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After investigating the automation of the bagging and palletising system at its factory in Lincolnshire, a leading food ingredient producer awarded the contract to Chronos Richardson.

There were several particularly challenging aspects to the project and engineers from Chronos Richardson have worked closely to the exacting standards requested by the ingredient production company.

Not only did the system have to operate reliably and accurately while handling products that were prone to aeration, it had to be capable of efficiently changing over between 50 different ingredient and bag type and size combinations on the packing schedule.

Another requirement was the need for complete product identification and traceability, through the application and reading of a bar coded product label on each bag produced by the factory.

The food ingredient producer had been utilising a Chronos Richardson screw fed E55 weigher for many years on its original manual bagging line.

Therefore, further automation of the process utilising an integrated bagging line and Compact palletiser from Chronos proved to be a logical step.

Packing schedules are programmed into the SpeedAC NXT weigher controller and the PLC controller on the palletiser, which allows for simple change over between different ingredients and bag types and sizes.

Filled bags undergo a two-stage de-aeration process to remove excess air prior to being closed via a heat sealer or stitcher.

Each bag passes through a metal detector before having an individual bar coded label applied, which contains all the product identification parameters.

The Compact palletiser features a combination of traditional and robotic palletising techniques and before each bag enters the palletiser its bar code is checked.

A bag without appropriate identification is rejected.

The automatic bagging and palletising system was supplied on a turnkey basis, with full installation and commissioning being undertaken by Chronos Richardson service engineers.

The system allowed the food ingredient company to increase its typical outputs to between 240 and 350 bags per hour, depending on the product being packed.

Greater throughputs can be achieved on those product mixes that do not require any de-aeration.

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