Combine the strengths of a conventional palletizer with those of a robotic palletizer – that was the idea behind Premier Tech’s new APR Series Robotic Hybrid Palletizer.
The roots of Maple Leaf Foods’ growth as a company go back over more than a century, to the amalgamation of several of Canada’s first food supply companies. Today, Maple Leaf Foods is a multinational with a host of brands that are well-known to Canadians.To fulfill its mission of providing quality, nutritious and innovative food products without compromising on taste, Maple Leaf Foods relies on a range of high quality packaging equipment in its plants. To meet the needs of Maple Leaf Foods', Premier Tech combined innovation and expertise by creating a high speed and versatile robotic case packer.
Guy D’Amours, a Premier Tech Project Manager for more than 18 years, committed himself fully to the project from the very start. The challenge was a major one. The team had to design a completely new machine that would be capable of handling more than 180 different SKUs (stock-keeping units) as efficiently and as quickly as possible. “From the start, we were forced to design new technology that would work at high speeds and still be extremely versatile” he says.
The new equipment would not only have to package various product formats, but also crate the products horizontally and vertically according to different patterns, as well as adjust to box formats that might differ from one product to the other. In response, the engineering team at Premier Tech came up with the RPK Series – a Robotic Case Packer that perfectly meets the need of the food packaging industry. “In the end, we succeeded in creating an extremely versatile machine that can be used in several situations and for every kind of packaging,” explains D’Amours.
Another major challenge facing Premier Tech was the installation stage, which involved adapting to two completely different scenarios: a brand new building production area and stringent sanitary standards in an already existing plant. The new Maple Leaf Foods plant production area, which housed sliced meat packaging equipment, had been in operation for almost a year. Premier Tech would need to adjust to construction risks and deal with any resulting delays. To manage the project efficiently, monitoring work progress became paramount. The installation of the lines in the new building production area was a success.
In the case of the wieners packaging machines, the Factory Acceptance Test was one of the best that The Maple Leaf Foods had ever seen. “From Day 2, our equipment had to run full capacity because we were replacing existing equipment,” explains D’Amours. In just two weeks, three complete lines were installed in the plant – a speed record! Bill Dolson, Director of Strategic Capital Sourcing at The Maple Leaf Foods, had high praise for the process:
“We were amazed with the work done by the people at Premier Tech Systems and Automation. The short installation time frame and context were a challenge, but they managed to meet our expectations and more.”
By joining forces, The Maple Leaf Foods and Premier Tech succeeded in developing personalized packaging solutions to improve the packaging systems used for wieners and sliced meat. At Premier Tech Systems and Automation, we believe that our people and our technologies make a difference in our clients’ lives. Our engineers can assist you in finding the equipment that will perfectly fits your needs.