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Helping to reduce giveaway and achieve greater efficiency in the soft fruit sector

Updated: Aug 2, 2021

After investment in a new pack house Tasker Partnership, Harwill Farm, Retford were looking for the latest packing equipment and turned to Packaging Automation for help.

The Tasker family have been farming soft fruit in Wheatley since 1995, a member of Asplins Producer Organisation, they supply premium strawberries and raspberries to BerryWorld UK

The customer was looking for a solution for weighing hardware for the pack in field fruit, conveyor and tray-sealing machine to achieve a constant 120 packs/min. They also wanted bespoke operator tables designed for the way they are used to working with an integrated load cell and weigh pan.

Another key requirement was the software on the weighing equipment, which needed to track operators rather than the scale on performance but also display the packing rates live in the factory. They wanted to do this with minimal staff around 6 people. However, the main challenge on the fruit tray sealer was the printed film, which already existed; the customer needed a tool which would accommodate an existing film for a different machine and tool set. The challenge was set and the solution was clear : the award winning MiWeigh technology for the weighing and tracking of the packers and the flagship Revolution.

The customer decided to look at 8 scales integrated into the line with a factory visual in the pack house with a large performance screen, which shows all the staff logged into the line and how they are performing against pre-set KP targets. All of the MiWeigh hardware was supplied inclusive of the scales and a filling conveyor to feed the tray sealer which was designed to accommodate the customer tray range in both wide and narrow edge leading format down the line with quick adjustable guides.

Packaging Automation’s flagship machine, the Revolution high speed fully automatic tray sealer was the machine for this project based on the history, success and experience in the soft fruit sector.

The film cut dictated the number of tooling impressions that could be accommodated so it was crucial that we could feed at a higher rate to achieve the target speed but with gentle motion as the fruit is delicate. The Revolution was supplied with all the new features; examples included soft seal and auto tension to completely deskill the operating process and let the machine deliver maximum results.

The customer was thrilled with the results and has seen a significant increase in efficiency using the MiWeigh scale system, reducing the labour on the line by 1 operator to achieve the same output giving them an increase in efficiency of 15-20% compared to the existing system they used.

Giveaway has been controlled to 0.3% on the smaller packs and as low as 0.075% on heavier packs, this is due to the accuracy and settling time of the scales and innovative auto adjusting set point.

The Revolution achieves a top speed of 120 packs per minute but the end of line staff struggle to keep up with the machine at peak speed. The line runs consistently at around 100-120 packs per minute.

The customer commented “it is the gentlest machine at high speed I have seen especially for raspberries. After a number of conversations and meetings we wanted to give PA the opportunity to propose something on this line. The sales team were open, honest, and wanted to work with us to get the system where we needed it to be for our internal processes. The tray sealer has done what was expected and is simple and efficient to operate.

We are very pleased with the speed, accuracy and simplicity of the MiWeigh Scale System. It is easy to set up and adjust. The approach to the challenges presented by different Berry and Punnet Sizes through the season have been easy to address.

The service and support team are excellent and always looking to improve and support us whenever we need them.”

To find out how you can reduce giveaway and achieve greater efficiency in your business, contact or visit


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