Proseal tray sealer achieves top speeds and professional finish for MT Mitchell

Scottish soft-fruit grower and packer Murray T Mitchell, which two years ago won the Soft-Fruit Grower of the Year Award (2009), has reduced its packing costs, increased its production speed and improved its environmental performance after installing the GT3 tray sealer from heat-sealing specialist Proseal.

MT Mitchell is the first company to specify the twin lane version of the GT3, which offers high speeds thanks to its twin-lane feed control that enables products to be fed independently down each lane.

The company is achieving top speeds of 180 trays per minute and the growers' move to top sealing from clip-on lids has reduced its packaging weight by 30 per cent. Such improvements have delivered valuable savings that enhance the pack's environmental profile and improve its appearance on shelf.

The installation is part of a major expansion programme at MT Mitchell that also includes investment in a new packhouse and coldstore.

Ross Mitchell, who runs the 700-acre Castleton Farm, near Laurencekirk with his father Murray, said: "Our requirement was for 150 packs per minute and we are consistently achieving 180. We are delighted with what the GT3 has delivered. Not only are we achieving valuable savings but heat sealing also improves the look of the pack and gives a more professionally-produced, aesthetically-pleasing product for consumers."

The company, which packs a range of soft fruits including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, supplies major retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

The Proseal GT3 has been specifically designed for fast production lines - such as those used for fresh fruit - and incorporates a variety of innovative features designed to maximise throughput and minimise downtime, including a pioneering three-dimensional tray-positioning system.

The machine's unique three-axis servo drive tray-transfer system helps to increase tray throughput by automatically adjusting for different tray heights. This eliminates the need for tray height-specific change-parts and means that all height settings can be pre-set.

Another pioneering standard feature is Proseal's new internet-based secure connection system, which is able to provide real-time data and error condition support.

The system enables Proseal engineers to access their customers' machines remotely to provide diagnostic support and implement software modifications.

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