The Mitsubishi EVOL helps make FGS one of the most efficient plants in the world

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A plant expansion of this size and scope was no small undertaking. So why install the EVOL nearly a year before the expansion began? “The decision to obtain the EVOL prior to the full-blown expansion was more for the immediate positive impact — speed and setups — it would have on our business than anything else,” says Steve Moore, the carton plant’s GM.

“We have had open market business that needed to be farmed out but we now have the ability of running rotary business in-house. When you’re talking about citrus and produce markets, you must have the ability to run the rotary business and we certainly do.”

The EVOL replaced a “Langston” three-color flexo folder-gluer, which had a top run speed of 270 pieces per minute, or approximately 220,000 boxes per day.

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“The EVOL has achieved faster setups and is much more versatile in carton styles. We are able to reduce our overtime as well as our dependency on inventories. The EVOL has proven to be at the top in every category of performance and reliability and it has already done what we all hoped it would do; it’s allowed us to evolve to the next stage of operational excellence for our customers.”

To feed the ever-hungry EVOL, FGS invested in the latest in robotic technology from Ducker/ Ringwood. The pre-feeder features a Kawasaki 6-axis 300kg robot and is capable of speeds up to 24,000 sheets per hour. On the output end of the EVOL is a Ducker/Ringwood PAL 2009 robotic palletizer with a Kawasaki 4-axis 250 kg robot fully capable of processing FGS’ customers stacking requirements. A Mosca bundler and ACS conveyors continually move product out the door. “We’re very happy with the way Ducker/Ringwood’s robots and palletizer has allowed us to manage our production.”

“We’re fortunate to have a very stable member base, and our future success will be based on that business as well as growing our relationships in the open market, which we expect to be about two billion square feet a year,” Moore says. I believe this will be one of the most state-of-the-art plants in all the world and the numbers, driven by MHI’s EVOL support that.”

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