The ability to upgrade its existing Proseal GT2 tray sealer has enabled leading strawberry grower Busby Partners Ltd to increase packing speeds by nearly 30%, at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a new machine.
Based in Chilcote in the Midlands, Busby Partners supplies its strawberries to major retailers. The success of the business has seen volumes increase by 40% since the company first installed its Proseal tray sealer, meaning that the machine's top speed of around 90 packs per minute was unable to cope with the larger amount of throughput required.
Busby Partners initially approached Proseal to enquire about buying a new machine but instead the company suggested the retrofitting to the existing model of its Pro-Motion technology, which is available on all GT platform tray sealers.
Pro-Motion uses following motion and intelligent buffering technology to enable trays to feed continuously into the sealer without stopping, delivering a 30% increase in production throughput. At Busby Partners, this means its GT2 is now averaging 116 packs per minute, greatly speeding up the entire packing operation.
"We have always been impressed by the performance and reliability of our GT2, which is why we approached Proseal about purchasing a second machine to help us cope with continuing increases in demand," explains Phillip Busby of Busby Partners.
"It was very refreshing that, instead of agreeing to sell us another machine, the company instead pointed out how we could improve the performance of our existing tray sealer. This has not only saved us a significant amount of money, it has also eliminated the need to try to fit a second machine into our pack house."
"Modifications such as this will always be available for our older machines," comments Tony Burgess, head of sales and control systems at Proseal. "While our philosophy is to focus on technology innovation and our next generation of models, we will always ensure that our existing customers can also have access to these very latest developments. The ability to retrofit new features in order to continue to meet the needs of our current and past customers is a core commitment of our business."
At Busby Partners, the GT2 is sealing 200, 300 and 400g punnets, all of which have the same footprint, plus a special K10 design used for premium own-label brands. The company reports that tool changeovers between the two sizes take less than one minute and that the tools are quickly up to temperature.
"There is an awful lot of common sense that has gone into the building of this machine," comments Phillip Busby. "It is simple to start, use, adjust, maintain and shut down."
The GT2 offers fast and flexible sealing thanks to features such as servo-controlled pack transfer which creates a smooth movement for trays throughout the sealing process, and self-centring pack guides, which ensure trays are accurately positioned for sealing, a vital factor in particular after a tool change. Automatic film snap and film end detection also help to maintain consistent operation.
A user-friendly menu-driven control panel provides ease of set up and operation, which can be remotely accessed and controlled. The screen also provides detailed production data, production monitoring and full diagnostics.
Mr Busby describes seal quality as 'fantastic' and is equally impressed with Proseal's after sales support.
"The service back-up is second-to-none. The only time in five years that I have had a problem, the machine was repaired and operational again within four hours. And for day-to-day maintenance, Proseal always sends any parts required by 9am the next day and these are simple to fit. This ease of use and high level of support are essential for a fresh produce business like ours."