Apple growers have been demanding a flow wrapping machine that can wrap apples without a tray and in a format to suit supermarket shelves. However apples are notoriously easy to damage and bruise so have to be handled very carefully “soft packaging” as it’s known in the trade. Redpacks P325S flow wrapping machine with “Frictionless Infeed” (P325S-FI) has been developed to provide damage free transportation of apples during the flow wrapping process.
On a conventional product infeed the product flows within stainless steel side guides and is pushed along a stainless steel bed by stainless steel pushers so there are lots of areas that can cause bruising and scuffing. Redpacks new style infeed incorporates a series of carrying belts along the bed and along the side guides as well as soft front and back product supports so that apples have no instances of drag or hard areas to cause bruising. Apple transfer from the infeed onto the wrapping film is an area that can cause misplacement of the fruit collation and potential bruising. Redpack have overcome this by adding a transfer belt system that carries the apples all the way onto the film, furthermore, to avoid disturbance to the collation through the seam crimp module, an overhead arrangement holds the apples firmly but gently in place.
Changing pack collations or making adjustments for differing apple grades can sometimes be a challenge on a conventional flowrapper. Not so with the Redpack P325S-FI because apples in 4, 6, 8 or 10 “Soldier pack formation” with or without a tray or as a single row 4 pack are accommodated without the need for additional change parts and pitch size adjustments are carried out by a simple handwheel easily, quickly and without any fuss.
Before the installation of the Redpack flow wrappers Apple Packers were using “Polybags” packing at around 20- 30ppm and then hand labelling which was slow and labour intensive. The new flowrappers use OPP film on a roll, so no more polybags, they have increased the packaging speed to around 60-70ppm and with an on-board printer pack information is automatically printed directly onto the pack film. Doubling the packing speed, reducing labour costs, reducing packaging material costs and improving pack appearance means fast payback of machine investment.
With seven of the new “Apple” machines installed and a further five orders in the bag from companies based in Essex, Herefordshire, Ireland, Kent and Lincolnshire plus numerous enquiries from home and abroad has prompted Redpacks Marketing Manager to state: “Apple Packers are very excited about the new P325S frictionless infeed flow wrapper because it doesn’t damage the fruit, can be easily adjusted for different size packs, doubles their packaging speed and saves them money on labour and their packaging materials. Our offer can be even more attractive when the machine is married to an automatic feed system that will make further savings in handling and labour requirement. You could say that it’s a real windfall for them”
Redpack are a British company, established in 1973, designing and manufacturing flow wrapping machines and packaging systems from their modern premises near Norwich. They have field service engineers to provide prompt and efficient after sales support and of course a comprehensive spare parts holding for fast action should the need arise. Redpacks technical department is available to clients to offer advice and assistance in the event of pack/material changes and Redpacks Sales Managers have extensive packaging knowledge for clients to draw upon.
A leading Packing Facility Manager within the apple industry stated: “I have been involved in packhouses for 20 odd years, I had a strawberry packhouse and I always maintained that the top fruit side was 10 years behind the soft fruit side and I needed to find a machine that could mechanise it and the flowrapper did it for me. I approached Redpack and went from there to what we see now” he went on to say “I really think that this is the ideal machine for a packhouse and another key element of course is that it is a British machine, it’s all made in the UK and that is a must for backup”
Redpack have a strong presence in the fresh produce and fruit industries and have gained a reputation for reliable flow wrapping machines that are efficient and require a minimum of maintenance. The new P325S-FI has enhanced this reputation and can be adapted for other fruits of similar size for example pears, oranges, lemons, kiwis etc. it is a welcome addition to Redpacks range of innovative flow wrapping machines and clients working with delicate product will benefit from the added protection that the frictionless infeed can provide.