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5 apple packing lines increase efficiency at Wm Morrison

“We were looking for a supplier who could meet the specification, contribute ideas and also offer the flexibility to modify their machines to work with our environment. Brillopak was a good fit.”

Wm Morrison makes a significant investment to optimise its apple packing lines for product quality and efficiency.

About VM Morrison

Wm Morrison is a major supermarket business with over 500 stores in the UK and 117,000 employees. Morrison’s Manufacturing is the product supply arm of the business and is committed to providing optimum product quality  to their retail stores.

The Challenge

As part of its ongoing commitment to quality improvement, Morrisons was seeking to transform apple processing and packing in the UK. The objective was to create a Centre of Excellence at its Thrapston Distribution Centre for the packing of premium quality tray-less flow wrapped apple packs. This would extend from revolutionary infrared apple quality systems through to end of line packing. Brillopak was invited to identify potential solutions to automate the packing process.

Selecting a Partner

“I knew of Brillopak from previous projects and I liked their technical thinking and the quality of their systems”. Comments Jason Kelly, Head of Operations - Produce Improvement. “We were looking for a supplier who could meet the specification, contribute ideas and also offer the flexibility to modify their machines to work with our environment. Brillopak was a good fit.”

The Solution

Prior to the installation, Morrison’s packed product into crates via round tables. Loaded crates were then placed onto a main track conveyor system which took the loaded crates away for palletising. Brillopak provided 5 separate production lines, each of which consisted of 4 integrated machines. Empty crates are fed into each system in stacks of 3 from the main track. A crate destacker on each line separates the crates and passes them through to a semi-automatic packer which is ergonomically designed for maximum efficiency. Once the tray is packed it passes through a bale arm closer to check that the bale arm is closed, and then to a dual crate stacker which places 1 crate on top of the other. The loaded stack of crates is then presented back onto the main track conveyor for delivery to the palletiser.

The crates are fed onto the main track system by 2 high speed Brillopak C250 dual crate destackers which supply
not only the 5 new lines, but also to the 12 pre-existing fresh produce lines located in the same building.

The lines are fast, uncluttered and efficient.

The Build Quality

“I believe in running production lines at their optimum efficiency – that is to say highest possible continuous speed without downtime. That is how real efficiency is achieved. I like the simplicity of the Brillopak machines as it means that they are both easy to use and less likely to go wrong”.

Installation & Commissioning

Each line was fully tested prior to install. The machines were installed in phases to minimise disruption to production.  Jason Kelly continues. “I was impressed with the level of support both before and after the systems went live.”

Exceeding Expectations

“The new apple packing lines went live on time and on budget and have already achieved a step change in the quality of product that we deliver. This has been combined with a significant cost saving, which in turn makes Morrisons more competitive and helps us serve our customers better.”

“ We have been delighted with the installation and operation of the end of line solutions delivered by Brillopak. The design ensures that our lines do not suffer minor stops typically attributable to poor end of line solutions.”