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How Webster Griffin Helped Reliance Automate Their Throughput & Increase Productivity With Big Bag Filling Lines

2.-How-Webster-Griffin-Helped-Reliance-Automate-Their-Throughput-&-Increase-Productivity-With-Big-Bag-Filling-Lines

Who Is Reliance & What Are They Famous For?

Reliance is an Indian conglomerate with a presence in the petroleum refining industry. They operate the world’s largest petroleum refinery, converting crude oil into fuel and petrochemicals.

They convert these petrochemicals into polymers with different melt flows that are converted into Linear Low-density Polyethylene (LLDPE) and Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) resins.

These resins are used to make film and packaging products as well as in rotational moulding and injection-moulded and extrusion coating and moulding applications.

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What Solution Did Reliance Require At Their Jamnagar Petroleum Refinery?

Reliance approached Webster Griffin for help packing their LDPE and LLDPE resin pellets into Big Bags. Their desired throughput was 45 bags an hour, with each bag weighing up to 1100 kgs. Due to the business’s output, they needed three packing lines integrated into one system.

It needed to be ATEX compliant in line with EU safety directives and able to integrate into the refinery’s control systems. It also had to connect to different product feed points and connect at height to several product distribution silos — without any product cross contamination taking place. The entire system also had to be automated with minimal labour involved.

For quality control purposes, Reliance put in place a rigorous quality assurance system during the machine’s installation. This would involve two third party consultants monitoring the process.

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What Solution Did Webster Griffin Suggest & Install?

Webster Griffin customised several IBC-PF4 Big Bag Filling machines to suit Reliance’s requirements. Two storey self-supporting platforms offered access to the system’s dosing valves and feed system and a rail connected it to the silos.

The system allowed the operator to access the buffer hoppers and dosing valves to control the flow of product from the silos. Extraction units prevented dust circulating during filling. Two weighing platforms ensured accurate bag weighing, with a second weighing platform used to fill any underweight bags. A vibrating table would then compact the product in each bag.

The system logged and transmitted all data, presenting bag and weight data to the client for analysis and identification. The system featured a platform, allowing operators to apply bag labels and tie the bags. It also gave them access to an online ticket printing system to apply any tickets. Finally, the system had inline metal detection fitted to the system feeds, again ensuring the resin pellets are safe,  uncontaminated and ready for distribution.

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Did The Installation Deliver Any Tangible Benefits For Reliance?

After installing the system and training operators at the refinery to operate it, Reliance was able to achieve their desired throughput and throughput speed. Improved weighing accuracy helped prevent product wastage, also preventing accidental underfilling which could displease customers.

As requested the system was highly automated and requiring only the presence of two machine operators and a forklift operator. It was also able to operate 24 hours a day for added productivity.

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About Big Bag Filling

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Factors To Consider When Calculating Your Robot Palletiser’s ROI?

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Picture This Scenario...

Imagine if you could hire a skilled labourer for only 50p an hour, who’d be able to work 24/7 without taking a break or needing assistance. If this sounds appealing to you, you should consider investing in a robot palletiser.

When investing in a robot palletiser, its cost on paper isn’t the only important figure you’ll deal with. It's also important that it will give you a positive Return On Investment (ROI). This should be calculated at a period of two years or longer to determine if it will offer the long term benefits needed to help your business survive in the present and grow in the future. Here’s what costs and benefits you’ll need to consider.

Consider How Many Shifts The Palletiser Will Operate Daily?

Most palletisers can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week —  though their speed might change depending on the output of the bagging machines and conveyors that are feeding it.

You’ll need to account for any planned downtime needed or days it might not operate at all (like major public holidays). Your palletiser supplier can tell you what kind of planned downtime you can expect during operation.

 

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Consider Your current Labour Costs & Benefits

Labour costs will include what you pay the workers on your packaging line over a certain period. You’ll also need to account for hidden costs and benefits like insurance, worker’s compensation, paid time off and time lost to routine breaks. You’ll need to compare this to your new setup. How many employees will need to operate or supervise the palletiser and how many hours of training will they need? Remember that you'll benefit by making your workplace safer, reducing or eliminating workplace injuries.

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Consider The Palletiser’s Maintenance & Parts Replacement Costs 

Maintenance and replacement costs grow in volume and frequency as the robot palletiser ages. In its first few years of operation it will only need minor maintenance. As time goes by you'll need to replace worn parts.

You can expect to pay for preventative maintenance to keep its battery functional and parts lubricated. In a decade’s time you’ll need to pay at least half of what it initially cost to refurbish it for further operation.

Consider Any Hidden System Costs 

Not all the benefits of switching over to a robot palletiser will be obvious. Your planning and scheduling can become more efficient due to automation and more flexible if the palletiser is programmable. You can also look forward to reduced product and packaging waste and consistently high quality outputs. You might find that in the future your palletiser can perform added functions.

The Bottom Line

Consider The Palletiser’s Installation & Operation Costs

To get your robot palletiser up and running you might need to dispose of your previous machine and prepare the site. Once the replacement is commissioned and installed you'll need to integrate and program it.

You'll also need to add custom fixtures, safety guards or extra tools and conveyors. You'll enjoy saving floor space, which might allow you to downgrade to a more affordable workspace. Palletising systems often merge many packaging areas and functions into one cell. This could save you time if it performs several tasks at once in the cell.

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Multiple formulas exist to help you calculate the exact ROI your machine will offer you in financial figures. This will depend on many factors, such as how much work it will be performing and if you have any throughput goals. However to begin with you need to work out the amount of shifts per day, week and year the palletiser will perform. If you're still unsure what you need to consider or what a robot palletiser can offer you, Webster Griffin can help you. Contact us today to get paired with a system that will give you the ROI you require.

