The robotic palletising and conveyor system installed within a moveable frame by Pacepacker has not only given the Peterborough (UK) farmer exceptional packing flexibility, which is easily moved around its 13-mile-long site, but has improved pallet/product appearance at the family run firm.
Belmont Farms grows, grades, packs and palletises an annual crop of 1,000 tonnes of potatoes, of which 600 tonnes are bought by UK fish and chip shops in 25kg bags, and the surplus is sold to bulk buyers.
The introduction of stricter manual handling laws coupled with their ageing workforce were key drivers behind Belmont Farms’ decision to invest in automated palletising.
“Although 25kg bags are a permissible weight within the Manual Handling Legislation in the UK, realistically it’s very tiring for manual workers to stack high numbers of 25kg bags every day,” said Andrew Fletcher, who farms the potatoes. “Now, instead of the sacks being stacked by hand, the robot picks them and stacks them on the pallet. So instead of three men handling the bagging operation, we can get away with just two, which frees one person up to work elsewhere on the farm.”
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