Pet Food Manufacturer Doubles Production Capacity

January 19, 2016

With an exclusive focus on co-packing, a dry pet food manufacturer opened a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in 2012 (SQF Level III). The company’s 2015 strategy was to double their production capacity from 150,000 to 300,000 tons of dry pet food per year, while maintaining high a level of food safety, quality, and service.

After consulting with Umbra North America (PTI), the manufacturer chose to move forward with a highly flexible, full line bagging solution from Umbra Packaging S.r.l (based in Italy). Umbra Packaging specializes in the design, development, and manufacture of fully automated packaging systems for powders and granules (cereal, seed, pet food, animal feed, etc.) in bags of any material and size.

When providing the machine scope of supply, the dry pet food manufacturer set benchmarks for the full line production output it needed to accomplish based on its high-volume customer purchasing 50-lb bags of dog food. The downstream solution for the PTI-Umbra machine would be required to produce 60 wrapped pallets/hour. With the pallet containing seven layers of three bags/layer, the palletizing and bagging machine combination needs to output 21 bags/min. The highly flexible bagging line is able to meet the high-volume throughput the customer requires, while also being able to provide a variety of smaller volume SKUs with different packaging materials, fill weights, and closures.

The fully automated bagging system offers high versatility and consistency for customers that require flexibility in their weekly production environment. The scaling system is two scales in a single hopper with the capability to fill bags from 2 to 55 lb. The capability of filling this wide range of product is due to pre-staging a bulk and dribble fill on the large volumes, and a high-accuracy bulk fill on the small volumes. The filling chutes, which are automatically adjusted via a program change on the HMI, allow for changeovers between larger and smaller bag openings. With four different types of closure systems (heat seal, pinch top, sewing, and double fold and glue) on the bagging machine, the customer has the option to run plastic, paper, and poly woven bags. This machine offers easy changeover from one bag format to another, which can be completed in 15 minutes. The bagging line also offers additional features, such as bag labeling, inkjet printing, metal detection, and check weighing, which are all third-party suppliers that can be integrated by Umbra or the customer.

After the bagging line, the medium and large size bags head toward the palletizer, while the smaller bags go to a bundler. The bundler configurations can accommodate up to a 2x5 and 1x6 bundle of small bags.  These bundles connect back to the line and head up toward the palletizer, which uses a pick and place system to configure the bags for each pallet layer. The palletizer compacts each layer from the side of the bags during the layer formation, as well as on top of the bags after the layer is placed on the pallet, which creates a clean and compact pallet. The customer has commented several times on the quality of pallets coming off the end of the line. With a large warehouse, the customer has the capability to stack the products four pallets high coming off the Umbra line.

The customer believes that the Umbra machinery will enable them to stay true to their business strategy in becoming a high-capacity and highly flexible manufacturer of dry pet food for a variety of pet food brands, while maintaining a high level of food safety, quality, and service.

For more information on PTI/Umbra North America, Tuckahoe, NY, call 914-337-2005 or visit

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