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Robot Palletisers

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Why You Need To Automate Your Fish Feed Packaging system

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Fish Feed Industry Overview

The fish feed industry is an essential part of humanity's food supply chain and has been for centuries. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to produce the volumes of salmon, tilapia, shrimp and shellfish required to meet the planet’s demands. The global aquafeed market supports economies around the globe by helping them produce export grade fish. As wild marine fishing resources become more finite and controlled fish farming becomes more common, demand for fish feed will increase.

In 2020, the global aquafeed market exceeded USD 50 billion, and it's projected to reach over USD 71 billion by 2025. Consumer demand will drive increased seafood consumption as protein rich diets become more popular and the overall fish feed market will grow on average by CAGR 5% per year.

The increasing viability of commercial fish farming, lower costs and ease of access to aquaculture feed is will also increasing the demand for fish feed. If you are a high volume manufacturer of salmon food and prawn feed the technology is now available to help you to cut labour costs, speed up production, improve traceability, and benefit from robust packaging that’s suitable for distribution to remote coastal fish farms.

Here’s how automating your fish feed bagging systems can help you meet these challenges head on.

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Today’s Fish Feed Market In Statistics

Manufactured fish feed is the fourth largest animal feed group in terms of global annual production and is projected to have the highest future growth. Most fish feed comes in dry extruded  pellets or granular form, with wet feed remaining popular in some markets.

This feed can be floating, which means that it will sit on the water’s surface until eaten to prevent product wastage. Both feeds are made from fishmeal and oil or plant meal and oil , but can include fish processing waste, seaweed, soybean, barley, rice and other grains. It may also contain additives such as vitamins, anti-parasitics and preservatives.

While manufacturing processes differ from business to business, most manufacturers use extrusion to form high quality pellets of various sizes for different ages, breeds and sizes of fish. The chosen ingredients are crushed using a feed hammer mill. A grain power mixer combines the materials with grains and additives in certain proportions to form a mash. The mash is then passed through an extruder which ‘injects’ the mash through a dye with a certain diameter to form pellets. The pellets are then dried or baked  before being packaged.

Herbivorous fish consume more plant proteins while carnivorous fish consume more animal proteins. Most fishmeal and oils come from small open ocean fish and scraps that come after processing fish for human consumption. These types of fish rapidly reproduce to replace their stock levels, making them a renewable resource. However, their prices are expected to fluctuate as fish oil demand for human consumption increases and crop prices change due to seasonal output and availability.

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Why Is The Cost Of Fish Feed Increasing?

Demand for fish feed is increasing and experts say it's unlikely to drop to Pre-2000 levels anytime soon — even though it makes up over 70% of a fish farmer’s production cost. Fish food prices are expected to increase from between a few hundred dollars to over 1000 USD a tonne as ingredients, global commodities (including rice, wheat and fish oil) and energy prices continue to rise in a climate with supply chain issues due to Covid-19. Hence, the pressure is on fish feed and mael producers to become more efficient, one area of a feed feed factory where its relatively easy to reduce the cost of production - is in the bag packaging department.

Currently, China is the world's leading fish feed producer and as of 2015 accounted for 49 percent or 35,5 million tonnes of the world's total production. Vietnam is estimated to follow with a production volume of 2,9 million tonnes in 2012. This is followed by Thailand with 1,6 million tonnes, Indonesia with 1,3 million tonnes, India with 1,2 million tonnes and the USA at 1 million tonnes, followed by South American countries, Australia, Norway and Scotland.

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As marine resources become more finite and fish farming becomes more commonplace, it’s anticipated that 60% of global seafood production will be farmed by 2030. This also should give producers more control over the health and wellbeing of their fish. Demand for fish products are set to increase as the world's population grows and becomes more urbanised and incomes rise in developing nations. As fish tends to be lower in fat and has a smaller carbon footprint than other protein sources, it’s also expected to become more popular as it’s healthier and more sustainable. This will continue to drive demand to levels that current supplies can’t meet. This demand will be concentrated specifically in Pacific Asia, Latin America, North America and Europe.

In 2020, Covid-19 temporarily slowed down fish feed imports as borders closed and food service businesses shut down. This temporarily decreased demand for fish products and by extension fish and fish food. As lockdowns start to lift globally, demand is expected to rise again. However, manufacturers are expected to face many unique challenges such as staff shortages and more stringent sanitary guidelines when producing and packaging the product.

Fish-Farming

What’s The Best Way To Package Fresh Feed Pellets?

The majority of extruded fish feed is predominantly sold in pellet or granular form, filled into woven polypropylene bags of 25 to 50 kg - and Bulk or Jumbo Bags of 850 - 1100 Kg.

This woven polypropylene fabric or outer material is strong and robust, meaning it can travel long distances without ripping or tearing — ensuring it protects its contents.

However ,although the empty bags have many secondary uses, the polypropylene cannot be recycled - hence the desire to move to more environmentally friendly packaging materials - in particular recyclable PE plastic film.

In the case of Big Bag filling it is desirable to minimise the size and cost of the bag by implementing various techniques to settle the contents of the Bulk Bag as it’s being filled.

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The Big bag filling machine is equipped with a load cell weighing system to ensure that each bag weighs the same amount., and so that the weight  evey bag filled can be logged. When  moving to recyclable PE film it is now cost effective to fully automate your packing process. 25 - 50 kg bags  can be packed on a low cost fully automatic, hygienic Form Fill Seal (FFS) Bagging machine, connected by belt conveyors to a compact bag palletising robot, which sacks the full bags of salmon feed in ann interlocked  pattern onto wooden or plastic pallets. The palletised loads can then be automatically stretch wrapped, which will stabilise and protect the product during transport and distribution to the fish farm.

