Increasing the Shelf Life with Innovative Packaging Technology
Since 1990 Connolly's Red Mills has been packaging horse and pet food with STATEC BINDER machines.
At that time, STATEC BINDER was still integrated into Binder+Co AG. The years went by and Connolly's Red Mills grew and therefore also required further packaging and palletizing systems. As the company grew bigger, more and more products were exported. At this stage, Connolly's Red Mills faced a unique problem: the shelf life of horse feed was limited to a few months. So how could the shelf life be increased? The solution was found together with STATEC BINDER: Nitrogen fumigation during filling.
Connolly's Red Mills is an Irish family business, founded in 1908. The company is divided into three divisions: pet food, agriculture and the core business horse feed. Red Mills specializes primarily in the feed of racehorses. 'When we received inquiries for shipping around the world, we were restricted by the shelf life of our products,' says Joe Connolly, CEO Connolly's Red Mills.
'As the export business grew, so did the challenge of how to get beyond the island of Ireland. Since the climate in Ireland is damp, we struggled with the shelf life of the product when we went into warmer climates. STATEC BINDER was the company we were closest aligned with, so we discussed this challenge with Josef Lorger,' continues Joe Connolly.
'To be successful and to offer your customers the perfect solution for the packaging of their products, you have to be flexible as a company, understand the customer's individual requirements and most importantly, you have to be willing to offer customized solutions. This is exactly the strength of STATEC BINDER. That's why we accepted the challenging project from Red Mills to increase the shelf life of their products and started developing the bagging machine,' explains Josef Lorger, Managing Director STATEC BINDER.
The SYSTEM-F, a vertical FFS packaging machine, was an excellent choice in the development of a solution for this particular challenge. The increased shelf life of the product was achieved by developing a special system that provides nitrogen fumigation during filling. Due to the nitrogen fumigation, the oxygen level in the filled bag is reduced, and thereby the shelf-life is increased. Through additional air suction before closing, the filled and closed bag is perfectly shaped for an equally well-formed pallet.
In addition to STATEC BINDER's developments, the bag film for Connolly's Red Mills has also been specially developed. The multi-layer film ensures that the vacuum in the filled bag is maintained and that no oxygen can enter.
'STATEC BINDER's contribution to our company was unique and profound. More specifically concerning the shelf life issues that we were facing in our export markets. This is where the STATEC BINDER team, who helped us to develop our unique NFMS (Nutrient Fresh Management System), has delivered the greatest benefit. Customers can now buy our products with a real shelf life of 26 months and the products are now delivered across 76 countries,' says Michael Connolly, Director Business Development Connolly's Red Mills.
But it was not only the further development of the SYSTEM-F packaging machine that was a challenge in this project. Due to only limited space available in the existing warehouse, the high-level palletizer PRINCIPAL-H did not fit into the available space in its standard version. For this reason, the PRINCIPAL-H was also adapted for Connolly's Red Mills. The filled bags from two packaging machines are conveyed to the palletizer
In the standard version, the bags would be transported to an inclined infeed conveyor which is normally installed in front of the palletizer. However, as the space was too limited, the inclined infeed conveyor was installed underneath the PRINCIPAL-H. This means that the filled bags are now transported from behind via the inclined infeed conveyor upwards to the palletizer and are fed to the palletizer via a tilting belt at the highest point. The bag then moves back onto the palletizer and is turned into the correct position for the layer of pallets and pushed forward onto the loading plate.
'STATEC BINDER does an excellent job for us and gives us access to markets worldwide', adds Joe Connolly.
by All Extruded