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Sweet solution to packaging bottleneck

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With milk bottles, bananas, snakes, jelly babies and raspberries tumbling through chutes at increasingly dizzying speeds, an automated packaging system from Contract Packaging Systems (CPS) was a lifesaver for confectionery manufacturer, Allseps.

BUSINESS is sweet for Allseps, a family-owned icon established in 1934.

The Melbourne factory employs around 70 people on two shifts, but has recently been running night shifts a few times per week to keep up with demand and is considering permanent 24-hour production.

Allseps supplies around 10% of the jelly confectionery purchased each year from Australia??s schools, milk bars and grocery stores.

The jellies are mostly packed in polypropylene or laminate packets of 50g to 2kg in various c flute and e flute cartons.

Two of Allseps’ three main packaging lines become predominantly manual beyond their Robag vertical form fill and seal machinery.

Each flat carton is opened by hand, the base folded, bags are dropped in, and cartons are then automatically sealed before being manually palletised.

The decision to automate the third line was made by Andy Allsep himself, with the aim of eliminating a bottleneck and reducing the drain on Allseps’ workforce.

Andy found an elegant solution.

In a compact horseshoe shape sits a CPS Siat carton erector, followed by a customised filler and finally, a CPS Siat carton sealer.

Because Allseps is uncompromising about the presentation of its packets, one staff member checks that all are stacked neatly while a second palletises boxes.

The result is a reduction in manual handling, a saving of one worker’s time and consistent throughput.

Allseps supervisor Charles Brackenbury says the CPS carton erector and sealer proved reliable and easy to operate.

A pack of flat cartons is loaded into the Siat F144 erector, which then uses suction cups to draw in each carton and open it before folding the flaps into place.

One of a range of four Siat erectors, the F144 is an economical machine designed specifically for smaller boxes, without compromising speed or reliability.

Charles said changing settings to suit various box sizes takes just “two seconds” and staff members were quick to adjust to the new equipment.

The Siat XL33 tape sealer is equally as simple to manage and capable of sealing 15 cartons per minute.

The erector and tape sealer worked so well that Allseps turned to CPS for more equipment, including a CPS semi-automatic stretch-wrapping machine for the end of the packaging line.

Allseps operations manager Cos Sansalone said the reliability of the machinery and CPS’ service performance was invaluable.

“We only have to make a call to CPS and if they can’t talk us through it over the phone, they’re out here in an hour or so,” Cos said.

“The service has been very good - actually, excellent”

Steady performance is all-important when it comes to coping with the tide of confectionery generated by the tireless production area on the other side of the wall, according to Charles Brackenbury.

“If something goes wrong in the packaging area, product just keeps on coming through the wall,” Charles said.

“We can buffer the product into tubs while we address any problems but we’d only have half an hour at the most.”

The success of the automated line with its CPS erector and sealer may soon be replicated across Allseps’ two remaining manual packaging areas, according to Charles.

“Equipment like the CPS machinery makes a real difference to Allseps because we know we can rely on it to perform. That’s never been more critical to us than it is now.”

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