Big-Bag-Filling

Fish Feed Is Packed Into Different Sizes Of Bags, Depending Upon The Type Of Customer Or End Consumer:

  1. Retail clients and fisheries — Small plastic bags weighing 1 kg - 5kg. 
  2. Small industrial fish farms — 25 - 50 kg PE plastic bags (previously woven polypropylene fabric bags).
  3. Large industrial fish farms — Bulk Bags ranging from 500 - 1500kgs - manufactured from woven polypropylene fabric. 

For larger feed manufacturers, who need to fill  25-650 kg bags, FFS bagging technology  is becoming a popular choice for bagging Salmon Feed - because  the empty bags made on a form seal seal bagger are  much less expensive than 'pre-made' polypropylene fabric bags so the factory saves on packaging material costs as well as the cost of labour - because it requires fewer workers to operate the machinery in the bagging line. The FFS machine automatically forms bags out of a continuous roll of flat or tubular polyethylene film at a rate of 500 to 1200 bags an hour. 

Talk to Webster Griffin about installing a high speed, automated Bulk or Big Bag packing machine for fish feed, or how ask us how you can cut packaging material costs and reduce the number of operators you employ on your 25kg sack packing line for salmon or prawn food. 

Palletising-Line

Staying Up To Date With Tomorrow’s Fish Feed Packaging Options 

If your business is looking for a fish feed bagging machinery packaging option that can keep up with future market developments, it needs to consider an automated solution that can fill products around the clock with less labour required and no pauses in operation necessary. Webster Griffin has decades of experience in helping businesses package their fish feed on a large scale and can advise you on what your best options are.

Cargill

Our Experience Supplying Big Bag Filling Machines

EWOS (Cargill) Scotland - Big Bag Filling System for Pelletised Salmon Food

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Ewos Innovation is part of Cargill, the world’s largest commercial fish farming feed food manufacturer with a global presence. They contacted Webster Griffin for a Big Bag system that fills FIBC’s with salmon feed at hourly rates of 25- 30 x 1000kg bags/h or 30-35 x 500kg bags/h. The Big Bag Filling system was designed to be compact and fit into the limited space available within an existing factory.

The system is able to fill three sizes of single loop bags. The operator applies the empty bag and bag sizing technology automatically self adjusts the machine to fill the bag size in question . The empty bag is always inflated to prevent the inner bag from rupturing during filling.

The two stage bag filling process with ‘coarse’ and ‘dribble’ feed combined with a self optimising digital weighing controller provides very good  weighing accuracy and prevents product ‘give away‘ The filled and settled bags are then  discharged and accumulated on conveyors before being removed by forklift.

The new big bag line has reduced the number of operators involved in bagging and therefore  boosted productivity, it has minimised the amount of valuable fish feed ‘given away’ in every bag, and also allowed bagging machine operators the chance to take on other vital production tasks within the factory.

Biomar-Logo

Our Experience Supplying Big Bag Filling Machines

Biomar, Scotland - High Speed Big Bag Filling System For Extruded Salmon Feed

BioMar is a Danish sustainable feed manufacturer that operates in over 80 countries to create high performance feed for over 45 species of fish and shrimp. They boast a production volume of 1.25 million tonnes and it's estimated that one in five fish farmed in Europe are fed BioMar feed.

BioMar needed a new system that could boost productivity and fill 6 different bag types and could withstand abrasive and oily products. It would also need to package 25-30 bags an hour at weights of 500, 1000, 1050 and 1250kg.

Big-Bag-Filling-Biomar

After several consultations with the customer, Webster Griffin We installed a Big Bag filling system for them, complete with a product dosing system and electronic load cell weighing system to ensure consistent weighing and filling of free flowing fish feed products into bags. A bag inflation device keeps each bag fully open to receive product from the feed valve and has a height adjustable filling spout and bag loop support arms included.

An inflatable spout, external clamping ring and angled chute ensured accurate and dust free product filling. A heavy duty belt conveyor would transport move the filled bags for discharge and offloading. The system allowed BioMar to accurately fill a range of bag sizes at high speeds with less product and packaging wastage than ever before.

The system allowed BioMar to more easily trace their products after distribution using ‘passport’ tickets and they were also able to cater to more customers by offering a bigger range of bag shapes and sizes. The increased accuracy of the filling meant that customers could be confident they were getting what they paid for and ensured that BioMar wouldn’t lose was losing any capital from

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Ewos-logo

Our Experience Supplying FFS Bagging Machines

Cargill, Ecuador - Fully automatic Bagging System For Prilled Shrimp Feed 

 

Ewos contacted Webster Griffin seeking a fully automated bagging system that could run continuously and pack 10 to 25 kgs around the clock  with minimal operator intervention. It would need to bag salmon pellets 24/7 and produce compact bags suitable for robot palletisation.

Webster Griffin designed a system integrating an Form Fill Seal FFS bagging machine that could use gusseted and non-gusseted tubular film rolls to decrease downtime between film changeovers. The  system also incorporates a single high accuracy net weigh scale with a servo motor driven ‘cam shell’ weigh  dosing technology - which can pre weigh up to 1800 x 25 kg charges of fish feed per hour. This weigh scale is self checking and monitoring, each 25 kg weighment is dropped via a special stainless steel ‘accelerator’ chute onto the newly formed bag waiting below.

As with all Form Fill Seal bagging installations from Webster Griffin, the machine produces bags  in a continuous uninterrupted flow - it only being necessary to stop the line once per shift to reload a new roll of pe bag film

EWOS-Fish-Feed

As a result of the new system, Ewos dramatically improved the productivity of their bagging operation and eliminated the need for operators to carry our arduous manual labour around the clock  - releasing them to work on more productive tasks in the factory. Because the system is controllable and automated it delivers maximum operating efficiency. Since then, Ewos has ordered additional bagging lines from Webster Griffin.

Why Choose Webster Griffin?

