A new vertical, form, fill and seal (VFFS) packaging and distribution line from processing and packaging equipment provider, tna has helped UK-based Whitby Seafoods to double its packaging speed. The investment has enabled Whitby Seafoods to meet rising consumer demand by providing additional capacity and integration between systems.
Based in Whitby, a traditional fishing port in North Yorkshire, Whitby Seafoods is a leading producer of frozen seafood products. A growing family company, it specializes in locally sourced langoustines – or scampi – that are breaded and sold in bite-size portions. A recent rebrand meant that the company updated its packaging design to appeal to an even wider audience. New pack sizes range from between 200 and 300 grams in a standard pillow bag format. Whitby therefore required a flexible packaging and distribution system that would allow it to expand its product portfolio and allow efficient product changes and integration with existing elements of the production line.
Faster packaging speeds
As a growing manufacturer, Whitby Seafoods was looking to increase capacity with a third packaging line. It chose to install the tna robag 3ci – a vertical, form, fill and seal (VFFS) packaging solution that would allow fast speed for a range of bag sizes.
Simon Hill, regional sales manager at tna, comments, “Packaging line speed is crucial to maintaining food safety with frozen foods like seafood. While the two existing production lines operate at 70 bags per minute (bpm), the new line works comfortably at 140 bpm, effectively doubling product throughput. This now helps Whitby Seafoods to ensure products are processed as quickly as possible.
Rotary jaw design with advanced sealing tech
With a rotary jaw design that uses advanced sealing technology for improved seal integrity at high speeds, the new system helps to deliver a consistently appealing end product. The compact design, including a shorter bagging system height and small footprint, was ideal for the low ceiling in the Whitby Seafoods factory. With the ability to walk around upstairs, operators have better visibility of the line and therefore stricter quality assurance standards. The new equipment also has a user-friendly interface, making it simple and easy to operate. This will help Whitby Seafoods to save significant time regarding ongoing operation and training in the long-term.
Helping to realise further performance benefits, the packing system was fitted with the tna intelli-weigh omega 314 multi-head weigher. With capabilities for a 2,200 kg per hour in-feed to the packaging system, it was imperative any upstream equipment could keep up with the fast speed of the bagger. The integration of the tna intelli-weigh omega 314 allowed for high speed weighing with superior precision.
The tna robag 3ci and its film system for easy film threading and high accuracy control has improved efficiencies at Whitby Foods by reducing film waste and cutting changeover procedures from two minutes to 30 seconds.
Total project management from a single source
tna implemented the additional packaging line within a short timeframe of five months, providing Whitby Seafoods with solutions they were looking for, while also delivering full integration with existing equipment.
A key consideration for the installation was that operations between the new and existing lines would be seamless. To achieve full integration, tna trialled how the new installation would work in the factory as part of the wider production process. As part of this process, the team carried out extensive 3D modelling, to ensure the system was tailored to exact requirements. This also helped to ensure the system was up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible.