Wisconsin-based OH SNAP! Pickling Co. is in the final stages of installing two new high-speed SOMIC end-of-line packaging machines. The first of the popular 424 W3 wraparound case packers for retail ready packaging has begun handling the collating and case packing of almost two million single-serve pouches per week, which company president Ryan M. Downs expects to far exceed by this time next year.
OH SNAP! has delivered big results in a short amount of time. A division of progressive food producer GLK Foods in Appleton, Wisconsin, it was formed in 2015 to produce refrigerated single-serve, brine-less pickled vegetables such as pickles, carrots, green beans, snap peas and jalapeños. GLK is the largest producer of sauerkraut in the U.S., so they were looking to build off the success of their fermentation process for kraut.
OH SNAP!’s initial foray into the market with stand-up pickle pouches led to impressive results. After more new products were introduced and eagerly accepted, management last year decided to invest in constructing a new manufacturing plant in nearby Little Chute to handle the rapidly growing business.
The nearly 70,000 square-foot facility began brining product in March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to spread in the U.S. But demand has remained strong as workers are now producing finished goods and the company is running three shifts around-the-clock, six days a week. Installation of the SOMIC machines could not be better timed.
“We first heard about SOMIC through John Bartmann, our corrugated supplier sales representative at PCA. He introduced us to Peter Fox (the company’s senior vice president of sales) in 2016,” recalled Downs. “I remember thinking that if the OH SNAP! line ever did the volume to support the purchase of a SOMIC machine, we would have really created something special. We’ll soon be purchasing our third.”
Downs said a presentation by Fox convinced company management to invest in the end-of-line machines.
“Before purchasing our SOMIC machines, we looked at two or three other solutions to be sure nothing was missed. None was as compelling as the SOMIC offering. We loved the simplicity of its design, its compact nature, and the references we received could not have been more glowing. We also learned through our references that start-up would be very quick, and it indeed it has been.”
The SOMIC 424 W3 wraparound case packers are flexible, high performance systems that use decentralized servo drives. To satisfy distribution to retailers such as grocery, big box and C-stores—plus vending and hospitality outlets—throughout North America, and widening the channel to include Europe, OH SNAP! plans to have the machines collate and case pack up to 160 pouches per minute. Product is being divided into three formats of 6, 12 or 18 count display cartons.
Proving that timing and execution is everything, both machines will be online as the company expands from 68 employees to 94 for the annual, six week Wisconsin cucumber harvest that begins on July 10.
“At this time, we will be producing between 1.5 to 2 million pouches per week,” stated Downs. “We are already planning an additional 40,000 square-feet to our facility to accommodate growth of the brand. By the time it is completed next summer, I expect us to far exceed what we are currently producing.”
About SOMIC America Inc.
With over 40 years of experience, Minnesota-based Somic America Inc. offers design support for cartons, retail-ready and wraparound cases. Many international packaging brands use Somic’s advanced mechatronic systems to collate, group and pack open trays, wraparound cases, trays with covers or lid inserts and paperboard cartons. The Parts & Service department is responsible for installation, training and more. Visit www.somic.us for more information or call 651-419-6050.