Not many packaging machinery experts have the technology combined with years of experience in working with large scale fish feed bagging projects. Webster Griffin understands the problems, and the challenges of packing a wide range of oily, dusty fish feed pellets.

They use only the best quality components, sourced from the original, European, Japanese and American manufactures thereby ensuring spare parts are available from local distributors. Data logging, packing line performance monitoring and CCTV remote support are all features pioneered by Webster Griffin - to ensure your bagging operation keeps running - and you keep delivering fish feed to your customers.

Their technology is up to date yet, robust - built to operate reliably in inhospitable remote locations. If you’re looking for a partner who will design and build a Turn Key solution that will grow with your business, contact Webster Griffin today.

Fish Feed Market Round Up

The fish feed market is estimated to be valued at USD 112 million by 2032. Recording a CARG of 8% in terms of value.

The rising global fish feed consumption and increase in processed seafood consumption are due to rising middle class affluence in developing countries.

The limited availability of marine feed resources as there is a growing demand for fish feed, results in a growing demand for fish farming and in turn fish feed products.

Seafood consumption in China accounts for more than 45% of the global volume. China consumes around 65 million tons of seafood out of 144 million tons and is also the biggest exporter internationally.

 

India, China, Japan, US, Brazil are all the biggest consumers of fish feed.

The Asia Pacific region has the leading market share in the global fish feed market, widely considered that by 2022 this region will account for over 50% consumed fish feed products.

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What Industries Are Palletisers Used In Most?

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What Industries Are Palletisers Used In?

As a business owner, you’re always looking for ways to make your operations more productive and cost effective. With technology advancing rapidly, investing in the right equipment can help you achieve these goals. You might have read about palletisers or seen them in action, but aren’t sure if they can meet the needs of your product and business. The global palletiser market is expected to grow by almost 5% by 2028 and reach a value of USD 3.27 billion by 2026 — demonstrating that many businesses have realised its value.

Today’s palletisers take up less floor space, can be fully automated, offer unprecedented productivity, and can palletise (and depalletise) complex and heavy loads quickly and without error. Here are two examples of different industries that robot palletisers can successfully operate in.

Packing

Food & Beverages 

The world’s food and beverage industries are set to grow, with middle class populations increasing in many countries. In the USA, the packaged food industry is set to exceed 3 trillion revenue by the end of this year.

Proper palletisation helps ensure food packages reach their destination in great condition. It offers a high throughput rate at a relatively low cost. It also has a small environmental footprint as it takes less energy to operate and reduces packaging and product damage due to mishandling.

 

Robotic palletisers are a superior solution when it comes to preventing food contamination and ensuring cleanliness. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, government health and safety regulations are more stringent than ever. Robot palletisers and their selective compliance assembly robot arms eliminate external interference. It prevents damage and keeps the packaged food from being compromised due to human error. Robot palletisers can also work efficiently with plastic pallets, which are used when handling food products to discourage bacterial growth.

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Pharmaceuticals

The regulatory requirements for packaging pharmaceutical products (including medication and medical or laboratory equipment) has become more rigorous due to the Coronavirus.

As these types of products are smaller, more fragile and easier to damage they need secure palletisation and careful handling. Robot palletisers can manage frequent product and format changeovers.

They also use pneumatic gripping and vacuum technology to precisely control and handle products with different packing densities and weights. Certain models can be equipped to help dispense, count, cap and package products.

Robot-Palletising

Modern palletisers are made of modular stainless steel components which are more hygienic and easier to keep clean. Robot palletisers can stack pallets to ensure no space is left between packages, reducing vibrations. It can also integrate stretch wrapping to protect each pallet from water and other external elements.

Designing & Installing Your Robot Palletiser 

To ensure your investment in a robot palletiser will offer you the maximum benefits with the fastest possible return on investment, you’ll need to ensure it’s designed to meet your specific needs and operate within any constraints you might have. Webster Griffin can design the perfect palletising system for your production needs as well as install it and train your staff members on how to use it. For more information, contact us today.

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How Webster Griffin’s FFS Machine Installation Increased Harringtons Pet Foods’ Productivity and Automated Their Throughput

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Who Are Harringtons And What Product Do They Sell?

Harringtons Pet Food is a family operated business that manufactures a range of cat, dog and small animal food. They sell adult, puppy and senior dog wet and dry dog foods in sizes ranging from 150g to 15kg, including grain free and hypoallergenic options. They also produce dry and wet food for adult and senior cats in sizes ranging from 32g to 2kg and rabbit and guinea pig food in 2 and 10 kg sizes.

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What Kind Of Solution Did Harringtons Call For?

Harringtons approached Webster Griffin to design and install a high-speed packing line. It would need to fill 650 to 900 big bags hourly (24 hours a day) all fully automatic — from the bag filling to the dispatching stage. It would also need to be able to work with different bag weights and package sizes, including their 10, 12, 15, 17 and 20 kg pet food bags.

After packaging, Harringtons needed their products palletised into neat, square and compact pallets for storage in their clients’ automated high bay warehouses. As they sold their products in the UK and Europe, the pallets would need to be stacked and wrapped

onto mini supermarket shelf retail pallets and standard UK and European shipping pallets. Webster Griffin recommended the installation of a versatile Modulo Bagging machine, Okura palletiser with OXPA self teaching software and Uniwrap pallet wrapping machine. The palletiser and pallet wrapping machine would collate, wrap, and label the pallet and bags and roller conveyors would transport the pallets through the warehouse to an automatic truck loading dock. An automatic pallet collating machine would then combine two mini retail pallets and load them onto a standard distribution pallet to make it suitable for delivery to supermarket chains.

Harringtons-Palletiser

Why Was A High Speed Packing Line An Appropriate Solution For Harringtons?

