PepsiCo Automatic Case Packers
PepsiCo Automatic Case Packers
“One of the main challenges was the tight time frame. Bluebird Foods had built up stock ahead of the shut down to avoid any supply issues, however there was no leeway to go beyond these agreed days. So careful schedule planning was essential with multiple trades and overlapping tasks”
The goal was to move the no longer fit-for-purpose existing packers to the Tortilla Chip line. Then install new, faster automatic case packing systems on the Potato Chip Line. TEG Projects worked with subcontractors to formulate a design and process for the relocation project.
Bluebird Foods is the largest manufacturer of chips and snacks in New Zealand, making a range of recognisable products including Bluebird, Delissio, and Copper Kettle Potato Chips, Doritos and Cheetos Corn Chips, and Twisties, Burger Rings, Sunbites extruded snacks. Bluebird Foods is a New Zealand based subsidiary of global brand PepsiCo.
The existing automatic case packers were not fit for purpose for the potato chip line due to speed and reliability limitations. Therefore the goal was to move these existing packers to the Tortilla Chip line, which did not require packing to be undertaken at such a high speed. Then, install new, faster automatic case packing systems on the Potato Chip Line.
Why TEG Projects
TEG Projects already had a site presence, with an understanding of the site layout, and process. We also had a good working relationship with subcontractors, and had previously formulated CAPEX for other Pepsico brands and projects, so understood their systems and expectations. Pepsico also values relationships with preferred suppliers with a view to creating standard solutions and systems throughout all of their sites globally, and so TEG Projects was an obvious partner on this project.
TEG Projects worked with subcontractors to formulate a design and process for relocating the existing automatic case packers to the Tortilla Chip Line, and to install a new automatic case packing system onto the Potato Chip Line.
In preparation for work to begin, old packaging machines had to be removed, as well as an in-feed and discharge conveyor system. Steel supports for the 3 new high level spiral conveyor systems needed to be constructed. The old case packers were then relocated onto the Tortilla Chip Line, and the new case packer system was installed for the Potato Chip Line.
As the new automatic case packers were to be overseen by an overseas supplier and the machinery was set up with internet connectivity, so they could be accessed remotely by Tronrud’s engineers.
One of the main challenges was the tight time frame. The potato chip line needed to be shut for 12 days. Bluebird Foods had built up stock ahead of the shut down to avoid any supply issues, however there was no leeway to go beyond these agreed days. So careful planning, especially in regards to scheduling, was essential with multiple trades and overlapping tasks.
The factory layout and available space was a challenge in terms of relocating existing case packers and designing an appropriate layout for the new system for optimal workflows.
Also a critical design element in the new factory layout was that the heavy discharge conveyors would need to sit above operators’ heads. It was crucial that supports for these were fit for purpose, a local engineering company was commissioned to design steel supports, manufacture and install them.
Another element that impacted the way we communicated (and when we communicated) was working with an offshore supplier. This brought in new challenges such as (slight) language barriers, and the need to navigate time zones.
The benefits from the project included a measurable increase in the Potato Chip Line productivity and case packing quality and a productivity gain for the TC line through the use of automatic case packers.
The Potato Chip Line machine reliability also increased, with greater workflow for operators as the machines were easier to work on, in and around. The machines themselves were much easier for operations to manage for two reasons; any ‘on floor’ issues could be addressed with easier access, and any coding issues could be addressed with remote access by the overseas based technicians.