Leading soft fruit packer MT Mitchell has reduced pack costs, attained high production speeds and improved its environmental performance after installing the new GT3 top-of-the-range tray sealer from heat sealing specialist Proseal.

MT Mitchell is the first company to specify the twin lane version of the GT3, which offers the highest speeds thanks to its twin lane feed control that enables products to be fed independently down each lane. Top speeds being achieved by the company are in excess of 180 trays per minute.

The installation is part of a major expansion programme at MT Mitchell that also includes investment in a new packhouse and coldstore. The company, which packs a range of soft fruits including strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, supplies major retailers including Marks & Spencer and Tesco and switched to heat sealing to meet customer demands to reduce packaging.

MT Mitchell says the move to top sealing from clip-on lids reduces packaging weight by 30%, delivering valuable savings that enhance the pack’s environmental profile, while at the same time improving its overall appearance on shelf.

The Proseal GT3 has been specifically designed for fast production lines such as 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 programmed through the user friendly touch screen.

Another pioneering standard feature is Proseal’s new Internet based secure gateway connection system that is able to provide real time data and error condition support. The system enables Proseal engineers to remotely access the PLC and HMI (touch screen) of each customer’s machine from anywhere in the world, to provide diagnostic support and implement software modifications.

MT Mitchell chose Proseal after being impressed with the company’s capabilities during a site visit and also the fact that it offers a team of engineers able to respond quickly if required.

Ross Mitchell of MT Mitchell explained, “As soft fruit is a perishable product it is vital we dispatch orders on time every day and we knew we could call on quick technical support from Proseal if required, although to date we have been very impressed with the GT3’s speed and reliability. 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, with its smooth lines, heat sealing also improves the look of the pack, offering a more professionally-produced, aesthetically-pleasing product for consumers.”