January 29, 2014

4 Min Read
Robot loads multiple package sizes

More than 25 years ago, the idea of bulk food was virtually unheard of in North America, but Johnvince Foods, a privately owned Canadian company, seized the opportunity to bring customers a lower-cost alternative for a variety of food items. Purchasing foods in bulk turned out to be a cost-effective solution for customers and manufacturers alike. The success of the bulk food format allowed Johnvince Foods to purchase the sole rights to the Planters(R) brand for Canada from Hershey's Canada. This acquisition propelled the success of Johnvince Foods, and nearly every major grocery chain in Canada is now purchasing food items from the company.

As its business grew, Johnvince Foods made the decision to equip its operation with state-of-the-art processing and packaging machines that would transform raw material into finished goods for the bulk-food and packaged-goods trade. In 2003, the company purchased a Paloma top-loading robot from Doboy, Inc. (www.doboy.com) to pack its products into various display cartons. Local Doboy sales partner, Gerry Cellucci, an associate at Alex E. Jones & Assoc., Ltd. (www.alexejones.ca), worked with Johnvince's operations manager, Tom Copping, to find an efficient product-handling solution to accommodate the various package sizes required.

"The Planters products include shelled and salted peanuts, walnuts, pecans, smoked and split almonds and more. The many products are packaged in 75-, 100-, 150-, 160-, 300- and 400-g bags," explains Cellucci. "Determining an affordable solution to handle these package sizes was easy by adding automation to the operation with the Doboy Paloma robot. The challenging part was finding a solution to handle the 2.5-kilogram size package." Johnvince Foods distributes a 2.5-kg bag of nuts that is hand-packed into shipping cases rather than going through the Paloma.

The products are bagged on a twin-tube vertical form/fill/seal machine from Triangle Packaging Machine Co. (www.trianglepackage.com) and are then transported to the Paloma top loader to be placed into various size containers that range from small chipboard display cases to very tall RSCs. The loaded containers then are transported to a hand-load/palletizing area.

After assessing the needs of the production line, Doboy engineers further enhanced the operational capabilities of the Paloma toploader by devising a heavy-duty case-transportation conveyor that included a device to fold down and retain the front flaps of the cases. This feature allows the Paloma to efficiently load taller cases without losing control of the bags during the placement process. Another enhancement was the addition of a product-bypass option that allows the larger bags that are not being loaded by the Paloma to pass through it and be manually packed into cases. This allows the products to be bagged on the same vf/f/s machines as the smaller bags, thus increasing equipment utilization.

Amy's Kitchen packs 160 burritos/min into cartons with a Doboy pick-and-place robot. Read about this at www.packagingdigest.com/

As its business grew, Johnvince Foods made the decision to equip its operation with state-of-the-art processing and packaging machines for the bulk-food and packaged-goods trade.

"It has been a year since the relationship of Johnvince Foods and Doboy started," says Copping. "We are so pleased with the performance of the Paloma and the level of service, that we have taken delivery of a second Paloma." Johnvince Foods installed the second Paloma top loader along with a new high-speed Triangle rotatable-jaw vf/f/s machine in 2004.

Proving itself to be a great investment, the Paloma, with its unique features, not only increased efficiency, but it also saved on real estate by eliminating a separate line for the larger package size. Copping adds. "Doboy understood that sometimes there is still a need to manually pack, and they took the time to truly understand our operational needs and work with us. That level of cooperation makes a great partnership."

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