Grange Growing Solutions
Grange Growing Solutions has simple coding requirements, but outputting millions of bags a year in just a couple of its lines means the coder needs to be spot on.
Chief Operations Officer Simon Grange says, “Our staff are very good at what they do; fiddling around with complicated coding equipment doesn’t need to be one of their tasks. So we need a coder that’s user-friendly, but it also needs to be robust, because our potting mix is a dusty environment.”
With their “big, cumbersome” coder causing issues, Simon says they looked around for an alternative supplier.
“It was starting to cost a bit of money – nothing lasts forever – but we’d had a few issues with that and the service levels, so we always knew we weren’t going to go that way again. We looked at a few printers, and with similar prices, it came down to which one we thought would do the job better, so we chose the Linx from Matthews.”
Simon says Grange Growing Solutions uses the coder on its bag line.
“We do very simple printing: a batch number and a date for traceability goes on anything that runs through our bag-packaging machines. This includes our Grange Garden Health home-garden bags and then we contract pack for another company, doing another dozen products for them. Across all those products we do seven different bag sizes – 15 litres, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 – all on the same line.
“The bags all come in rolls and are formed at the start of the machine. They are coded with the batch and date, get filled and sealed then put on a palletiser and go through a stretch hooder, making each pallet fully waterproof and weatherproof.
“Because we have so many different products and sizes within those, we try to run only one, maybe two, products a day, otherwise it’s not economical on the machine because you do lose bags in the initial setup, just realigning with knives and seals under the filling shoots. In spring, we can run the same product for two to three days, and on the biggest day we can send out 400 pallets.”
Simon says over the past 10 years, output numbers have grown.
“Last year we processed millions of bags, just on the home-garden bag line. The margins are very, very small though, so you’ve got to do a lot. That’s why we really need reliable equipment that keeps our production running smoothly.”