The bagging system installed by Webster Griffin provided time savings by integrating functions such as an automated film loading system to eliminate downtime during film reel changes. The automatic loaded pallet collating machine came with built-in palletising programmes that could be modified to the client’s satisfaction. It automatically switches between pallet sizes to accommodate mini retail, Dusseldorf, Euro, or red or blue UK standard shipping pallets.

The pallet wrapping machine waterproofed each pallet in preparation for transportation through a national logistics network.

A high speed pallet conveying system accepted the loaded pallets from various automatic packing lines, transporting them to the dispatch zone using an automatic truck loading system. From here the pallets moved to IPN’s new distribution centre and warehouse.

Harringtons-Palletiser

Did The Commissioning Deliver Any Long Lasting Benefits For The Customer? 

Upon the client's approval, the bagging and palletising system was commissioned and installed by Webster Griffin’s site engineers. It immediately provided them with their desired benefit of an increased throughput of between 650-900 bags of 17 kg each, every hour. By automating the packing lines and warehouse duties it freed up their employees for other tasks within the business and reduced manual labour. The system was so successful that the client went on to order two more palletising lines.

IPN-Headquarters

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The Modulo Bagger

How Webster Griffin’s FFS Machine Installation Increased Harringtons Pet Foods’ Productivity and Automated Their Throughput Read More »

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using A Robot Palletiser?

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Here's What You Can Expect From Your Average Robot Palletiser

Ideally, a single compact machine would be able to perform all your production tasks. While a machine like this could be created in the future, current models will perform certain tasks better than others. When combined in a production line, they’ll achieve a higher overall throughput rate than an ‘all in one’ packing machine. If you’re in the market for a robot palletiser, knowing its disadvantages will allow you to customise it to your needs or find a better performing model.

Palletising

Disadvantage #1 — A Higher Initial Investment Cost

A well installed and maintained robot palletiser will have a long working lifespan but a high initial investment cost. Its cost will go beyond what you pay for the machine upfront or every month.

You’ll need to consider the time you’ll spend installing the machine and any other delays or costs it might involve. If your usage won’t recoup your costs in a certain period, you might be better off renting one.

 

Disadvantage #2 — More Skilled Staff Members Required

Operating a robot palletiser requires a specialised skill set. Usually the palletiser’s supplier will organise training for your staff when it’s installed and tested. However, human resource problems that impact your operations could include dealing with ill or absent trained operators or product size or production process changes. A costly programmer may have to be employed to reconfigure the palletiser. Fortunately, recent technological advances mean that most modern modular palletising systems can be re-programmed by factory floor staff when production processes change.

A palletiser might put a few staff members out of work if it takes over their work. If these people have a versatile skill set and are knowledgeable about your company, you could retrain and restructure their day so they can take on more pragmatic management duties instead of making them redundant.

Disadvantage #3 — Not Suitable For All Situations 

Robot palletisers can adjust to most warehouse and factory settings, but you might need additional equipment or tools for unusual sized pallets or products.

For example, pallets over two metres high will require a pallet scissor lift table. You could also face extra costs if you often work with different product sizes or change your production processes. Some palletisers require external assistance should you need to move or reconfigure them.

LKAB-Stockton

How Can You Determine Your ROI With Robot Palletisers? 

To determine if your palletiser will provide you with a ROI you’re happy with you’ll need to calculate if it can facilitate a long term cash flow. It will also need to be integrated into your business in a way that meets your strategic goals for growing your company’s position and equipping it with a competitive advantage — while also meeting the short term goals that guarantee your financial survival.

The general payback time for a robot palletiser is between one and two years, based on several factors. The fact that it offers 24/7 production will help you keep up with demand and you’ll also save money because there will be less damaged products you have to write off due to human error. One the other hand you’ll also need to include what you’ll pay your operators, your insurance costs, as well as the cost of any sick leave they might take into your ROI calculations.

Robot-and-Pallet-Dipenser

The disadvantages considered above don’t necessarily have to disadvantage your business. Knowing what each one involves will help you integrate your palletiser into your production processes with as little disruption as possible. The key to getting this right is working with a supplier that understands your unique needs and is willing to help you integrate, service and maintain your robot palletiser. Webster Griffin can help you do this, so contact us today for assistance.

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About Robot Palletisers

What Are The Disadvantages Of Using A Robot Palletiser? Read More »

What Are The 3 Major Packaging Trends To Watch Out For In 2022?

What-Are-The-3-Major-Packaging-Trends-To-Watch-Out-For-In-2022

Packaging Machinery & Palletising Automation Trends To Look Out For In 2022

The beginning of the year is the best time for your business to re-evaluate its processes to keep them aligned with consumer behaviour changes and help you streamline your workflow. One area that changes are expected to take place in is product packaging and packaging machinery. You may have heard that there are automated tools (such as automatic robot palletisers) available to you that help you reduce your packaging costs and complications while increasing your efficiency and throughput. If you aren’t sure what changes you can expect in 2022 and what solutions they might require, here are three major packaging trends worth looking out for.

Clean, Contamination Free Operations

#1 - Clean, Contamination-free Operations

The Covid-19 pandemic has been ongoing for a few years now and even though lockdowns have lifted in most parts of the world, the virus has permanently changed how we approach product packaging.

It's never been more important for food or personal use products to be packaged in a way that's sanitary, tamper-proof and prevents contamination. In 2021, demand from restaurants and food-service outlets dramatically changed as the pandemic caused them to shut down.

Globally, consumers are stockpiling and panic purchases of food, beverages, and home-care necessities, increasing the demand for protective packaging. To keep up with this demand, businesses should consider switching to automated, hands-off packaging machinery that operates with closed structures.

How your business approaches this need will depend on your unique requirements and the nature of the product you're packaging. This can mean pre-wrapping products or integrating a packaging solution earlier in the production line. It can also include tracking and labelling solutions that allow product and batch to be tracked regardless of its final location. Doing so will not only give your customers and clients added peace of mind but will also help reduce possible outbreaks taking place in your factories and keep your workforce safe.

