From the packaging systems exhibited at the Anuga FoodTec 2012, running in Cologne, Germany last month, I selected three to highlight here.
Gerhard Schubert presented its new tube filling and closing machine, Robert Bosch Packaging Technology presented its new SurePOUCH clean-fill (SPC) machine, and K-Robotix showed its robots for (naked) food products. We end with an auxiliary item, namely the SmartReflect with transparent detection from Baumer.
New Tube Filling and Closing Machine
Gerhard Schubert GmbH presented its new tube filling and closing machine.
In the first sub-machine, starting on the right, tubes are unpacked from shipping cartons fully automatically and moved onto a trans-module transport section in a mass flow. In the second sub-machine, the tubes are transferred from the mass flow to a single-row transport section and at the same time aligned according to their printing marks. These tubes are then filled in the third sub-machine by an eight-position volume dosing station. Upon request, the volume dosing station can also be replaced by weight dosing. The closing is performed using ultrasound in the fourth sub-machine. Only 1/16 of the standard welding energy is required for ultrasonic welding. The tubes are sealed with a cold sealing tool, and any product located in the sealing zone does not negatively affect the quality of the seal.
The tube filling machine, exhibited in Cologne, had an output of 200 tubes per minute. On TLM tube filling machines of various configuration levels, up to 800 tubes can be filled and closed per minute. As it is a modular system, the TLM tube filling and closing machine can be completed to a compact individual packaging line by attaching additional sub-machines.
The TLM packaging machine system is highly flexible due to its simple mechanical design, intelligent control system and exchangeable tools. On TLM filling machines liquid or pasty products can also be filled into bottles, cans or bags.
The SurePOUCH stand-up flexible pack
The SurePOUCH clean-fill (SPC) machine of Robert Bosch Packaging Technology is a roll-fed vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) machine with a footprint of six square meters that produces the SurePOUCH, a new line of reclosable, flexible stand-up pouches with multiple shape and fitment options.
The SPC can produce four different pouch formats. The formats EZPouch, EZGable and EZSquare, with filling volumes from 100 ml to 5 litres, offer flexible applications for retail. For food service, the EZPillow can hold up to 20 litres, allowing for easy and quick refilling. All formats are produced, filled and sealed with the same machine. This enhances flexibility for the manufacturer since it allows the user to expand the product portfolio without fundamentally converting the production line.
The new vertical form, fill and seal machine is capable of filling a variety of products, achieving hygiene standards up to ultra clean-fill. SurePOUCH packs are also fitted with reclosable spouts, which are ultrasonically welded to the exterior of the pouch and can be positioned in various locations. They provide an enhanced hygienic feature as the product is filled directly into the pouch and not through the spout. The closure only comes in contact with the product when the consumer opens the package. The spouts are available in sizes of 10, 20 and 30 mm. Bosch also provides customized options, while drinking straws or simple tear-notches can be added. For the food service sector, adjusting extra handles to the upper seam simplifies lifting and dosing when pouring.
Clean-filled applications for the SurePOUCH include non-carbonated beverages and water, dairy products, concentrates, soups, sauces and dressings. The SurePOUCH system is capable of filling viscous liquids up to 25,000 centipoises as well as particulates up to 25 mm in diameter while protecting particulate integrity. The machine can also handle dry bulk goods, such as flakes, powders, rice or coffee.
In addition to the SPC machine, Bosch supplies both the spouts and the lightweight film or laminate structures for the SurePOUCH packs, guaranteeing seal and package integrity while ensuring easy handling, storage and dispensing of products.
Due to its stable design, the package still stands-up once vacant. Made from flexible materials, it allows high evacuation rates for increased utility as well as collapsibility for efficient disposal.
At the Anuga various companies showed their developments in robots. For the food industry, however, it is not the robot that is of importance, that technique can be seen everywhere in whatever industry. Take the automotive industry as an example. For the food industry the robot-hands are of extremely importance and completely different from any other industrial application. Handling ‘naked’ product, like meat, cheese, chocolate etc, requires special robot-hands and fingers. We have seen several at the Anuga. I will write a separate article about recent developments in robot-hands. Here some photos from K-Robotix GmbH in Bremen/Germany, for more than five years, exclusively dedicating its activities to automated robotic handling of food.
More in a next article.
And finally an auxiliary object to packaging lines.
SmartReflect with transparent detection
Baumer introduced its innovation: the first light barrier without a reflector featuring unique transparent detection. This especially sensitive version of the SmartReflect picks up the tiniest changes in intensity, which enables it to detect highly transparent foils, bowls or bottles. This model is also available with a hygienic and wash-down design, as well as protection class IP 69K and proTect+ tightness concept.
With the SmartReflect, the physical interruption of a closed light barrier by an object, the closed light beam is set up between the sensor and a machine part, for example. Commonly used separate reflectors or receivers are no longer required. The colour and material of the background and the object to be recognized are unimportant.
In the food industry in particular, the SmartReflect proves its usefulness as it monitors the packaging process by identifying the correct positioning of the food to be packaged. The SmartReflect is used whenever the installation of a separate reflector or receiver presents a real headache.
I have one more article about the Anuga. This one about food preservation in packaging.