Raque Food Systems revolutionizing food packaging with automation

By Abuzar Iqbal, Building Kentucky

Mass production has been booming since the 1800s, with automation in nearly every industry today. Likewise, as the world’s population grows, it is important to keep up with the increasing demand for food. This makes food packaging one of the most important mass production industries in today’s economy.

Raque is one of the nation’s leading manufacturers when it comes to food packaging systems. That has been made possible with the help of automation at Raque’s facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Raque continues to modernize its equipment by utilizing automation as much as possible. As the workforce continues to reduce with the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, the need for automation greatly increases. Raque reduces downtime for measures like maintenance and sanitization procedures.

Food packaging factories are capitalizing on the benefits of automation, experiencing a surge in increased productivity, reduced costs and enhanced worker safety. The days of repetitive tasks overseen by human operators are coming to an end. Instead, automated machines tirelessly handle operations like bagging, filling and palletizing, producing items 24/7 at a persistent pace. Precise automation translates to much higher outputs, meeting consumer demand with ease and preventing costly production downtimes. Raque’s automated solutions have created a safer, more efficient and cost-effective environment.

Taking a look into the past

Raque has been operating in Louisville since 1975 under the direction of owner and founder, Glen Raque. Better and more efficient machine design has been at the forefront of every project from day one. It is the constant question of how to improve, how to utilize the advancement of machine components and how to build a better product, which has made Raque a household name in some of the largest food producers in the U.S. Early machines that produced 50 units per minute have given way to the innovation of today. Raque now produces equipment that allows food producers to achieve as much as 1,300 units per minute, striving to move that needle upwards every year.

For every four Baby Boomers retiring, there is just one person to fill those positions.  Raque helps to eliminate the need for operators in production facilities, reducing stress on the workforce and decreasing the total overall cost of ownership for each machine. Raque’s goal is not to replace workers in the workplace, but to allow more opportunity and flexibility within the workforce. By automating, both small and large companies have the chance to train and develop workers in necessary areas and allow them to advance past the plant floor into different roles. This in turn makes them more valuable to companies across the country.

An eye on the future

Mike Weidman, Raque’s Vice President and Director of Engineering, believes we have just scratched the surface of automated machinery. With the introduction of robots and innovation being pushed forward every day, there is no question that the food industry will become more efficient. We are already seeing robotics make its way from the packaging sector into the food production space, and that is a welcome sight.  The ability to produce high-quality food with less operator involvement not only increases the efficiency of production, but also increases food and operator safety. This will make way for less food recalls and fewer workplace injuries as a result, which is a win-win for the industry.

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