Pre-wrapping and lablelling
Tracking Labels

#2 - Increased Focus On Automation

Automation is going to become a larger aspect of product packaging. Not only can this help create a more hygienic packing line, but it can also help address labour shortage, the need for a safer work environment for your workers and increase manufacturing speeds and efficiency. This can take the form of robotic palletisers equipped with machine learning technology that allows them to learn from your past inputs and palletising patterns. It can also include machinery that performs high volume or repetitive functions, freeing up staff to focus on more detailed or specialised work.

Automating Palletising

Automating your palletising functions via a robot can take up less floor space than a traditional palletising solution. It can also help you palletise your products more safely, without involving workers in the process. This can keep them from performing the repetitive palletising tasks that cause repetitive strain injuries.​

#3 - More Sustainable Packaging Choices

Customers have never been more aware of how traditional plastics impact the environment. Businesses wanting to appeal to these customers should invest in sustainable bag packaging materials that can adequately protect their products while being recyclable or reusable, as well as packaging machinery that reduces excess packaging waste.

“A push towards recycled plastics, a reduction in plastics usage and more innovative ways to package products will be key drivers for all businesses in 2022.” Matt Dass, MD.

Sustainable Packaging Choices

Improved packaging machinery options are often compatible with lighter materials and a wider range of packaging sizes. They also often integrate flexible packaging or Form Fill Seal capabilities that accommodate different bag sizes with a single film roll.

Whether you’re looking to improve your existing packaging and palletising set-up or want a completely new solution, it’s possible to use machinery to keep up with today’s packaging trends in an affordable and practical way. As leaders in customising Turnkey packaging solutions for a range of clients around the world, Webster Griffin can provide your business with the latest specialist equipment. Contact our team today to see how we can help automate your workflow.

Palletising-Line

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What’s The Most Compact Robot Palletizing Cell Available?

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Compact Palletising Cells To Safegaurd Your Robotics

The process of palletising and the robots associated with the process have never been safer. Palletising equipment has evolved to become almost foolproof and these models rarely fail on the job. However, introducing people to the equation changes matters. People sometimes make mistakes and it’s the responsibility of the business to do what it can to reduce the risk of accidents occurring.

According to research, pallet-related incidents send over 30,000 people to the emergency rooms in a five year period — in the USA alone. Not only does it cause injury and distress, but it also results in lost work hours, reduced productivity and occasionally even fines for your business. To ensure your setup is as safe as possible without sacrificing productivity, you’ll need a compact palletising cell and the right machine guarding.

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Why Is Machine Guarding Important?

Machine guards can be installed around your palletising cells to keep unauthorised and unnecessary personnel out. They’re built to protect the machine operator and other staff members from injury and can cover everything from the palletising cell’s point of operation to its point of power transmission — or its moving parts in general.

The right machine guard will keep the machine secure from all angles. It’s exact size and dimensions will depend on how compact your palletising cells are — as well as if you’re using a single or multi-line setup. Warehouse and factory space can be scarce, which is why you’ll need a palletising cell that’s as compact as possible.

 

Placing your robot palletisers in a single cell can help keep your setup compact. Most small to medium sized plants won’t require a custom multi line palletising cell, so they’ll benefit from an affordable, smaller and more reliable modular single cell that can be delivered quickly. Several cell configurations exist, but as they’re modular they can be moved and reassembled as needed.

 

Here are four common configurations that range in size from roughly 11 x 17 feet to 15 x 22 feet:

  1. One line in and one line out
  2. Two lines in and two lines out
  3. One line in and one line out with automatic pallet handling
  4. Two lines in and two lines out with automatic pallet handling
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The more compact your palletising cells are, the easier and more efficient it will be to protect. A single palletiser at the end of one production line will make machine guarding more simple and affordable, as it will only need to limit access to a one production area — the end of the packing line where the bagger will be stationed.

When you have several production lines this might become more complex. For example a case diverter might separate products towards two different conveyors. with each going to different palletising robot stations for different package sizes. This system can also be configured to manage slip sheet handling, pallet handling, stretch wrapping or labelling.

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Picking An Integrated Solution

The process of selecting the most compact palletising cell for your space and needs — and ensuring it’s properly guarded — can be simplified if you work with a supplier that can design you a system integrating both. Webster Griffin are experts at offering such solutions, and can assist you whether you require a single palletising cell or a multi-line one. Contact our team today for more advice.

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Revolutionise Your Business With A High Speed Automatic Sugar Packaging Solution

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Revolutionise Your Business With A High Speed Automatic Sugar Packaging Solution

Millions of businesses across the globe rely on sugar for a range of applications. Affordable, accessible and widely consumed, it's a popular product and demand for it shows no signs of slowing down.

Last year in 2021, the global sugar market reached a volume of 193.2 million tons despite Covid-19 causing economic fluctuations. It’s expected to exceed 202 million tons in volume by 2026.

If you're a manufacturer involved in producing or selling some form of sugar, you'll want to capitalise on its growing demand. This means preparing your business for the future and taking advantage of many recent advances in bagging technology and automation from Webster Griffin.

One way you can do this is by investing in high-speed automatic packaging machines to dramatically improve productivity and revolutionise your business. Keep reading to find out how Webster Griffin's knowledge in the sector and our bespoke Turn Key sugar packing systems can offer your business a comprehensive solution.

What Does Today’s Sugar Market Look Like?

Sugar is a soft commodity that’s traded worldwide. Over 80% of all sugar produced comes from sugar cane which grows in over 110 tropical and subtropical countries perennially. Every year, countries trade roughly 64 million raw tons of sugar.

Brazil, Thailand, the EU and India currently dominate the market with their 2020 annual production volumes sitting at 43.3 tons (Brazil), 7.7 tons (Thailand), 15.5 tons (the EU) and 30.08 tons (India) respectively.

