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Our Food Packaging & Consumer Buying Behavior Report and other studies have shown that the pandemic has forever changed the way people are buying their food. Consumers are driving the trend towards convenience meals, ready-to-eat, and grab-and-go food products. As these categories continue to grow by as much as 50%, food manufacturers are looking for ways to increase production while keeping costs down. Watch this video to see some of the automated food packaging solutions we’ve implemented to help our customers meet the demands in this changing environment.

“Hello my name is John Washko, I’m the Director of Packaging Automation here is Shorr Packaging and today we’re going to talk a little bit about some of the real changes that we’ve seen in the way people are buying our food. With the grab-and-go market, the ready-to-eat meals, the home replacement meals, now we’re even seeing cafeterias are being removed whether it’s in the hospital or college, or even at your school, food is being prepared somewhere else. So how are we doing that today, today we’re going to talk about an entire process, and first, up we’re going to talk about how to pace the line.

FEMC (@00:41)

If we use a product like a denester, whether it’s a friction denester or you’ll see a vacuum denester in a minute, that will take the trays and take them out of the stack and put them in sequential order for the operators then begin to fill those trays with food with whatever food product it might be. Once those operators begin to do that, we may be able to add additional automation by adding piston fillers for sauces and liquid products that would fill those trays. They’re clean, they’re easy, they’re simple, and they’re consistent in the amount of product that they put in the line. If you have dry products we use a volumetric filler. Volumetric fillers put product that is dry in the container at speeds and they can be done with the piston fillers and you can add a sauce to a rice product. Maybe the customer adds a protein to that. So the advantage of the filler is you get consistent delivery of product tray after tray after tray.

Proseal (@ 1:47)

Now that we filled the product, the trays, we’ve gone now from what used to be a clamshell to this sealing system and I want to show you today what we think is one of the best tray sealing systems on the market. It gives you the ability to seal plastic, paperboard, aluminum, whatever method you are using for your customers to prepare their food. So whether it’s salads or its fruit, what we’re doing is in a straight line sealing film on top of that tray. Now we can gas flush it, we can vacuum it, we can vacuum gas flush it, all at speeds. And some people are adding labels at the end after it’s been sealed or they’re using a pre-printed film to get their labeling information on the product so that the customer knows exactly what they’re getting.

Texwrap (@ 2:43)

Alright, as many as you know the pizza industry continues to expand, we’re looking for more and more speed every day. I want to show you a couple of different machines that are high-speed machines, obviously what we’re looking at is how do we get more pizzas out the door with the fewer people that are available, so we need more and more speed. This is just a simple overwrapping of pizza but it’s doing it at speed. This machine is a side seal and it’s just bagging. The next machine that we’re going to see actually inserts the disc under the pizza, puts the pizza on top, we can actually combine those, you’re going to see it run at a hundred a minute, we can go potentially, depending on the size, up to 200 a minute but again as this industry continues to grow and change and we have cauliflower pizzas, and we have all the other styles that are coming, this pizza industry continues to grow and continues to require us to increase our speeds and be much better at the process. 

Combi (@ 3:43)

All right so we packed the product, now we have to get it to the customer and so we’re looking at ways that we can increase the speed at which we are able to pack to shipping. So in this particular case, we have an ErgoPack and that is a very unique product that Combi has made that allows for wash down or even sanitary design, it allows for operators to pick and pack into a case. This is really an interesting and cool way to finish the project of your entire line. 

Next up we’re going to look at something that is only begun to happen and it continues to expand but this is a machine that picks and opens cases that are random sizes, put the license plate on to tell the operator what they’re going to put into this case. In this particular instance, it’s wine. but what if it were five different pizzas that you ordered to deliver to your house for this week or different meals. All of those things can be done automated through this system and it’s just another extension of the kind of stuff that we do at Shorr Packaging.

Interpack IPG (@ 4:48)

All right for those of you who are interested in having a sustainable look if your customers looking for that sustainable feel but yet you don’t want your operators to hand apply the water-activated tape on the top and bottom. Here is a solution that erects the case, puts water-activated tape on it, now the operator can fill it with whatever the products might be. And now we’re going to seal it with a random case sealer, which means we could have two or three of these case erectors building different sizes to different boxes so that we can deliver the product to the customer with the order that they have asked for and expected. Now though it looks like a sustainable package.

Wexxar Bel (@ 5:29)

So we’ve just looked at a way that you would seal the case using a random case sealer but if you wanted to go automated, this is the Bel 252. It seals the case, and you’ll notice that there is no protection because there are no pinch points in this machine, any other machine that automatically closes all the flaps like you’re seeing this one would have to be guarded. When you add a case former, now you’ve got a semi-automatic way to package a solution, package products at a slower pace but completely automated. 

ID Technology (@ 6:02)

Now we’re really talking about applying labels and identifying the product. So we’ve looked at a license plate, which tells us what we’re going to pick and pack to that particular case, but we also need labels that tell us what’s in the case, what’s on the product, what’s in the product. So whether that’s a label identifier on top of the product or an ingredient panel on the bottom of the product, all of those kinds of labels need to be applied faster than people are able to do it in most cases. So we need to be able to apply labels in a much more efficient manner as we get towards the end of this line so that we can keep up with the speeds on the front end of that line.

Robotiq (@ 6:42)

And I’m really excited to talk about the end of the line. Well, I want to introduce to you a new solution from Robotiq and UR (Universal Robot), which is a collaborative robot that allows the operator to do other things while it is building pallets, it’ll be a pallet on the right and a pallet on the left and operator can enter the zone. You have the ability to reduce the stress and strain of building pallets, you have a quick ROI because it’s not a full-blown robot, but it is a collaborative robot. This is a great game-changing solution.

Lantech (@ 7:18)

Okay so now we’ve built the pallet, we’re right to the end, and what we wanted to show you now is a new QL Semi- Automatic from Lantech. This gives the ability not only to wrap the pallets but to tell you how those pallets are being wrapped, how much film is being used. The analytics and the data that’s available has never been available like this before and we’re really excited about that because we can dial in what the customers need is to get the product to them in a pristine fashion. 

These are just a few of the solutions that we can provide to you. Whether it’s a package design, whether it’s material, whether it’s equipment, all of these things are why Shorr is here, because we’re with you all the way. We look forward to an opportunity to sit down with you and talk about your particular requirements and your particular needs.” Click here to learn more about Shorr’s food packaging solutions