Real world solutions
September 15, 2009
Love reality TV? We may never see a series about life inside a food processing company. Even so, there is a fast-growing refrigerated dips company, Fresherized Foods Inc., that deserves the spotlight.
From its entrepreneurial start, this Fort Worth, Texas, company has grown produce a full line of wholesale and retail Wholly Guacamole brand products – including guacamole, salsa, and avocado – for national distribution in more than 14,000 grocery stores.
Behind the scenes, Fresherized Foods praises one of its suppliers’ real-world processing solutions. That supplier is food equipment manufacturer Hinds-Bock Corp., Bothell, Wash.
“Hinds-Bock takes a different approach to filling and depositing solutions,” says Jeff Morris Fresherized Foods’ vice president of operations. “They focus on what is most important to us as a food company – and that is the accurate, repeatable presentation of our product.
“They also consider the fact that we as food manufacturers need to work with this equipment every day. Rather than sell a machine that is off of the shelf and ‘might’ accomplish our needs, they design a tailored system,” he says.
Even after just one year, Morris says he appreciates how Hinds-Bock equipment helps Fresherized Foods improve throughput, protect product quality and reduce waste to improve overall throughput.
Specifically, Fresherized Foods uses Hinds-Bock’s 8P-08 Eight Piston diving and shifting filling machine, which operates over a horizontal vacuum former for one of the company’s top-selling product lines.
The machine’s programmable servo actuator shifts the entire filling operation along the direction of travel. Once in position, Morris says the vertical positive shut-off plug spouts dive into the bottom of the package for bottom-up filling. This feature spreads the product laterally and greatly reduces the potential for “mounding.”
After completing the cycle, the machine then shifts and fills a second section of the film index. After completing the second filling cycle, the machine signal the horizontal vacuum former that the process is “done.”
It’s here that Morris adds a small but significant point:
“An additional benefit to working with Hinds-Bock is their familiarity with other large OEM companies,” says Morris. “Their experience and project history really shows in the fit and finish of their equipment when working in conjunction with our vacuum formers, tray sealers, and tray denesting equipment.”
Details that deliver
Morris shares a few more important details – the backstory, if you will – about working with Hinds-Bock.
“Our initial project with them was based on efficiency gains,” he notes. “As with mass production of any product the return on investment is what fuels profits and justifies an equipment purchase. Hinds-Bock typically advertises +/- 2 percent accuracy on a general filling project. However, for our ROI figures to properly justify the project, we needed +/- 1 percent or better.
“After conducting some thorough testing, Hinds-Bock guaranteed +/- 1 percent. Since the machine was installed and production began, our actual numbers have been running at a fill consistency of less than .5 or one half of one percent. Extrapolate that waste reduction over 12 cycles per minute with 12 pieces per cycle run on two 10-hour shifts and you have quite a savings.”
Morris says the Hinds-Bock unit also features a wiping blade agitation system for reducing coring of the viscous products. He notes that system “eliminates skinning” of the product in the hopper by keeping it in constant slow circulation or rotation.
“It does this without degradation to the products we run, it is truly a gentle agitation system,” he says.
Perhaps most importantly, Hinds-Bock engineers almost serve as an extension of Fresherized Foods.
“We also employ a 7P-04 Seven Piston machine that Hinds-Bock retrofitted and completely re-configured,” says Morris. “This helps us with a new product line we recently brought to market.
“The machine was in our warehouse and Hinds-Bock suggested to retrofit the machine as it was already an asset. This forward thinking allowed us to save time on their production lead time versus a new machine, and also give us a ‘new’ piece of equipment at a lower price point.”
– Hinds-Bock Corp.
(877) 292-5715 / www.hinds-bock.com