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More than an Automatic Case Packer for Peeps

A move from RSCs to retail-ready packaging for its Peeps candy prompts Just Born to replace its manual secondary packaging process with fully automatic equipment.


To allow for automatic packing, Aagard furnished the line of secondary packaging equipment that keeps Peeps rolling off the line while reducing labor and providing package flexibility and ease of changeover.


Flexibility Required

Just Born President of Operations Rob Sweatman relates, the new process's benefits went far beyond a new case format. "What we got was a system that provides surge protection with an accumulator and automatic case packing and palletizing," he says. "The machinery also resulted in cost savings from reduced labor requirements and reduced risk from liability related to manual operations."


Before the switch to automatic packaging, six to 10 operators hand-packed flow wrapped packs of Peeps into manually erected top-load RSC cases, with 36 packages of Peeps per case. With the new equipment, three different flow-wrapped pack formats run on the line: five-, 10- and 15-ct trays. The primary packages are loaded into a wraparound case, holding 18, 24, or 36 packs.


Since Just Born changes product configurations frequently, the machinery needed to be user friendly and provide efficient changeover. Operators of all different abilities work on the line, so the equipment must be easy to operate.


In terms of speed, the system not only had to keep up with two horizontal flow wrappers (running at 200/min)- but it had to offer even more significant speed in case of future upstream improvements. The Aagard system, Sweatman says, operates at 500/min, easily accommodating for the existing flow wrappers.


Integrated Processes


The Aagard custom-engineered merger-accumulator provides up to six minutes of surge protection, enabling the entire system to have a guaranteed efficiency of 98%. The system also features orientation inspection, date coding, open flap detection, and quality control inspection with automatic rejects. Finished cases are transferred past an integrated printer and then move on to the palletizer. The palletizer can handle column stacks of up to 100 in tall. Stations provide flexibility in picking up finished pallets.


System Success


Sweatman says the Just Born team is extremely pleased with the Aagard system. "we are now able to provide retail-ready display cases to our customers. We've recognized that other benefits are eliminating the ergonomic risk associated with hand case packing, material savings using the wraparound versus RSC cases, and lower labor costs due to the automation. Aagard has been a pleasure to work with from beginning to end. Their organization is highly skilled, professional, and very customer-focused.