Historically, developed nations’ sugar consumption has been low and developed countries' consumption high. Asian and African demand is set to increase due to economic expansion, population growth and rising demand for confectionery and soft drinks.

Demand is set to decline in developed and high income countries like Canada, the EU, and the UK due to sugar taxes, government policies and changing consumption habits. This could also prompt manufacturers to reformulate products with less sugar, decrease portion sizes and use alternative sweeteners.

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Sugar prices have decreased in recent years but are expected to recover for Indian, Thai and Brazilian exporters. Demand is also expected to remain concentrated in developing countries. White sugar prices have hit record highs due to a tight supply and harvest delays.

Sugar is mostly used by the food and drinks industry. It's also used to make animal feed, ethanol and chemical, textile, plastic and pharmaceutical bio-based products. Roughly 100 tons of sugar cane produces about 16 tons of sugar. Sugar mills crush the cane to extract its juices and fibres and then sift, heat and add lime to the juice to neutralise and clarify it. They process, clarify and boil the juice into a concentrate and then dry it in pans to produce crystals.

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The sugar and molasses are separated with the molasses sold for use in mass food and drink production. The rest is refined to remove its impurities and sold to big businesses (such soft drink producers) and for home use. Molasses is added to white sugar to produce brown sugar. White sugar is refined to produce different product grades based on purity, colour, ash and moisture percentage and crystal size.

What Are Today’s Sugar Product Packaging Options Like?

In the past, sugar manufacturers packaged their products manually. This was time-consuming, came with high labour and package wastage costs and produced inconsistently packaged products. These days, bagging machines are used to pour accurate amounts of products into open mouth bags.

These are specialised packaging machines are often equipped with helpful additions such as automatic bag top sewing machines, checkweighers for bag weight accuracy, conveyors to move products through the packaging line, labellers to apply product information to bags and metal detectors to detect metallic and non-metallic contaminants in packaged products.

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Most bagging machines are supplemented by palletising machines if the businesses ship their products nationwide or internationally on pallets. These machines sort, store and stack products for shipping. They prepare the pallets/packages for distribution.

The resulting pallets are stable and precise. They are helpful with high volume transportation and it does so quicker than manual packing allows. They can also better handle all shapes and weights of packages and by eliminating manual labour, lower costs and reduce the risk of on-site injuries.

Sugar Is Bagged In A Range Of Sizes...

Products are bagged in a range of sizes, with smaller sizes aimed at consumers ranging from 500 g to 2 kgs and Big Bags ranging from 25 kgs to over a 1000 kgs. Here are the most common sugar packaging sizes:

1-2 kg Retail paper/ plastic bags
1-2 kg Retail paper/ plastic bags
5 - 10 kgs Catering packs
5 - 10 kgs Catering packs
25 - 50 kg Industrial packaging
25 - 50 kg Industrial packaging

Retail Sugar Packaging 1-2 kg:

For home consumption. It usually takes the form of 1-2 kg open mouth paper bags or plastic bags and are usually packaged with a P4 bag packer or Form Fill Seal (FFS) velocity 1000 machine.

Catering Packs of 5-10 kg:

For specialty baking and hospitality industry and are used by caterers, hotels, canteens and restaurants. They’re packaged in pre-made bags or plastic bags packed with a FFS machine weighing 5-10 kg. Because the sugar is packaged for longer term use they can be waterproofed. They're also designed for line filling and have a self standing block bottom that is sealed after filling.

Industrial or Manufacturer Packaging 25-50 kg:

For mass producing food or drink product companies. Packaging sizes range from 25 kgs to 50 kgs to a ton flexible intermediate bulk container (FIBC), jumbo or Big Bags that are moisture proof, shockproof and recyclable. Most use Big Bag filling machines such as the IBC PF4 & IBC PW or semi-automatic bagging machines like the MBS 600, or the fully automatic ABS 1000 & 1500.

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Demand is rising for flexible intermediate bulk containers made from fabrics like polypropylene. Woven polypropylene (WPP) bags are popular for packaging flowable, dry goods like sugar. They're waterproof, easy to clean, antibacterial and can handle larger weight without damage. This is important as packaged sugar undergoes frequent handling as it travels to the end user. They also make for neat and safe stacking on pallets and optimise storage space. Filled WPP bags are shipped in international intermodal containers that meet specific International Organization for Standardization specification and are built to withstand turbulent travel.

Trends indicate that demand for the smallest (at one end) and the largest (at the semi bulk end) is increasing. Globalisation is resulting in larger product volumes being shipped worldwide. Transporting larger bags is also more cost effective and minimises its transportation's impact on the environment. The bags and pallets can also be recycled and have several secondary uses.

In sugar producing areas like South America, Africa and Indonesia, empty 50kg bags WPP bags are frequently used and reused in the marketplace. Here, retailers buy sugar in these bags and resell them in smaller volumes to individuals. have extensive secondary value which adds to their eco-friendliness and appeal. They're used to package agricultural fruit and vegetable products and grains like maize and flour and animal feeds. The bags are used for filtration during irrigation and construction. They’re also used for screens, fences, tents and sunshades in buildings or repurposed into shopping bags for personal use.

Shipping-Containers

Where To Next For Sugar Packaging?

Demand for sugar packed into Big Bags of 1250kgs and 25kg sacks from downstream processors and large food and soft drinks manufacturers is growing. This will be accompanied by an increasing demand for weatherproof packaging options as climate change becomes more unpredictable. There will be an increasing need for automated packaging system including the ABS 1000 and ABS 1500 for filling 5 kg bags, 25 kg and 50 kg bags. There will also be a exigency for an IBC PF4 machine for filling bulk bags at a speed of 35-60 bars an hour. These machines will help reduce labour costs and make factory operations safer.

