As a natural-food entrepreneur, I was able to conquer new market territory by upgrading to an automatic filler I found at Pack Expo.
I attended Pack Expo for the first time in 2012, and I can’t wait to discover new technologies and network with more experts in the food manufacturing industry at this year’s show.
My whole life changed with the birth of my son. It wasn’t just about me anymore. I needed to feed him with food I believed in that was nutritious, delicious, fast and fun…so I made it for him myself.
After my family and friends praised my wholesome and delicious granola recipes, I decided to turn my passion for wellness and food into a business.
My products, Rani’s Yummy brand of grab-and-go granola, come in convenient, single-serve packs for the busy consumer. I have first-hand experience with an on-the-go lifestyle. I started Rani’s NutraFoods Inc. as a new mom in 2010.
My vision and drive led me to my local Whole Foods store with just a product and a concept in hand. Whole Foods, which thrives on bringing new products to the market and opening doors for small vendors, was impressed with my 18 granola flavors.
To stand out among strong national-brand competitors, I needed to create a compelling new package design for my granola. Rather than following the popular pouch format, I created the first loose-granola single-serving snack pack. The new packaging idea set the product up for success by standing out on store shelves.
In April of 2012, Rani’s Yummy line of granola launched in the Ann Arbor, MI, Whole Foods store in 13 different flavors. But that was only the beginning for my fledgling company.
Soon after I launched the Yummy granola brand at Whole Foods, another major retailer expressed interest in my product: Kroger.
Demand for the product grew rapidly, and I needed to move away from manual packaging operations to automated equipment that would support the demand and my company’s growth by enabling me to supply product quickly to retailers.
Because the single-serve packaging format was unusual for granola, finding the right machinery to handle and fill the 2.5 x 7-inch bag was a challenge. I needed exposure to the latest innovations in packaging and, being completely new to the food manufacturing business, I searched online for events that would help me do that. It was then that I came across Pack Expo International.
At the show, I met with experts in processing and packaging, and engaged in valuable conversations about the latest technologies and the food manufacturing business.
As a business owner, Pack Expo opened the door to a huge network of resources and solutions that I needed to advance my company.
After considering several of the potential partners I had met at the show, it became clear that Dura-Pack’s filling equipment would be the best fit for Rani’s Yummy granola.
To streamline the manufacturing of my 13 granola varieties, I bought a Model DL-115 Single Feeder Net Weigher filling machine. It’s designed specifically for small, free-flowing products, and has a precision load cell with advanced 20-bit A/D.
Dura-Pack’s machine is user-friendly, accurate and efficient. It measures 1.2 oz of granola with high accuracy, which avoids waste. If a measurement is off by even a gram, it can cost the company a lot of money.
The machine is not only accurate, but fast, able to complete 5 to 20 cycles per minute. With its help, I was able to distribute Rani’s Yummy granola to Kroger—and to expand nationally, adding 50 stores to the Rani’s NutraFood distribution network within the last two years.
With an eye on future growth, I’ve already marked my calendar for Pack Expo International 2014.
Last time, I left Pack Expo feeling like an expert. This year, I’m excited to connect with the industry once again and see the latest technologies that will help me continue to grow my business. For brands looking to advance their business, Pack Expo is a must-attend event.
Filler uses digital data for fast and accurate weights
Phillip Harrison, controls engineer at Dura-Pack, explains how the company’s Model DL-115 filler ensures accurate weights.
“The 20-bit A/D receives the input from the load cell and converts it to a digital value that can be used by the PLC to determine the current weight. The heart of any weight-based filling system is the load cell and peripheral components that convert the load cell signal into a usable weight. It’s important that this component produces a high-resolution value as quickly as possible, and that the data is pumped digitally into the PLC as fast as possible.
“Many other systems utilize analog signal conditions and other low-resolution methods to bring weight data into a PLC. Although more cost-effective and easier to implement, this has a dramatic negative impact on the overall accuracy of the system. With our approach, we’ve found that we often achieve five times the scale resolution when compared to competitive units.”