Doubled Production. Half the Space: The FR400 Twin Hits Bakery Packaging’s Sweet Spot

By Mike Terry
Posted In : flow wrapping, Bakery, flow wrap, Bakery Packaging, FR400 Twin, Confection, FR400 Twin Flow Wrapper

Baked goods and confections have always hit the sweet spot with consumers.

Whether for nutrition and fast energy for on-the-go professionals or a relaxing treat to start or end the day, 75% of shoppers in the modern market are reaching for compact snack (most often in bar form) at least half the time.

That love for confections isn’t bite-sized, either.

Every year, the Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) for the varied sectors within industrial bakery grow significantly by MILLIONS of dollars, adding to the already impressive BILLIONS of dollars worth of American and global market valuations.

That growth is predicted to continue with experts forecasting steadily increasing market CAGR rates for snack bars (5.3%), candy bars (2.57%), protein bars (7.0%), granola bars (3.0%), and the (prepackaged) donut market (7.00%) between 2023 to 2032.

Buy, Build, or Innovate: Bakery’s Costly Production Puzzle

This exponential market growth leaves bakery and confection producers with a hard choice: increase production of the same product in the same amount of time with less labor and focus on efficiency OR expand production facilities to accommodate new equipment and product.

The latter choice sounds simple: Buy or build to accommodate the necessary systems, storage, and shipping and watch production numbers grow.

If only…

Expanding production facilities requires an enormous investment of capital, personnel, and, most importantly, production time.

Over their lifespan, companies want to become more efficient,” said Josh Becker, Bakery & Confection Segment Manager at Harpak-ULMA Packaging. “They do so by increasing the rate of production, but not all are able to double the size of their facilities, make their facilities larger, or otherwise buy/build new facility space.

To small and medium-sized producers, expansion is so cost-prohibitive that it is nearly impossible (starting at a base of $100,000+ for renovations). Large producers share the same cost concerns, shying away due to excessive resource expenditures in addition to new single-lane systems, such as increased infrastructure, utilities, labor, automation, construction, and contingencies.

Doubling Down on Modern Flow Wrap Innovation for Bakery Packaging

If expensive expansion is out, producers are forced to turn inward to their existing space and resources to answer the lingering question:

“How do I double my production with limited downtime and the SAME amount of facility space to keep up with increasing market demand?”

Enter the compact, high-output horizontal flow wrapper: the FR400 Twin.

Designed with limited facility space in mind, the FR400 Twin flow wrapper offers the ideal solution to producers’ bakery packaging needs. Harnessing the power of two single flow wrap systems, the FR400 DOUBLES the production capacity of a single legacy flow wrap system while requiring up to 50% less production floor area.

This revolutionary flow wrapping tech combines two separate machines in parallel into a single unit, requiring ONE operator, achieving the efficiency and conservation to negate the need for additional plant expansion or additional labor to produce more product.

DOUBLING Production without Doubling Floor Space?


The FR400 Twin produces the MOST flow wrap product at speed, well within the footprint of a single flow wrap line, and according to your specific production requirements in two unique ways:

  • Products Per Minute (PPM): The system boasts speeds of 700ppm per lane for maximum throughput capabilities of up to 1400ppm.
  • Film Speed Per Lane: The FR400 can seamlessly accommodate the unique size, shape, configuration, and heat seal parameters of your bakery packaging format, producing 70 meters of film per minute per lane continuously for a safe, sealed, identical, high-quality product.

The film speed is what really drives the rate, said Becker. “Each lane can handle up to 70 meters of film per minute (depending on product dimensions), and you can duplicate that production rate within the small footprint. That’s up to 1400ppm or up to 140 meters per minute (maximum) in film speed distributed across two machines.

Setting the Bar: More Than Production Speed Baked In

The FR400 Twin satisfies the need for speed. However, doubled product throughput shines less if the system costs more from downtime, service and maintenance, operator training and human error, and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Fortunately, the FR400 Twin stands up to its reputation as the new benchmark take on existing dual lane flow wrap tech. As the quintessential bakery packaging solution for today’s high-output producers, the FR400 Twin’s design, operation, and TCO have been optimized to more than meet the expanding needs of the modern baked goods market and convey invaluable production advantages on various levels:

User-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI)

The FR400 Twin’s single, color-coded HMI controls the entire production process for both lanes, from infeeding and conveyance to final palletizing. Through the simplified HMI (with standard Allen Bradley Controls), production staff easily dictate and monitor product configurations (including single or multiple row feeding, chicaning, and lining) for primary packaging as well as specific output directives for EACH system at the individual case packing level during secondary packaging. This emphasis on user-friendly operation allows a single technician to easily handle continuous high-speed production and minimize human error across every packaging cycle.

Seamless Automation & Robotics Integration

The FR400 Twin also integrates all existing automation, pick and place robotics, and SmartConnected equipment software for primary and secondary packaging and palletizing. This continuity offers additional labor savings and cost avoidance for new equipment and systems while providing sophisticated production data for enhanced Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) for the life of the machine.

Minimized Downtime

The FR400 Twin’s single, shared HMI allows the machines to work independently of one another, often operating at different speeds continuously, without needing to shut down the entire system for service, maintenance, or repairs. This functionality cuts down on costly planned and unplanned equipment downtime (avg. cost of $5760 per day) and improves user-friendly operation.

In addition to continuous operation, minimized downtime is also built into the very design of the machinery. The FR400’s electrical panel is raised ABOVE the system, allowing easy access to all panels and machine guards from the non-operational side.

Technicians can safely work on the outside lane while, at the same time, producers maintain steady, high-speed production on the inside without resorting to costly system downtime. This update allows optimal maintenance processes and production efficiency.

Lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

TCO is the estimate of all the direct and indirect costs involved in acquiring and operating a product or system over its lifetime. In the bakery packaging space, this generally translates to output capacity, total downtime, and labor costs.

TCO is not just efficiency and output,said Becker.You must factor in reduced applied labor and associated costs, continuous operation even during service and maintenance, and the system’s ease of use with color-coded processes and HMI for error-free operation and less downtime.”

The FR400 Twin makes lower TCO a flagship feature.

Doubled output, ease of use, and simultaneous integration with all primary, secondary, and palletizing automation lower labor costs. The system increases production without additional investment in infrastructure and facilitates maximized cost avoidance in the process.

Let’s look at an example:

Producer A wants to increase production by 50% to meet rising customer demand. Yet doing so in a traditional sense would require them to install another single flow wrap system using up to 400 sq. ft. of floor space.

Buy or build.

However, the FR400 Twin’s doubled capacity requires up to 50% LESS floor space than a traditional system, with twice the production capacity.

Now, the producer can double their output, simplify their production, maintenance, and service processes, and STILL have room to integrate new or existing automation components at any and all intervals to lower labor costs and ensure peak savings and perpetual high-speed performance without the need to expand.

Today’s Bakery Packaging Innovation for Tomorrow’s High Demand

The demand for confections and baked goods continues to rise year over year. As a producer in the industrial baking space, you have a choice: buy, build, and expand at cost to keep up with competition and demand, or utilize today’s top high-speed flow wrap technology to enhance production, minimize expenditures, and maximize savings.

The choice is clear.

Talk to our bakery experts at Harpak-ULMA. Together, we’ll explore the right bakery applications for your unique needs, optimize your production with leading edge innovation, and help you experience the sweet taste of bakery packaging success.

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