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Automated plant improvements continue to make valuable savings

1st April 2013


CP Food Machinery has improved its P2000 slicer with the new P2000i Party Pack Slicer which can produce both retail packs and whole pre-cut salmon sides. It is equipped with automatic foil interleaving which rationalises the production process considerably.

Importantly, the P2000i line requires only four operators to produce the same throughput as 16persons in a manual process. At the same time it reduces repetitive working operations and minimises the risk for bacteriological problems since the slices are cut and interleaved automatically with foil.

Slices are placed directly on gold boards without bringing them into contact with any conveyors, further reducing the risk of contamination.

The P2000i slicers are computer controlled and have an operator friendly display. They also feature a variable cutting angle system which provides a higher output in the form of more useful slices and a more uniform weight of slice.

Units are equipped with a pre-weighing system for the fillets, which is connected to the computer system. The computer automatically chooses the optimum slicing program for the actual batch numbers based on the weight of the fillet.

P2000i systems have already been installed at customers in France, Italy, Switzerland and Australia and the company says it is seeing an increased interest from consumers for wild salmon in this format.

Better batter

FMC FoodTech also claims greater productivity from its new industrial food processing system, ProMIX. This is a batter mixer that offers greater capacity, easy maintenance and improved hygiene resulting in increased throughput and lower costs.

The company claims that ProMIX provides the highest capacity of any batter mixer available on the market today, capable of mixing capacities up to 1400kg of batter per hour. Additionally, it also has variable batter level control for half-batch capabilities for end-of-day production runs, reducing batter wastage.

It can automatically monitor viscosity, eliminate lumps and mix different types of batter. For processors that need consistent batter viscosity, the ProMIX includes a viscosity control that monitors and maintains batter thickness to ±1percent from the set point.

There is also continuous batter recirculation to ensure product consistency and an electronic level probe to monitor batter level in the mixing tank. When batter or dry mix levels are low, a warning alarm alerts the operator. The open frame design eliminates surface areas where batter can build up, so reducing the possibility of product and bacteria harbourage.

Another important feature of the simplified design is the easy removal of the chain, sprocket and belt drives. Additionally, all the bearings are sealed and the ProMIX uses a single stainless steel pump for both viscosity measurement and batter transfer, which results in a system with fewer components, making it easier to clean and inspect.

High speed mixing

Spooner Vicars has introduced a new range of Pro Series High Speed Mixers for products including biscuit doughs, artisan breads, potato-based snacks and pet foods. New features include redesigned bowl tilt geometry, inverter drive and soft start options for the main beater drive, a wide range of control options and increased stainless steel construction.

The machine footprint is reduced by 24percent and the latest models can be individually programmed to suit a variety of mixing techniques. The design retains its patented 60degree twin helical type beater with fixed stator, or sprag, attached to the drum. The design emulates hand-mixing, stretching and kneading the dough. This means gluten development takes place sympathetically, avoiding the aggressive chopping and cutting actions of other systems.

During comparative tests with industry standard mixers, the twin helical beater dispersed ingredients evenly in half the time taken by conventional bar and

Z-type, sigma, beaters. This took 60percent fewer revolutions and provided improved accuracy of ingredients dispersal by 27percent.

Mixtures amounting to just 50percent of the dough bowl capacity can be efficiently processed, enabling doughs for smaller batches of products such as artisan breads to be economically high-speed mixed. For cookie doughs, inclusions such as chocolate chips are evenly dispersed within the dough inside 20­30seconds, minimising chip breakdown and dough smear.

A temperature sensor is located within the sprag, allowing the dough centre mass temperature to be recorded, for greater process control. The mixing bowl itself is supplied with an integral water jacket to facilitate stable control of the dough bowl temperature prior to mixing.

Control system options have been expanded, including programmable logic control for fully automatic mixing to a recipe, mixing to time, dough temperature, workload taken as the energy put into the mix and number of beater revolutions. This enables the mixer to be programmed to deliver a wide variety of mixing techniques and provide process optimisation and flexibility.

Sticky weigher

Ishida Europe is about to unveil a range of multihead weighers specially designed for wet or sticky foods and claimed to be the fastest and most accurate available.

The new R-series range combines unmatched levels of speed ­ up to 200weighings per minute on a 14-head single discharge machine ­ with further enhancements to accuracy, due to the development of a new algorithm, which the company says can perform combination calculations five times faster than previously possible, so cutting product giveaway to near zero.

It can be incorporated into the Retail Ready Line which provides an integrated, automated solution for the weighing and packing of fresh products into top sealed trays. The line comprises a tray denester, multihead weigher, checkweigher, tray sealer, metal detector, weigh price labeller, label verification and pick and place packer. Applications include meat, poultry, fish, ready meals and salads.

A series of reject systems automatically remove metal contaminated product, incorrectly labelled packs and incomplete Eurocrates without stopping the line.

For weighing cheese, Scanvaegt International claims that a major Dutch dairy has been able to reduce the average giveaway on its foiled cheese batching operations to as little as 1g per10kg batch through the installation of automated cheese batching equipment.

Labour costs have also been cut with the automation of the company's six batching and packing lines and it says this type of equipment often pays for itself within as little as four to six months.

The system is designed to solve a number of tasks in a fast integrated flow, such as automating the weighing of cheese along with automating grading after size or type. The batching of pieces into fixed-weight boxes means that damaged cheese or cheese with missing labels can be removed by the operator and the automated checkweighing will reject the underweight boxes. The system will then add another box to the batch automatically at high speed, to keep the capacity up to 200itemsper minute per line. In addition the system can be adapted and expanded with automatic metal detection or robot packing.

Faster weigher

Ossid Corporation has launched a completely redesigned weigher and labeller in order to deliver higher production speeds. Based on powerful Windows-based programming, the WPL-1500x is a fully automatic continuous motion weigher, pricer and labeller with a precision digital load cell. The system is available with a variety of printing options including bottom label applicators.

The WPL-1500x's side guide system maintains precise and consistent control of product as it moves continuously through the weigh and labelling stations. At the weigh station, data is captured and managed using a PC with Pentium technology, as well as wired and wireless Ethernet. A 15-in colour touch screen with intuitive user interface allows operators to quickly monitor the system.

Strong and weak areas of the line can be quickly and easily identified and adjusted so production levels can be controlled. Additionally, Ethernet connectivity allows the company to troubleshoot, upgrade software, monitor and run the system from any location in the world that has Ethernet access.

The WPL-1500x is capable of printing 21different bar code symbologies including 2D. Direct thermal and thermal transfer printing options are available.

For food analysis, XDS Process Analytics from Foss is a new generation, near infra-red (NIR) on-line analyser for analysis of solid, viscous and liquid food and agricultural products. It analyses products and ingredients directly in the process stream to deliver a continuous flow of results so managers can optimise production quality and output.

The company has also launched other new analysing solutions for food production applications, each harnessing the company's NIR-based technology aimed at providing more accurate feed-back for various processing techniques. All have been designed to make routine NIR analysis simple to perform and manage.

InfraXact Lab is a new generation NIR analyser for routine analysis of food and agricultural products. Features include automatic sample tracing using a programmable sample ID chip in the sample cup and automatic selection of the right calibration. A variation, the InfraXact Pro, has a built-in computer and touch screen for ease of operation in a production environment. It has a sealed enclosure for at-line use by operations personnel and is IP-65 certified for use in harsh production environments.





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