The Duravant family of operating companies serve the food processing, packaging and material handling segments.
Feed Bagging Case Study: Kreamer Feed
Kreamer Feed, located in Kreamer, PA, started as a family business over 70 years ago. The company’s business goals are to produce quality products grown to the specific needs of its customers, while allowing them to maximize profits.
They have long understood the benefits of producing product in modern, efficient housing to give its customers the quality and quantity they need. Recently, Kreamer Feed has responded to increased calls for its agricultural products by turning to the latest in robotic technology.
“[Our] 1200BH Semi-Automated Bag Hanger and Robotic Palletizer went 100 percent online on February 24th, 2017,” said Andrew Wagner, Director of Operations. “We had talked about this for years, but it wasn’t until last October that it was approved.”
“The robot has not replaced any employees,” Wagner said, reassuringly. But is a tireless "worker." In fact, because of the increased output by the robot, we are able to service more customers and that’s kept our current staff as busy, or even busier than before,” he said.
The robot picks up the bags that have gone through the conveyor belt line automated system and then stacks the bags on skids.
Having the robot do the heavy lifting also means a reduction in operator fatigue, and possible back injuries caused by manually stacking 40 lb. bags. Before the robot, employees had to lift and load 50 bags onto a pallet.
"Now, the robot is loading 100 pallets per day," added Dalton Weaver, Shipping and Receiving Supervisor.
“We’re bagging in one day what it used to take 16 hours to bag,” he said. Meanwhile, no jobs were lost. Instead, duties were realigned:
- One operator now prepares bags for sewing and inspects product in the bag.
- One places tags on the bags and sews the bag shut.
- One operator removes the finished skids and places them in the warehouse.
“Production has increased 100 percent at the current operating speed,” Wagner said, “from six tons an hour to 12 tons an hour.” The robot is capable of stacking 20 tons an hour.
A version of this article was originally published in The Daily Item, March 18, 2017