A factory upgrade has enabled a US food packaging and distribution centre to be in the ‘best position possible’ as future trends develop, claim the company.
Ryder System has expanded its facility to 342,000 square-foot to include a packaging line with seven-station blending capability and high-speed robotic palletizing and automatic and semi-automatic cartoning.
The expansion, completed at the end of last year, features a 15,000-square-foot, temperature-controlled section equipped to package refrigerated and frozen foods, vegetables, fruits, and meats.
Targeting the customer
Barry McNulty, Director Business Development, Ryder Supply Chain Solutions, told FoodProductionDaily.com the company have tried to ensure their capabilities match customer needs now and in the future.
“We don’t know what innovations may be coming but we want to be in the best position possible to fulfill these needs as they develop.
“For example, we have talked to a fresh fruit producer that is in the process of developing packaging that could offer shelf life as long as 30 days.
“These are the type of projects we want to be involved in and if possible work with these companies at the ground level to get their project started.”
The firm said expansion will enable more lines to meet increased volume requirements and provide packaging for a greater variety of products, packaging sizes, and blends.
Substantial packaging change
McNulty said there has been a substantial change in packaging styles over the last few years.
“There has been a dramatic transition from bunker style frozen food cases to upright display cases.
“The traditional poly packaging that worked well in the bunker displays, does not show nearly as well in the new cases.
“As a result, we have seen more demand for gusseted and doyen bags that offer a much better upright presentation to the consumer,” he said.
“We have also seen more interest in re-sealable bags in smaller sizes than we have experienced in the past.”
The facility includes vertical form-fill seal, blending and mixing; individual quick freeze (IQF); vegetable processing, including cleaning, cutting, inspection, and sorting; and robotic palletizing.
McNulty added the changing market had increased product offerings.
“Our new line has the capability to produce some combination of steamer, gusseted, re-sealable, as well as doyen bags.
“We can accurately blend or meter substantially different items such as proteins, sauce chips, and vegetables,” he said.
“There are a lot of potential customers and our hope is that our newly added capacity will meet the requirements of a much broader spectrum of suppliers.
“If it is in a grocery store and in a bag there is a good chance we can package it.”