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It's Time to Upgrade Your Mk5 (Thurne) Bag Sealer

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If you’re reading this you’re either still running one of our Mk5 bag sealing machines or you’re a history geek! Our Mk5 bag sealing machines were a fantastic piece of bag sealing technology introduced in the late 1990’s.  But all good things must come to an end – and the MK5 is definitely coming to its end. 

“But we’re still running our Mk5s” we hear a few of you say.  Yes they really were incredible workhorses, but they are of an age now that means your bakery operations are vulnerable to longer breakdown times with spares and repairs increasingly difficult for us to supplyAdd to that the huge advancements in electronics, constantly changing safety requirements and the new & improved features of the latest Flexi Plus machines – and it’s hard to deny the Mk5 is well past its sell-by-date.  

Reasons to Upgrade Now:

Operational vulnerability 

Age brings with it wear and tear and thus operational vulnerability. With one machine sealing an average of 10-15 million bags every year depending on usage… well you can do the math! It becomes a dangerous game of chance as to not if but when it will break down, leaving your production line adversely affected. The downtime will undoubtedly be longer, and more expensive to remedy than with a new machine and in some cases we may not be able to fix it at all. 

As a company we always do our utmost to keep all machines running, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to do so – not to mention uneconomical and unsafe for you. We stopped selling and installing Mk5s a long time ago, and with over 80% having now been replaced with our Flexi Plus bag sealers, we will soon be unable to continue supporting them.  

Here’s why… 

Spares, repairs & obsolescence

We hold somewhere between dwindling and no stocks of spares for Mk5 machines. Fundamentally, it is expensive for both parties to keep old machines running. As you can imagine, after more than 20 years some parts are no longer made at all. In some cases we can get items re-made, but the cost of this is prohibitive due to the small quantities required.  

Machined parts are one thing, but electronics are quite another. The technology advances apace yearly – with older electronics sometimes being supersededWe don’t build obsolescence into our machines on principle, although when you take into account the age of the Mk5s and the fact that we rely on third parties such as Allen Bradley for some electrical elements, it becomes inevitable.  We can’t control when these parts are discontinued, so we have to adapt and evolve instead.  

It’s for these reasons we can’t guarantee that spares will be available as and when your machine needs them. 

Service engineer support

It’s not just spares though. Our engineers are understandably no longer actively trained on Mk5s, and as new engineers join us the knowledge base is reducing further. With only a handful of the old machines still in operation, it’s simply not an area we can justify investing resources in. We do still have a knowledge base but much like our spares it is dwindling. 

Modern safety standards

The Mk5 is a product of its time, and modern safety standards have evolved significantly since the last one was installed. If we were to install one on a new line today, it would not meet PUWER regulations!  

Remember when it wasn’t mandatory to wear seatbelts in cars? You wouldn’t dream of buying a new car without seatbelts now – and more to the point – you wouldn’t be able to either. Likewise, e-stops are a relatively recent requirement. Whilst we can’t imagine machines without them now, when the Mk5 was developed in the 90s, it just wasn’t a consideration.  

Our new Flexi Plus machines are fitted with not one, but two e-stops: one for each side so that an operator always has one within reach. Safety guards protect the electrical and mechanical elements, and an automatic dump valve expels any compressed air in the event of a mechanical fault. But don’t worry, our intelligent system ensures that if a cycle is interrupted, it will resume at the same point so that your product is not lost. These are just a few of the differences in build and safety between the old Mk5 and the new Flexi Plus machines. We’ll happily give you the full details, just ask! 

New features & improved performance with a Flexi Plus

The Flexi Plus is a far superior bag sealer, and as you will see from the chart below, the Mk5 just can’t compete. With its state-of-the-art Quality Control (QC) Systemintuitive touchscreen HMI and unique adjustable height facility automatically raising and lowering to the product centre linethe Flexi Plus offers more consistent sealing all round.  

A new Flexi Plus comes with a 12 month warranty, and innovations such as lubrication-free pneumatics, a more robust dual armed spooler, automatic chain tensioner and needle roller bearings all contribute to significantly reducing future maintenance requirements for your engineers.  

We recognise that you will likely have invested in newer printer since your Mk5 was installed, so we’ve made sure that Flexi Plus is compatible with ICE and Markem printers to allow for integration where possibleOr it can be supplied with our integral printer which has capacity for storing 150 settings to suit a wide variety of products if needed.  

Here’s a simple breakdown comparing the two machines: 

It doesn’t need to cost the Earth 

“This all sounds great… but what will it cost me?!” 

Armed with all this information, you can’t deny that upgrading your old machine(s) is a good idea, but you also can’t deny there will be costs involved. 

We don’t want a price tag to deter you from taking advantage of the benefits a Flexi Plus will bring to your production line – which is why we can offer bespoke solutions to accommodate your needs.  

Whether you’d be interested in buying machinery outright, a long-term (interest-free) rent-to-buy arrangement, or maybe even our “price per seal” servitisation methodWe’re open to discussing the options with you and tailoring an agreement to meet your specific requirements. 

It’s also a great time to invest and take advantage of the new temporary tax relief on qualifying capital asset expenditure outlined by the government. 

Our commitment to sustainability and recycling means that at the end of a machine’s life, we also offer to recycle your old equipment so the materials involved in the manufacture of the machine are correctly disposed of. 

Call us to discuss your upgrade options on +44 (0) 113 250 5881 or email: info@weseal.com

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