Founded in 1887, Lakeside Foods is a leading international private label food processor. Best known for their vegetables, both canned and frozen, they also produce shelf-stable meals, canned meats and other food items. Headquartered in Manitowoc, Wis., Lakeside Foods has grown to include 15 plants and eight distribution centers throughout the U.S. Midwest.
Their success can be traced to an unwavering commitment to quality and their ability to quickly react to their private label customer’s needs. It’s no surprise then, that when their customers began requesting microwavable stand-up doy pouches for frozen vegetables, they quickly responded by installing two new packaging lines at their Manitowoc distribution center.
The Manitowoc distribution center serves as the primary frozen vegetable packaging facility for the company. Employing close to 200 full-time employees, the plant packages everything from frozen vegetable blends to straight vegetables, and even vegetables with cheese and other sauces. When the demand came for the plant to package its broad range of individually quick frozen vegetables in a stand-up doy pouch, the plant general manager, Mark Dreidric, knew he would need new equipment, as none of their existing vertical form-fill-seal machines could produce the modified doy package customers were looking for.
The Lakeside team reviewed offerings from multiple vendors and decided to purchase two Bosch SVE 3600 WR continuous motion VFFS baggers integrated with 16-head Yamato scales.
“Others in the industry recommended the Bosch baggers, and they had the most experience with this bag style in the U.S., so we choose to go with Bosch,” says Dreidric. “ Also important in Lakeside’s decision was the fact that the Bosch baggers were made in the U.S., at Bosch’s facility in New Richmond, Wis., so they could count on local, knowledgeable support.”
Installed in September 2010, Lakeside uses the Bosch SVE 3600 WR baggers to package their many types of IQF vegetables in pillow, gusseted and now, the new doy packs.
“The machine has a lot of capabilities and can do different kinds of bags that we aren’t necessarily doing now, including flat bottom bags,” Dreidric says.
“Bag style flexibility was important to Lakeside Foods,” adds Jerry Kasmiskie, sales representative for Bosch at Technical Packaging Machinery. “They are able to utilize the machines over their entire product line, from standard pillow bags to the new doy bags, while providing them the flexibility to offer flat bottom bags should customers request that pack style in the future.”
Of course with all the combinations between product and bag styles, changeover times are critical to the facility’s efficiency.
“We do a lot of changeovers here,” Dreidric says. “Changeovers are easy with the Bosch machines, and most are tool-less.”
Between each changeover, the machines are sanitized to prepare them for the next run. The open-frame construction of the Bosch baggers makes them easy to clean, and Lakeside’s sanitation program takes only a few minutes on the Bosch baggers.
The two new packaging lines at the Manitowoc distribution center have been successful for Lakeside Foods and have operated without problem since their installation.
“In fact, the machines are simple enough to operate that we were able to successfully set them up to run doy bags for the first time without help from Bosch,” adds Dreidric. “Additionally, the Bosch machines use many off-the-shelf components that are commercially available, so we have been able to easily and inexpensively stock spare parts.”
For more information on Lakeside Foods, go to www.lakesidefoods.com.