High quality tray denester
”There is no doubt that electrical denesters are the way to go for us. INTRAY has provided us with greater flexibility, even and constant denesting as well as low maintenance costs.”
Rasmus Haage Sørensen, Project Manager, Norfersk A/S.
Norfersk A/S is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nortura SA, an agricultural cooperative owned by 19.000 farmers across Norway. Nortura have a wide portfolio of companies one of them being Norfersk. Each year Norfersk produce around 19 million kilograms of meat. With more than 140 employees and an annual turnover of about 180 million Euro, Norfersk is one of Norway’s biggest meat producers.
See a video of some of the QUPAQ installations at Norfersk.
The right partners for the right solution
The goal was to use rPET, inside cut on the sealing equipment, remove air from the dispensers, and at the same time, not go for a different type of stacking that would require transport of fewer trays per trip. So, the goal was to transfer low stacking from PP to Mapet II, with inside cut and minimize errors in dispensers. Sealpac was to supply sealing tools for our machines with inside cut.
Rasmus was looking for the right dispensing solution. “We got recommended a Danish manufacturer of electric dispensers called QUPAQ, which we wanted to investigate further. While Faerch was tasked with creating the same stacking as we had before, this time it had to be on Mapet II. I was first told that this had a stacking gap of about 4-5mm per tray. This was not relevant to us as we had become comfortable with a stacking gap of 1.5-2mm. In addition, we wanted all trays to be able to be used in the same dispensers, which meant the format we had should be usable everywhere in the factory, whether it was a 30mm high tray or a meatball tray.”
The way forward
The goal could only be achieved through a collaborative effort. Convinced that the dispensers and people from QUPAQ were good at what they did, Norfersk chose to enter into a partnership. The condition was that QUPAQ had to work together with Faerch to establish the rules for which boundaries had to be in place for it to work optimally in production.
This collaboration seemed like it would bear fruit for both Faerch and QUPAQ and ultimately Norfersk as the customer. “QUPAQ is undoubtedly at a high level and they were very solution oriented. Personally, I don't know all the details between Faerch and QUPAQ, but I would imagine both have learned a lot from each other.” Rasmus said satisfied.
The INTRAY Smart Tool denesting trays at Norfersk.
When the plan comes together
“During numerous online meetings, drawings, and constructive discussions, we all had a good feeling about what we were creating.” Rasmus said with confidence
The installation took place over two days to ensure a controlled transition in case anything didn't go as planned. Everything worked perfectly, and all the pre-work we had done was correct. The experience is that the trays and dispensers work well together and have almost no stops due to tray and dispenser issues. There are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, Faerch’s trays designed for the INTRAY Smart Tool fit perfectly. The significant difference between previous and current trays is that the folded edge is the same for all types of trays Norfersk use in this format. This allows for more freedom in choosing trays, minimizes errors, and reduces unnecessary equipment changes on the lines. This is particularly important on the heavy lines, which need to produce large series. The switch between smart tools on the type of trays is not present.
The second thing is that the dispenser is electric, resulting in consistent and constant dispensing compared to the air Norfersk used before. Air is not a constant factor for Norfersk and has caused many tray errors during dispensing. The fact that it is electric has significantly reduced the error rate.
An added bonus in all of this is that maintenance costs have become lower.
Line 1 has run over 10 million trays to date.
Line 2 has run over 6.5 million trays to date.
Below is an excerpt of tray errors daily, over a week on the minced meat lines.
|Number of trays||43038||40314||42031||40496||38196|
|Number of tray errors||13||27||13||32||27|
|Errors in percent||0,03%||0,07%||0,03%||0,08%||0,07%|
|Number of trays||42996||36215||40477||42549||31362|
|Number of tray errors||6||18||7||18||15|
|Errors in percent||0,01%||0,05%||0,02%||0,04%||0,05%|
Around 30.000.000 trays of minced meat getting produced at Norfersk each year.
Pay off in more than one way
Rasmus Haage Sørensen summarized what was the positive takeaways about this investment:
- Flexibility between trays, as all edges are the same. Trays in the same series can be used in the same smart tool.
- Consistency in trays, MAPET II versus PP trays. PET is more consistent, and the quality of the trays is better than PP. This is likely due to the shrinkage being less on PET, which has a positive effect on low stack when it varies less.
- The difference between air and electric dispensing is like night and day. There is no doubt that electric dispensers are the way to go for us.
- One of the biggest factors in this is the difference in welding ability between PP and MAPET II. Norfersk is Norwegian and therefore different from other companies in Europe, as the country is very remote, durability is everything. Especially when considering the debate on climate, etc. The "price" of short shelf life for meat is much greater than what the world must pay on the CO2 front by throwing away food.
- We do not use high oxygen packaging like Denmark does, which gives about 7 days of shelf life. Therefore, it is not as important for us to have an airtight package, as we use a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. This gives a shelf life of about 22 days, and now that the weld is tight and the tray is made of only one type of plastic (PET), our packages are finally airtight, and the possibility of extending the shelf life is present. With this setup, Norfersk reduces food waste for the communities but also reduces complaints about holes in the packages.
“Now the big question is whether the investment can pay off. The answer is simple, yes it can. The amount of money invested in this project is nothing compared to what we get in return. This project is a piece of a larger context, so it cannot be said that it is only trays, dispensers, or sealing tools that make the difference. But Norfersk would never be able to succeed if our basic elements do not work optimally."
"One thing cannot work without the other, the future is to buy a concept. Things must and should fit together. This can only be achieved by the supplier increasingly initiating collaboration with those who can best match their product.” Rasmus finishes.
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