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Hawaiian Host is nuts about wrapping and bagging line

Hawaiian Host is the leading U.S. exporter of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts and the fourth-largest exporter of chocolate. Its product offering is continuously growing, and it recently started producing one- and two-piece snack packs, which are bagged in standup pouches in multiple quantities to gain more market appeal. A significant commercial move, the implementation of these new packages presented a learning curve for Hawaiian Host's Gardena, CA, plant. However, the experience was well worth the investment, because the new standup pouches, branded My Hawaii, have reduced the cost of the Hawaiian Host products, making them even more appealing to consumers and large retailers across the U.S.

To meet this need, Hawaiian Host installed a card sheeter, a Linium 301(tm) horizontal wrapper, a Bagger Boss(tm) automatic bagger and a B-500(tm) band sealer from Doboy, a Bosch Packaging Technology co. (www.doboy.com). "We saw this equipment at the 2002 PACK EXPO in Chicago and decided that it would meet our needs for a flexible, reliable packaging system and would also offer a quick return on investment," says plant manager Ron Uno. Hawaiian Host was confident in both the packaging equipment and the quality of service support, due to a solid 10-year working relationship with Nevco Ltd., Doboy's southern California sales partner. Hawaiian Host purchased the equipment immediately and installed it at the end of 2002. Doboy assisted in the installation and startup of the equipment.

To start the operation when running two-piece packs, the card sheeter cuts individual paperboard cards from a roll of feedstock, folds up one longitudinal edge of each card to give them a U-shape and places them single-file on a conveyor that carries them past workers who place two pieces of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts on the cards. Cards are not used for the one-piece packs; workers place pieces directly on the conveyor when running this package. The conveyor continues into the Linium 301 horizontal flowrapper, which pulls film from a roll mounted overhead and around a series of rollers into the wrapping section. The machine wraps the film around the candy and creates a longitudinal fin seal beneath the package to form a continuous tube around the packages. They travel through a set of rollers containing heated bars that cross-seal the film, after which the individual packages are cut apart. A Markem (www.markem.com) 9840 Touch Dry coder applies a code date to the film as it passes over one of the rollers just before it wraps around the package. The Touch Dry coder uses rolls that are impregnated with hot-melt ink that cannot spill, splash or create a mess. The ink dries instantly, so there is less chance for the code to smudge or smear.

The PLC-controlled wrapper is equipped with a graphic control panel and a servo-driven infeed, finwheels, side channels and a cutting head. The operator can program the package length, operating speed and dwell time for each product, and this data will be retained in memory. When changing to a different product, the operator simply enters the product name, and the machine is changed to the new operating settings automatically. The wrapper is currently running 100 packs/min, but it has a capability of 300 packs/min if needed.

Packages leaving the wrapper pass over a Lock Inspection Systems (www.lockinspection.com) WeighChek checkweigher followed by a Lock Met 30+ metal detector. The checkweigher has an accuracy of 1/2 g and retains speeds and other operating settings in memory for a wide range of products. The settings can be recalled at the touch of a button. The metal detector features an on-screen analysis of detection parameters that provides a visual depiction of the presence of contaminants.

The packages leaving the metal detector are collected in bins by workers and are carried to the next room, where they are packed into 6-oz bags by the Bagger Boss.

The Linium 301 has been great and handles everything we've tried to do. It has even packed products it was not intended for.

The packages are loaded into a floor hopper feeding an elevator that lifts them to a Yamato Corp. (www.yamatocorp.com) 14-head radial weighing system that is mounted on a platform above the Bagger Boss. Product drops onto a vibrating feeder that delivers it to the vibrating top cone of the weighing system. A programmable loadcell under the center cone turns the product discharge on and off to maintain the proper product level on the cone.

The Yamato weighing system comprises 14 individual weigh heads mounted around the vibrating top cone. Each head has a vibrating feed pan, a feed bucket and a weigh bucket. Product discharges from the cone into the on/off vibrating feed pan, which operates for a preset period of time to put a set amount of product into the feed bucket.

The feed bucket, in turn, drops product into the weigh bucket. The amount of product delivered to each weigh bucket is about one-third to one-sixth of the weight of the finished package and, for each weighment, the control system selects the combination of three or four buckets that comes closest to the total bag weight without being underweight. Those buckets then discharge product down a chute into the loading hopper of the Bagger Boss.

Each discharge is displayed on the scale's computer monitor, showing the fill weight, which scales released product and statistical data. The weighing system automatically calibrates itself for bulk product as it passes through the system, tracks the product and continuously compensates and updates itself for optimal sensitivity.

The Bagger Boss fills the product into premade, wicketed, standup pouches. Due to the light weight of the product in the individual packs, the standard-model Bagger Boss was specially equipped, so that the wrapped chocolates properly fill out the gusset at the bottom of the multipack pouches.

To start this operation, an operator manually places the wicket holes in the tops of the bags over posts on the bag machine. At each filling cycle, a blast of air blows open the bag, the filling hopper indexes down into the bag, and the clamshell bottom of the hopper opens to discharge its load of product. The clamshell then closes, and the hopper retracts to receive the next load of product from the scale.

Fingers enter the bag, grip the sides and pull it straight out to remove it from the wicket. The finger mechanism then indexes sideways to place the bag into the B-500 band sealer, which trims off the top of the bag containing the wicket holes and heat-seals the top of the bag. This system has proven highly efficient and reliable, packing 15 bags/min.

Hawaiian Host has utilized the Doboy equipment to gain full potential and high productivity, and they are very satisfied with it. "The Linium 301 has been great and handles everything we've tried to do. It has even packed products it was not intended for," says Ron Uno, plant manager at Hawaiian Host. "And the Bagger Boss was much less expensive than the vertical form/fill/seal machines we originally considered for these products, and it produces a beautiful package"

By constantly introducing new products and package types, Hawaiian Host continues to increase its market share. The company is currently considering the use of a Doboy Paloma robot for placing the chocolates into the trays.

"Hawaiian Host is an incredibly flexible and forward-thinking company," says Dave Dillon of Nevco. "Its product offering is excellent, and the new packaging should increase its customer base further."

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