Background

Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. produces packaged nuts, candies, and chocolate for distribution throughout the Midwest and Western United States. 

Mountain Man relies on packaging equipment to bolster its employee base and ensure timely production of their products. Ensuring that the equipment has a high Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) is paramount.

Panther Industries has been a trusted partner of Mountain Man for nearly two decades, providing labeling automation solutions for their packaging and shipping fulfillment processes.

 

Challenge

Traditionally, Mountain Man has used plastic bags for product presentation at their point-of-sale locations. However, their customers have requested the use of rigid plastic containers for greater durability and enhanced product presentation.

Mountain Man required the labeling process for the new packaging to be automated, allowing them to increase accuracy and consistency, eliminate the need to hand apply labels, reduce errors, and reallocate employees to other key functions to grow their business. To support this initiative, and assist in the implementation of this upgraded packaging solution, Mountain Man engaged with Panther Industries – a trusted partner whose labeling automation solutions have always performed as promised.

Panther's product line, along with Mountain Man's ability for material handling, ensured the partnership was the correct one.

 

Approach

It was determined that two plastic container labeling solutions were needed – top and bottom labeling for application to the smaller container and bottom-only application of a different label for the larger container.

The Panther team engaged our sales, application specialists, and engineering areas to assist Mountain Man in determining the ideal solution for both labeling applications. During the process, there was collaborative communication and ongoing technical dialog to ensure the end solution would meet every parameter for the end-users.

 

Solution

To accommodate both the smaller and larger package labeling automation requirements, two Panther label systems were utilized. The underside label applicator was offset and inverted to handle the lower label application for both packages (with a different label being utilized for the larger package – requiring a quick and efficient change of label stock). Integrating the labeling applicators within Mountain Man's conveyance system required a hugger belt conveyor and corresponding outriggers as part of the overall solution.

 The final Panther Industries labeling automation solution for Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co., incorporating two Panther P8 pneumatic label applicator systems integrated with a hugger belt and corresponding outriggers.

The final Panther Industries labeling automation solution for Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co., incorporating two Panther P8 pneumatic label applicator systems integrated with a hugger belt and corresponding outriggers.

Panther was able to deliver this labeling automation solution to Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Co. seven weeks from the date of the order. During factory acceptance testing (FAT), the system performed as expected, achieving throughput at over 45 products per minute (substantially higher and more accurate than results attained with manual label application). 

The final solution directly bolstered the main intent of the collaboration – automation of the label application process for two different product package types, and the elimination of high operating costs and errors due to manual labor processes. Mountain Man’s team indicated that a minimum of four employees could now be re-tasked within the company to support other key business growth areas.