RowPAKer reduces labour costs for Soft Fruit Grower Edward Vinson

by | Apr 19, 2024 | Case Studies


Edward Vinson is a well-established expanding grower in the South East of England with their farms producing strawberries, raspberries, and blackcurrants. Their products are packed in their own facility, with another under construction to handle their continuing growth. On average, they pack around 14 million punnets a year.

The company sought to automate its end of line packing processes to increase efficiency and lower costs. They knew of Brillopak by recommendation from others in the industry and so purchased the RowPAKer Series II P140-BR2. This was installed in December 2023.

If someone asked me, I would definitely suggest buying a Brillopak case packer because it’s such a simple and efficient machine. Not only is it simple, but it is very small. Orhan Rahmi, Packhouse Manager for Edward Vinson

The Story of Edward Vinson

Edward Vinson is a large company with extensive knowledge in the soft fruit market, having been growing fruit for over 150 years. They are unique within the UK for focusing on premium varieties, plants, and berries. Their activities are run in 3 divisions: fruit production, plant breeding, and propagation.

The main challenges the company faced when packing products were the labour costs and recruiting and retaining staff.

Orhan Rahmi, Packhouse Manager, says having heard positive reports about Brillopak over the last couple of years and seeing a Brillopak machine in action at another site led him to choose Brillopak as a partner.

I had heard a lot about your machines and feedback was always positive in terms of efficiency as well as price so, if you combine both, it made sense to the business. Orhan Rahmi, Packhouse Manager for Edward Vinson

The Challenge

Prior to installation, the labour costs associated with packing lines were extremely high, with some lines requiring 4 or 5 people to pack product into cases and crates. There were also concerns around automation such as the space required for the machine and potential disruption to production during installation.

The Solution

Rick Cook, Managing Director at Edward Vinson, knew that automating production lines would mean a considerable reduction in costs for the company. He ultimately chose to partner with Brillopak after considering a number of machines. One of the biggest factors in this decision was the size of our machine (without sacrificing its quality), along with its capability of handling multiple products in a shift.

Put simply, Brillopak have, to date, delivered on their promises, so I am happy. 

The Result

Orhan reported his surprise at just how easy the machine was to use as soon as it was installed;

it’s a simple operation actually, all you need to do is select the recipe from the screen and the machine will do the rest automatically… I didn’t expect it to be that easy.

The fact that the machine was running live at full speed the day after installation is a testament to this. Brillopak machines are designed not only for a quick and efficient installation but also to be intuitive to use, making the transition simple for operators and resulting in minimal disruption to packing lines.

Time lost to changeover together with tooling changes were key reasons for their reluctance to automate packing.

Orhan recalls when first we started talking [inside the business] about investing in case packing, I said ‘one more machine, with lots of changeovers, means more problems for us in production’. I was worried we would lose 10-15 minutes every changeover with tooling changes and that this would be another machine, where we would lose a lot of time, but, actually, with the Brillopak machine, this was not the case at all.

The innovative design of Brillopak’s robot heads and end effectors means that their machine can adapt easily and quickly to pick and place a variety of packaging during a shift without any tooling changeover.

Edward Vinson opted to use the remote support provided by Brillopak and the staff have found this invaluable. Unlike with other machines that require an engineer to visit, often 24 hours later, Orhan is able to call a Brillopak engineer who can then access the machine remotely and, on most occasions, resolve the error promptly.

They have been polite, responsive, and very professional. I cannot complain. They’ve been really good and they still continue doing the right things whenever we contact them or message them.

The Bottom Line

The biggest benefit is the reduction in labour cost on the packing lines. That, and the way the machine is so consistent in packing our products

It worked immediately for us and we have seen the benefit of the machine through the reduction in labour cost. There has been virtually no disruption to the business during the install and learning period

If Edward Vinson’s challenges resonate with you, contact us for a free trial of your product today.