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Fully automatic bagging lines are likely to remain the preferred option for packaging intermediate 25-50 kg pre-made bags with sugar. While FFS bagging machines aren’t the number one choice for packaging sugar in Europe, switching from paper to PE (polyethylene) bags for retail packaging will cut down on packaging costs and function as an environmentally friendly packaging solution. Big Bags could benefit from switching to a high speed solution that improves their productivity by packaging anywhere from 20-30 ton bags per hour to 45-90 1250 kg bags per hour.

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Webster Griffin has been at the forefront of sugar packaging machinery for decades, having first provided British client Tate & Lyle with a hi-speed valve sack packing machine for granulated sugar in 1987. Since then we’ve used the latest in packaging and automation technology to offer our clients Turn Key, bespoke packaging solutions for their sugar products.

ABS-1000-Drawing

One client we assisted was premium speciality cane sugar producer Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC). They required a solution to package retail products for international export. We created a solution that combined a Big Bag filling line with a FFS packer and dust collection and filtration system. It also included a bag emptying station and conveyor to transport products down the packaging line.

Each bag was weighed and logged for quality control and traceability and a metal container preventing any contamination. Finally, the bags were stacked on pallets before being protected using stretch wrapping. The solution helped BAMC lower their packaging costs by integrating all their operations at one location.

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We also installed three Big Bag filling lines, two high speed open mouth bagging lines, and a FFS bagging machine for one of the world’s top five sugar refineries. Saudi Arabia’s United Sugar Company needed to package coarse and fine sugar into separate bags and fill four-loop PE coated Big Bags at higher speeds.

As the system operated in a warm climate the system integrated a dosing mechanism to prevent spillage and ensure weighing accuracy. Two high speed automatic open-mouth bagging machines were installed to fill 20 to 25kg bags.

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We also installed three Big Bag filling lines, two high speed open mouth bagging lines, and a FFS bagging machine for one of the world’s top five sugar refineries. Saudi Arabia’s United Sugar Company needed to package coarse and fine sugar into separate bags and fill four-loop PE coated Big Bags at higher speeds.

As the system operated in a warm climate the system integrated a dosing mechanism to prevent spillage and ensure weighing accuracy. Two high speed automatic open-mouth bagging machines were installed to fill 20 to 25kg bags.

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Webster Griffin Helps Krysteline Technologies Increase Their Packaging Capacity

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Why Did Krysteline Technologies Contact Webster Griffin?

Krysteline Technologies is a UK based waste processor that collects and processes all shapes and sizes of glass. They use patented technology to repurpose 100% of the glass collected — no matter its quality. Some if it is repurposed into recycled granular glass cullets, which are used in place of concrete in road beds and pavements and in fibreglass and foam insulation. Krysteline Technologies wanted to modernise their product packing line by reducing manual labour and automating the process. Here’s how Webster Griffin helped them.

The Refining Process

The quality of processed material is determined by the feedstock quality, moisture content and installed technology. The Krysteline strategy is to diligently consider the feedstock and provide the technology which ensures the client’s expectations are met. Product quality can range from aggregates to fully purified sands and powders for filtration and abrasives.

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Why Was A Form Fill Seal Machine Most Appropriate For Krysteline Technologies?

Webster Griffin recommended the client install an automatic Form Fill Seal (FFS) bagger and robot palletiser. The FFS bagger would accommodate bag sizes ranging from 5 to 25kg and a maximum empty bag width of 500mm. It would have rubber lined forming tubes to ensure the machine is well suited for handling dusty products.

An existing feeding system would move product into the bagger through a mild steel surge hopper with level controls. This would ensure the bagger received enough product to maintain the required packaging rate.

A film centering device would properly centre and form each bag before a two stage dosing system filled it. A net weigher including an electronic load cell weighing system would ensure each bag was filled to the correct weight. It’s weigh-pan would have a quick-release side door to make cleaning easier and more efficient.

What Challenges Did Krysteline Technologies Pose To Webster Griffin Pre-Installation?

Krysteline Technologies wanted an automated, high throughput packing line that would work around the clock to meet their production targets.

It would need to package 16 tons of product hourly into 25kg PE bags — accommodating other bag sizes in case of last minute demands for different bag shapes and designs. The packed bags would also need to be palletised and ready for transportation.

Form-Fill-Seal-machne-Kyrsteline

An electric height adjuster at the bag support saddle would adjust the bags according to size. Each filled bag would be micro-perforated to remove excess air and create a square and tidy package. After each bag was heat sealed, a belt conveyor would move it and a bag turner and height adjustable flattener to rotate the bag and compact it ready for delivery.

The heavy duty palletiser was equipped to fill an empty pallet standard magazine of 14-15 empty pallets. The robot was equipped with teachable software and 100 different existing palletising programmes.

It was also equipped with a programmable thermal printer to add barcodes and text on the side of the filled bags. The system could be commanded via a PLC touchscreen. A mechanical fence and interlocked access door installed around the bagging zone would keep out unauthorised personnel ensuring safe operation.

How Did Krysteline Technologies Benefit From The Installation?

Webster Griffin installed the system at the client’s facilities roughly 13-14 weeks after they ordered it. They also dispatched engineers to the site to monitor the installation and test it. It immediately provided a throughput of 640 bags an hour — which is higher than anticipated.

Being automated, the system allowed employees to focus their attention on other production tasks. Its dosing accuracy reduced product waste and inaccurate weighing. As it could accommodate different bags, the client could also respond to customer demands immediately, giving Krysteline Technologies an edge over their competitors. 

The palletiser also provided many benefits. By adding a label and barcode to each bag it helped them improve their product traceability. As the palletiser also produced neatly stacked and fully loaded pallets it also made international exportation easier and more efficient.

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Krysteline-Palletiser-Landscape

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