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Improving Shelf Impact and Cost Through Automation for a Fresh Produce Packer

Case Study: Produce Packer/Marketer

Overview

A Fresh Produce Packer located in Kansas City contacted Crawford Packaging to improve their produce packaging solution. The Packer was manually re-packaging a wide variety of fresh produce with trays and zipper bags. The Packer was searching for a way to reduce labour costs and enhance the shelf impact of their final package for retailers and consumers.

The Packer met with a Packaging Specialists at a PMA Trade Show to discuss the Packer’s packaging goals. The Packaging Specialist worked with the Packer to understand the pain points that their current packaging solution was having. After the discovery was complete, the Specialist worked with the Packer to create an automation solution that met their objective. The Packaging Specialist demonstrated the capabilities of an RGD Flow Wrapper at the PMA Trade Show. After an in depth review of the equipment and a positive referral from the Packer’s produce partner, who is an existing client of Crawford, the Packer confidently added an RGD Flow Wrapper and three side conveyors to increase packaging automation.

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Challenge

A Produce Packer located in the U.S.A. sought to reduce their required labour costs and improve packaging materials. The Packer was having employees hand pack their peppers and other produce SKUs. This process was time-consuming, increased labour costs and resulted in an inconsistent look to their product lines.


Process

Crawford’s Packaging Specialist met the Packer at a PMA Trade Show where Crawford was exhibiting fresh produce packaging equipment. The Packer was interested in learning more about Crawford’s turnkey automation solutions. After a thorough discovery and product demonstration at the PMA show the Specialist provided the Packer with materials for their review.  Following the review, Crawford scheduled a phone meeting with the Packer and their Canadian partner who is a current Crawford Packaging client. The partner gave a positive referral on the quality of Crawford’s equipment and support. Crawford visited the Packer’s facility in Kansas City to review their options and ensure a smooth transition to an automated packaging line. With a strong understanding of the products and support programs available, the Packer added an RGD Mape VR-8 Master and three infeed conveyors.

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Solution

RGD Mape VR-8 Master Flow Wrapper

The VR-8 Master is an electronic horizontal flow wrap packaging machine that provides new standards for handling and flexibility. The VR-8 Master can package a wide range of products easily at high speeds. It allows setting and storing up to 40 different packing programs and can run at speeds up to 70 packs/minute. A variety of accessories allows the VR-8 Master to be tailored to match specific customer needs and requirements.

Packaging Machine Support

As a leading distributor of packaging equipment, Crawford Packaging is the only turn-key, full-service packaging equipment and consumables wholesaler. Crawford offers clients a full range of services to support new and used packaging equipment purchases. These services seek to increase performance and maintain equipment capacity throughout the entire lifecycle of the machine. Our packaging equipment programs can include:


Results

With the addition of the VR-8 to their packaging line, the Packer improved the consistency and appearance of their products. This knowledge-based packaging solution has helped the Packer to increase their product distribution area. With their new automation equipment, the Packer reduced the labour required to run their packaging line and are maintaining high levels of productivity.

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Improved Product Appearance

With a consistently packaged product, the Packer has increased sales of their packed produce. A consistent look has made the products more appealing and easier to market. This has allowed the Packer to place their products in new retail chains they had previously not distributed to.

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Increased Productivity

With the VR-8’s ability to store up to 40 pre-set packaging programs the Packer has improved their packaging line productivity. The easy to use controls and quick changer over process have helped the Packer to quickly swap between SKUs. These fast changeovers help reduce downtime periods while changing the SKU packed.

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Decreased Labour Costs

The automation provided by the VR-8 and infeed conveyors has reduced labour costs for their produce packaging line and reduced the per pack cost of their produce products.

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After Sales Support

The Packer has been able to transition seamlessly to their new VR-8 packaging line through Crawford’s Technical Support and Packaging Machine Training Programs. This service has helped the Packer set up equipment, programming and provide training for operators. The Packer has been extremely satisfied with the speed and ease transition to the new machines. This is key for the Packer as their products are perishable and downtime can result in lost products and profits.


Crawford Packaging is a full-service packaging company located in London, Brampton and Waterloo, Ontario. From packaging to packaging equipment, installation and upgrades, and in-person equipment training and repair, we're focused on your business success every step of the way.