Customer demand for faster, more-versatile bulk bagging has inspired Pacepacker Services to launch a new high-speed bagging line called FastPac. The company has chosen this year’s PPMA exhibition to unveil the first of the machines in the FastPac range – an upgraded sack placer that can help boost the number of bags packed per minute by up to 20%, offering a new top speed of 16-17 bpm. 

What’s more, the benefits of the newly enhanced FastPac sack placer don’t end there. It can also handle an unprecedented range of sacks, including those made from difficult-to-pick-up materials such as hessian and net. This follows a growth in demand for these bags, in particular from its European customers and UK exporters packing bags of produce, pulses, rice and coffee beans in bags weighing 25kg and over.

The added versatility and speed makes the FastPac range ideal for bulk solids handling, food packers and contract packers alike. Sack placers take flat bags from a stack and position them ready to be held in place for filling. Most conventional machines rely on suction cups to pick up the bags, but that rules out the use of very porous bag materials such as hessian and net. The newly enhanced sack placer has an option for a system of mechanical grippers so it can handle porous materials in addition to paper and plastics.

The FastPac range of sack placers also manoeuvre the sacks in a different way from most of the range, picking them up by the bottom and peeling them off the stack, rather than picking up the top of the bag. This ensures that bags which have a tendency to stick together can be handled more effectively.

With this in mind, Pacepacker Services is also upgrading other bagging steps to optimise the overall speed of FastPac lines. For instance, the company can already offer an upgraded Total Bag Control (TBC) system to match the faster speed of the enhanced sack placers.

TBCs receive the sacks from the sack placer, holding the top of the bag closed while feeding them into a belt feeder ready for sealing. Pacepacker TBCs use inverters to control the unit’s motors and match their speed precisely. Faster speeds and bigger throughputs make accurate weighing more essential than ever in order to reduce giveaway, so Pacepacker is also using the PPMA show to highlight its allegiance with Dutch weighing specialist PIM.   

The rewards associated with greater accuracy vary widely depending on the application. However, in one recent project, integrating a multi-head weigher from PIM into a new Pacepacker potato packing line helped the client reduce giveaway from around 0.75kg to just 2-3g per sack.

“Our new FastPac range opens up the possibility of automating many bulk bagging operations that have traditionally remained manual or required more expensive, non-standard sacks to enable the use of suction cups.” Explains Paul Wilkinson, Pacepacker’s Business Development Manager.  “The possibilities are interminable – from agricultural products that are netted, like seed potatoes, carrots and onions to those bagged in hessian such as rice and coffee. The PPMA Show provides the perfect platform to launch this new FastPac range.”

The overall speed of each FastPac line will depend on the other steps in the packing process and the handling characteristics of the products being packed.