from Dolco Packaging (www.dolco.net). The eggs can then be hand-loaded either into crates for shipment to local supermarkets or packed into corrugated shipping cases (supplied by several sources).

Critical to Simpson, with 90 percent of its egg-processing operation automated, was to add a case sealer that would round out the processes cost-effectively and in a timely manner. "We had a very labor-intensive and time-consuming case-sealing operation before," relates Rich Simpson. "We package eggs under our own label as well as private labels," Rich Simpson sums up. "It's vital that our packaging procedures function consistently and effectively. Eggs are a perishable product, and freshness is a key component [to our success]. The ability to deliver to market on time is critical. The LD-16AE case sealer has definitely reduced labor and to date, has been basically maintenance-free, aside from general upkeep."

Pretty big yolk

With the trend of the Atkins diet and the Mad Cow scare along with the price of chicken feed driving demand, the egg industry is encountering explosive growth. Some facilities are experiencing double-digit growth from last year. According to statistics sourced by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's American Egg Board's Egg Industry Facts website (www.aeb.org/eii/facts/), U.S. egg production during December 2003 was 6.48 billion table eggs. Total U.S egg production during 2003 was 73.93 billion table eggs.

That's why Simpson's production facility is really flying. Forty percent of its total daily production of eggs is being case-packed, so the company especially favored a robust machine. Simpson uses about 4,000 cases each day to pack a whopping total of 1.44 million eggs. "That's a lot of yolk," laughs Rich Simpson. Reliability, low maintenance and a quick payback were other priorities.

The LD-16AE (AE stands for A-model, Eggs) case sealer identifies each case with its flaps in the "up" position, using photoeye sensors that signal the taping head to adjust to that case height for precision sealing at a rate of 8 to 12 cases/min. Working with sealing tape on 1,000-yd rolls, the machine has a powder-coated steel construction built to meet Simpson Eggs' specific case size range for 15- and 30-dozen egg quantities.

In production, the eggs are inspected, sized, cleaned and loaded by the dozen into the foam cartons by the multilane Diamond equipment before the cartons convey through a hole in the wall to the packing room. There, the foam egg cartons are case-packed by hand, and the case.

More information is available:

  • Case sealer:Loveshaw Corp., 800/572-3434. www.loveshaw.com. Circle No. 201.

  • Foam cartons:Dolco Packaging, 908/722-4967. www.dolco.net. Circle No. 202.

  • Egg sizing, washing, grading, packing equipment:Diamond Systems, 248/476-7100. www.diamondsystem.com. Circle No. 203.

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