With the rapid introduction of plastic packaging for individual produce items has come a problem, how to get a “best before date” onto slippery plastic sleeves or bags, which are attached to a “wicket”, and no, I don’t have any idea where that name came from.

Like most, if not all primary producers in this position we started with hand activated date coding guns, commonly and mistakenly called pricing guns. This proved to be a very tedious job with orphaned labels all over the area where the job was done and many bags with no stickers due to lack of interest from staff. We made the decision to approach professional machinery makers, who told us the bags were “too slippery” and “too hard to pick up” so we thought we would have a go at the job ourselves.

We knew the control side would be easy for us, and so it proved. Overcoming the other problems were not so easy and it has taken quite some time to get where we are today, with a machine that will do up to 500 sleeves before it needs reloading.

It is that success that allows us to offer our experience for people in a similar position. Fancy lettuce growers, or growers with similar sized bags are now taken care of with a machine they can switch on, walk away and forget, knowing it will stamp the desired number and then stop and wait to be reloaded. If it runs out of bags because of a miscalculation in loading, it will stop with one bag to go.

If you would like us to have a no obligation look at your particular size bag, to see if we can help, we would be happy to do so. We would simply require a carton of your sleeves to be sent to us for evaluation and trialling. If we cannot help you, we will tell you so and all it has cost you is a few sleeves. If we can help, we may require a few more sleeves for further testing, but will be able to give you a pretty fair estimate of the cost involved in a machine to handle your item.

We have moved away from the welded steel frames we were using for prototypes and are now constructing in an aluminium extrusion system that has been developed in Europe especially for this kind of thing. This gives us the ability to be flexible in design from client to client, it is extremely strong and competitively priced.

The system is very quick to assemble, as once design parameters have been set everything comes precut and drilled. Time is also saved as there is no need to paint the finished product. Appearance over time is also improved as there is no paint to scratch or chip, meaning you will have a machine that looks as good as the day it arrived for many years (with minimal care).

We are now also using some Italian air cylinders, which are a little expensive, but again, give us more flexibilty than previously. It also allows the machine to be accessed more easily for loading and unloading.

It is the combination of all of the above that makes us confident we can offer you a solution, so feel free to give us a try!

If you feel we may have the answer to your problem, contact us via this website or leave a comment and we can start a dialouge.

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