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Sack Handling

The Total Bag Control (TBC) sack closing system clamps the sack top through the stitching unit using grip arms and a belt feeder that move in perfect timing with the conveyors beneath

sealed the oats was gradually automated to reduce handling and increase throughput. Initially a weigher, bag presenter and palletising robot were installed however it was the final part of the chain – the bag closing system – which was “letting the side down”, explained farm estate manager James Phillips. “Our old stitching machine drastically hindered our output potential – once the bags were filled and dropped onto the moving conveyor, there was nothing to stabilise them during the stitching process which meant that we could not achieve consistent well presented packs and in turn oat wastage was high. Pacepacker Services was recommended to us by word of mouth and they immediately suggested its Total Bag Control System as a solution which would stabilise the bags throughout the sealing process thus providing a neat consistent seal.” Paul Wilkinson, business development manager at Pacepacker Services, commented: “It’s many manufacturers’ perception that automating an existing line will be expensive. Pacepacker’s TBC, as with all of our systems, has been designed with features which make it easy to integrate so that it works in tandem with existing production equipment supplied by other leading manufacturers - as found by Highclere Castle, in order to achieve a fully automated system, we simply upgraded their existing line to keep project costs to a minimum.”

Programmed with interlocking signals, the TBC is fed from the existing bag presenter and then, with motorised grip arms, holds the bag firmly in place while it is filled from the existing weigher above. Pacepacker programmed the TBC to work in complete unison with the weigher to ensure that the sack filling cycle is as efficient and fast as possible to maximise throughput. Pacepacker replaced the original conveyor system with a TBC system that prepares the sack top whilst on the sack clamp, it then transfers the bag to the stitching unit using grip arms and a belt feeder that move in perfect timing to the conveyors sitting underneath. Pacepacker also installed a 90 degree motorised Sack Kicker which complimented the line by depositing the

24 Solids & Bulk Handling • May 2012

upright, sealed, conveyed bag to a flat configuration ready for palletising. Historically the line required manual adjustment to deal with multiple bag sizes – which differed depending on each customer’s requirements. Pacepacker's solution, the TBC, enables the system to be changed over to different sizes and types of bags very quickly, with only the minimal amount of adjustments required. Quite often the only change required is to raise or lower the conveyors that are on a height adjustable frame by turning a handle. Once the TBC was established within Highclere’s production line, their problems with waste and pack presentation were eliminated by 100% and the full line is now running at six tonnes of oats per hour. The manual operator is now able to wrap the pallets, and restock the bag presenter, as well as keeping an eye on the bagging line operation.

By gradually automating its production line Highclere Castle Horse Feed ltd has been able fulfill its sales potential and is now selling its oats on a global scale. “Installation of Pacepacker’s sack closing system has helped us to fully automate our line and we are delighted to report that the TBC does exactly what it says on the tin – it has revolutionised the way we pack,” concludes James Phillips.

Lord Carnarvon, owner of Highclere Castle, commented: “I fully endorse the efficiency of the system, that by automating the bagging and stitching line, we are now able to exploit the potential of our robotic palletiser. Highclere Castle Horse Feeds has continued to invest in production efficiency and quality of the process and the Pacepacker system has allowed us to considerably increase our sales throughput without the need for extra labour.”

For more information contact Pacepacker Services on tel: 01371 811544 or visit:

Pacepacker’s retrofitted Total Bag Control sack closing system, enabled Highclere to gain the benefits of a fully automated turnkey system

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