Utility Menu

Powder/Bulk Solids

The Source for Dry Processing and Bulk Handling Technology

Pellet Manufacturer Switches to Automated Packaging

October 27, 2008
FFS-200 form-fill-seal bagger with high-speed gravity net-weigh scale

Barefoot Pellet Company is a manufacturer of quality wood pellets located in Troy, Pennsylvania. The company started operating in the spring of 2006 and its first line involved single-stage packing. At the end of 2007, production was expanded when a second pellet mill was purchased. With production of approximately 200 tn/day, hand stacking was becoming difficult and automation was required. Moreover, the company realized that by automating its operation it would reduce its employees’ repetitive tasks as well as save money because using film rolls would be cheaper than manual bagging.

High-quality finished pellets stack ready to ship

Barefoot representatives first spoke with Kent Williamson from Probec, a local sales representative for Premier Tech Systems (PTS) in Pennsylvania. They visited two plants, one of which was a salt plant equipped with an automated packaging line from PTS. They then went through an interview process where they met a few equipment manufacturers in order to find a packaging equipment supplier. The company was looking for a reliable, well-established supplier who used common parts and quoted decent prices. Premier Tech was that supplier, offering quality, heavy-duty equipment.

Barefoot purchased an E55GHS high-speed gravity net-weigh scale, an FFS-200 form-fill-seal bagger, and an AR-200 robotic palletizing cell. The most challenging aspect of the project was the tight layout configuration. PTS needed to make the complete packaging line fit in a limited space. In fact, it was the tightest configuration possible. The installation of the line took place in mid-April 2008. The challenge—changing from manual to automated bagging—was to make sure that both sides would be ready for installation at the same time. Overall, the transition went smoothly, even though there was added pressure to install the equipment quickly because the company had another installation taking place at the same time.

The equipment has been running for a few months and is a work in progress. Barefoot met the goals the company had set when it decided to automate its packaging line: to ease labor and create a better work environment. The pellets look great and are consistent. In addition, the service has been excellent and Barefoot has successfully purchased parts from PTS online at www.pm-5.com.

Premier Tech Systems, Quebec, Canada, is a leading manufacturer of packaging equipment. Integrated systems include bulk product infeed and storage, weighing, bag filling, palletizing, and load-stabilization equipment. For more information call 418-868-8324 or visit www.premiertechsystems.com.