SPC Ardmona

SPC Ardmona is Australia’s largest producer of packed fruit and vegetables. The company was formed in 2002, when the historic Shepparton Preserving Company (SPC, which was established in 1917) and Ardmona Cannery (begun in 1921) joined forces.

In 2004, SPC Ardmona bought Henry Jones IXL (established 1859), which operated at Kyabram (in northern Victoria). This expanded the group’s brands to include IXL, Taylor’s, Weight Watchers, Ardmona, SPC and Goulburn Valley.

In 2005, SPC Ardmona was bought by Coca-Cola Amatil, opening further markets.

Innovation has always been strong in the founding companies: Ardmona was the first processor to pack fruit in natural juice (soon followed by other major manufacturers globally) and the first to pack fruit in long-life plastic tubs; SPC developed a fruit imaging and sorting system.

The eight-hectare Kyabram site produces in excess of 10,000 tonnes of IXL and other-branded jams and sauces, plus Taylor’s simmer sauces and marinades.

Production-facility upgrades, including robotic stackers, over the past few years have resulted in automated lines. When upgrading its lines, the company depended on Matthews’ technology and integration skills for a solution that relies heavily on multiple GS1 standards.

SPC ARDMONA

APPLICATION:OPPOSITE-SIDE TUN BARCODE SHIPPER LABELS & SSCC PALLET LABELS

BACKGROUND

SPC Ardmona is Australia’s largest producer of packed fruit and vegetables. The company was formed in 2002, when the historic Shepparton Preserving Company (SPC, which was established in 1917) and Ardmona Cannery (begun in 1921) joined forces. In 2004, SPC Ardmona bought Henry Jones IXL (established 1859), expanding the group’s brands to include IXL, Taylor’s, Weight Watchers, Ardmona, SPC and Goulburn Valley. In 2005, SPC Ardmona was bought by Coca-Cola Amatil.

The company has a strong history of innovation: Ardmona was the first processor to pack fruit in natural juice (soon followed by other major manufacturers globally) and the first to pack fruit in long-life plastic tubs; SPC developed a fruit imaging and sorting system.

The 8ha Kyabram site produces in excess of 10,000 tonnes of jams, sauces, simmer sauces and marinades.

SITUATION

Production-facility upgrades, including robotic stackers, over the past few years have resulted in fully automated lines. However, the coding equipment wasn’t able to keep up speed wise, and was unreliable, causing too much downtime — to the point the Team Leader “spent so much time working on them, [he] almost became an expert”.

PROCESS NEEDS

For the past two decades, SPC Ardmona has barcoded on two sides of its shippers and pallets; to fit in with the production-facility upgrades, it needed coding equipment that could handle different-size items, was reliable, and could code on two sides. Line speeds vary according to what is being run, ranging up to

280 items per minute, so the coding equipment also needed to be able to match these speeds. GS1 Australia has been testing bar codes for SPC Ardmona since 1996. Bar codes for non-retail and logistics units had to continue to meet all GS1 specifications, as tested via its rigorous criteria.

BUSINESS NEEDS

Integration into SPC Ardmona’s ERP and WMS systems and other packaging machinery on the production lines was also important.

SOLUTION

SPC Ardmona’s Kyabram site had had no exposure to Matthews Australasia, but recommendations from the Shepparton and Mooroopna sites, plus a desire to standardise equipment across the three factories, were both factors in choosing the coding specialist.

Matthews recommended a label print-andapply- solution for the glass line, applying opposite-side GS1-compliant TUN (Trade Unit Number) barcode labelling to shippers on shrink-wrapped packs of jars. Ranging from 250g-800g, these are in configurations of six to 12 items in a shelf-ready pack. The labels have the brand, product name, size, number, gross weight and Julian code in two lines of humanreadable text, with the barcode underneath. Because most of the jams produced have their own individual unique jar, there are many varying shapes and sizes (short and squat, to tall and skinny), with 12 variations in total.

For opposite-side SSCC (Serial Shipping Container Code) pallet labels, Matthews recommended a different configuration of a Label print-and-apply-solution.

Matthews also linked the entire line with iDSnet

Enterprise version 3, integrating into SPC

Ardmona’s ERP and WMS systems and other packaging machinery on the production lines.

To use the system, operators simply scan a barcode to set up which product is being run, and iDSnet then downloads all the relevant information — from the primary product through to the SSCC pallet label, giving full traceability and no re-work.

The Kyabram site also relied Matthews’ integration skills, as well as its knowledge from being a GS1 Australia Strategic Alliance Partner.

OUTCOME

Upgrades to the two a label print-and-applysolutions and iDSnet integrating software from Matthews Australasia have lifted line production significantly.

Having retailer and GS1-compliant pallet labelling avoids any human intervention in automated retailer warehouses, thus avoids any retailer-imposed penalties. Not using the labellers as stand-alone units removes errors. Ongoing, rigorous bar code testing by GS1 has shown codes printed using the Matthews’ LPAs continue to meet all GS1’s specifications.

SPC Ardmona finds the Matthews’ equipment to be very reliable and capable of running at the high speeds it needs. Unlike the previous equipment, they have experienced no downtime or inefficiencies.

Workers have also found the equipment to be very user friendly and a lot easier to work with, particularly when replacing ribbon and labels, and in cleaning and maintenance.

SPC Ardmona is also pleased with the good relationship it has with both Matthews and the local technical service engineer. Questions are generally able to be answered via the service engineer or IT department on the phone.