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Sewtec Automation has designed and installed a conveyor system at United Biscuits’ McVitie’s Carlisle factory for the fast and efficient case packing of flow wrapped mini variety packs of biscuits.

The system has been developed to integrate into the existing packing line, which comprises seven flow wrappers, each wrapping a different biscuit type into mini flow wraps of three biscuits per pack.

After flow wrapping, the packs are collated and hand packed into outers, resulting in a finished case of assorted biscuit packs.

A key requirement for the conveyor system was to make the hand packing operation more efficient and ergonomic for the operators.

One change from the previous operation is the siting of the hand packers on the far side of the conveyor where previously they were seated inside the line by the flow wrappers.

This has created more space for the packers and flow wrapper operators and enabled the system to function more efficiently.

Cases are taken from an existing Endoline case erector and transferred onto the modular Sewtec belt conveyor.

The system also features standalone side belts, which are adjustable for speed in order to control the cases at the required packing rate.

Cases pass through a side flap plough station which holds the flaps open to enable unimpeded placement of the biscuits.

The biscuits exit each flow wrapper onto a Sewtec inclined belt transfer and are then penny stacked on tangential conveyors to enable easy collating and counting of the required number of packs for hand loading into the outers.

Belt speeds can be adjusted to regulate the flow of packs and a second base conveyor takes away any rejected packs for repacking.

Filled cases are then sealed and taken to an existing metal detector and checkweigher.

The Sewtec system is able to pack around seven cases a minute with the flow wrappers operating at up to 110 packs per minute.

The efficiency of the system has reduced manning levels on the line by around 25 per cent.

Sewtec Automation

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