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The biggest innovation the mushroom category has seen in 70 years

Punnets of mushrooms running on a Fuji Alpha 8 flow wrapping machine

We have cut 97 tonnes of PVC in the first year for a major UK supermarket, with additional Fuji lines to be installed to triple this figure going forward. Read on to find out how. 

During 2019, we were contacted by a leading UK mushroom grower to explore the options to remove all the PVC used on existing overwrap machines from one line within the packhouse. 

Mono layer PE film to be introduced on mushroom punnets

Discussions were focused on using a mono layer PE film on mushroom punnets, which would be return-to-store recycle, to comply with the supermarket’s 4R programme - Remove where we can, Reduce where we can’t, Reuse more and Recycle what’s left. 

From previous trials within the produce sector, we were confident in Fuji’s ability to control and seal low gauge PE film with ease. This is due to all Fuji wrappers being able to control film speed and temperature precisely, with the added benefit of using a unique Fuji centre seal section with patented Fuji Box Motion end sealing, resulting in perfect seals even at high speed. 

A number of meetings were held between us and the customer, to look at the most commercially viable option to move the project forward. 

Their existing line speeds were fast, but not Fuji fast

As Chris Gibson, Area Sales Manager at Paramount Packaging Systems, entered the customer’s packhouse, he saw line after line of PVC overwrap and label applicators running at a steady speed, but a speed that a Fuji flow wrap could far exceed with pre-printed mono film, whilst removing labels. 

We went away and conducted two months’ worth of internal trials to prove the concept, originally with four different variations of film composites and gauges. 

Reduced cost per pack and environmental impact

After the site visit, both parties agreed to a short depot trial, whereby we supplied a brand new Fuji Alpha 8 Box Motion flow wrapper.  

Considerable investment was made by us. But both the customer and we shared the same vision - that moving to pre-printed mono film would not only have excellent benefits for the environment, but also reduce their cost per pack. Labels would be removed, line speed would be higher using less material and pack appearance would be improved. Shelf life would also be extended. 

Lines up and running in one day

During the depot trial, integration was simple; within one day, the line was running with full communication protocols with upstream and downstream equipment. 

We tweaked the Fuji Alpha 8 a number of times during the depot trial, to ensure it was performing at its optimum. This was also done whilst 70 different film perforations and composites were running, to achieve the best pack presentation, sustainability, shelf life and cost.   

97 tonnes of PVC removed from supply chain

After 6 months of depot trial, the supermarket was impressed; final film choices were made and the customer purchased the machine outright and then added additional Fuji Alpha 8s to their packhouse and partners. The case for investment was compelling:  

  • There was improved quality through reduction of condensation in packs
  • The removal of PVC from the supply chain - 97 tonnes per year (1 line)
  • The introduction of pre-printed film has removed over 35m of labels (1 line)

The fastest punnet wrapping machine on the market

To date, we now have multiple machines installed and on order across the UK and Ireland for other mushroom growers and supermarkets, leading the way for a more environmental way to wrap mushroom punnets. 

By being the first flow wrapping manufacturer to launch a mushroom punnet flow wrapping system, using the pre-trial and depot trial work conducted, we now have a finished and proven machine; which customers can be confident will deliver the results they want and more.

Production speeds 45% faster, with the ability to increase by 87%

At the time of writing, the customer has confirmed they are achieving a line speed of 45% faster compared to their previous machine. Although, the Fuji Alpha 8 has the capacity to increase their speed by 87%.

This means the Fuji Alpha 8 hasn’t just matched the speed of incumbent PVC over wrappers, but has exceeded line speed, whilst improving efficiency.

We have the fastest punnet wrapping machine on the market; which delivers far superior plastic reduction compared to our competitors’ offering. Our packs are also the best looking in store.

Give us a call on 01252 815 252 to find out more.