Automation offers Morrisons speedy potato packing

The speed of processing potatoes packed in plastics at UK supermarket Morrisons’ Rushden depot has increased following the replacement of a manual turntable-style potato case loading system with two automated packing lines.

Brillopak, the UK-based manufacturer of flexible robotic packing and palletising systems, supplied two of its Brillopak PakStations to help increase packaging speeds and also make the job more manageable and ergonomic for Morrisons’ employees.

Once Morrisons realised that its turntable system was not equipped to manage the 66 million kilos of potato packs that are processed by the depot each year, the company began to look at supporting its potato packing with increased automation.

“During peak times we operate four packing lines in 12 hour shifts,” explained Morrisons’ site manager Andy Day. “Like-for-like we still employ the same volume of people on the manual lines. Only now, we tend to use a smaller pool of people and have the option of rotating them between packing, crate separation, palletising and the robotic lines, which offers them greater job variety.”