New salad packaging plant
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand Fresh Cut
Designer / Contractor
TNA New Zealand
TNA New Zealand of TNA Australia, a designer and manufacturer of Vertical Form Fill and Seal (VFFS) machines, installed and commissioned a stainless steel ROBAG® 3 fx 320 RSJ packaging system, integrated with a TNA 714SW stainless weighing scale at New Zealand Fresh Cuts in May 2005.
New Zealand Fresh Cuts (NZFC) previously used a contract packer for all of its salad products; it was the first company to introduce peeled baby carrots and bagged salad into the New Zealand market.
As part of the renovation, for improved efficiency at a lower cost, the company planned to set up an in-house packing system. As packing salads at high speed is extremely difficult due to product-in-seal issues and variations in density, NZFC was looking for an innovative VFFS system to match its requirement.
In consultation with NZFC, TNA developed a film better suited to the high-speed VFFS operation to replace the previously used PE film. The company now also uses PLA compostable film for packaging some of its products and it was the first company in Australasia to do so.
The company is also developing other compostable packaging elements.
The company also replaced a vibrating cone with a spinning cone on the scale and improved the chute design to allow better product transfer.
The system was specifically designed for even distribution of leaf product, and to avoid product clusters or clumping with a clear and defined product transfer.
SALAD PACKAGING MACHINERY
TNA installed a ROBAG 3 fx 320 RSJ packaging system integrated with a TNA 714SW stainless steel weighing scale at NZFC. Easy to clean and wash-down, ROBAG offers improved cross-seal strength and reliability and fewer product-in-seal rejects because of TNA’s product stripper / tube closer assembly.
The machine packs at much higher speeds than industry standards. The Modulated Pulse Control (MPC) feature ensures straight through movement of the product during the process and helps minimise product-in-seal rejects. This is a highly flexible, integrated system capable of packing a variety of wet or fresh products with very quick changeover times.
ROBAG 3 rotary triple jaw machine, with a TNA 320 scale and an integrated special product transfer system, packs at a speed of over 220 bags per minute (bpm). NZFC has achieved higher productivity as a result of the combination of very high speed, high efficiency and low wastage features of the system. They had achieved an output of up to 70bpm on the unpredictable, fragile fresh salad leaves with less than 5% leaf-in-seal. This was 30% to 40% higher than had been indicated.
The new ROBAG 3 series of totally integrated VFFS systems can efficiently pack delicate products such as fresh produce, confectionery and powders. A rotary double jaw stainless steel machine, with a TNA 714 SW stainless steel scale, the ROBAG 3 is said to be especially suitable for fresh produce such as salads and fresh vegetables.
NZFC reduced product-in-seal rejects due to the product stripper / tube closer assembly. Further improvements on the installed system have enabled a further reduction in the number of leaf-in-seal rejects down to approximately 2%.
In addition to the difficult-to-pack salad leaves, NZFC benefited from improved productivity on other products such as mung beans, with increased speeds of 90bpm.
Delighted with the success of the equipment and TNA’s commitment, NZFC also purchased a checkweigher, as the current system could not keep up with the newly achieved machine speeds. NZFC has since purchased a second integrated stainless steel system from TNA.
As part of the consolidation of production for the business, in February 2006 NZFC took over the management of the 80ha farm in Rangiriri, previously a contract grower for the company’s vegetables. It developed the property into a higher producing model farm based on the best farm systems worldwide that it could adopt and the farm now produces the majority of the baby carrot requirements.
The farm now has the largest dedicated cut and peel carrot operation in Australasia and carrots are grown all year round. The processing facility on the farm includes a harvester and a wash plant. Carrot processing equipment has been installed at the NZFC Otahuhu plant and includes a peeler/polisher, an optical sorter, and a small piece remover.