GEA will present this year’s innovations in food processing and packaging exhibiting an integrated slicing/packaging line configured as a two-lane configuration for raw ham at interpack 2017. The line starts with a GEA DualSlicer including a new interleaver and works with GEA OptiScan scanning system. It consists of a GEA Check 4000 weigher and a GEA ShingleLoader 600 to deliver portions to the packaging section. It also features a new pre-diverger – patent pending – that combined with the diverger of the GEA ShingleLoader avoids empty packs. Packaging is carried out on a GEA PowerPak thermoformer.

Innovations for the perfect slice: GEA DualSlicer

Developed for integration into fully automated lines, the GEA DualSlicer consecutively slices two calibrated logs such as round sausage, or two uncalibrated logs such as cheese, cooked ham or raw ham. The latter applications is showcased in 2017. It delivers consistent slice quality and constant slice thicknesses – even with softer products – at an output of up to 1,600 kilograms per hour. Automatic product loading from the rear is fast, reliable and protects the product. GEA Senior Product Manager Slicing and Loading Norbert Brunnquell points out the technical objectives, “For a sliced food producer, the perfect slice is defined by low give-away and a high percentage of on-weight portions. This translates into high yield.” Thanks to a number of innovative features, GEA engineers could minimize idle cuts while improving product output.

Prime concern: high product utilization

GEA components – gripper, rotor head and positioning conveyor – are corresponding to maximize product utilization due to fewer idle cuts. Thanks to independent drives for each of its two grippers and an adjustable rotor head that works in combination with the three-stage-portioning conveyor, GEA DualSlicer keeps give-away low. When used with the GEA OptiScan, where two logs are simultaneously scanned using x-ray, the line achieves exceptionally high yield. Slice quality is further increased by the GEA DualSlicer’s ultra-stable and thin blade in combination with automatic shear-edge adjustment.

Due to the hygienic design in accordance to USDA guidelines GEA ensures optimal conditions for inspection and cleaning procedures: So the entire product contact areas are designed to provide access from all sides. Sloped surfaces ensure that water drains off easily during cleaning, belts and conveyors are easily dismounted, electrical and pneumatic units are separated from the food area.

GEA OptiScan: X-ray detects the unpredictable nature

Because natural products have inconsistent form and density, the GEA OptiScan 600 is a pre-scanner system that uses x-ray to detect irregular outer contours, holes, under slices and irregular distribution of fat and meat. It then calculates the ideal slice thickness and number of slices per portion prior to slicing.

High-performance interleaver

The slicer is equipped with a new interleaver that is designed to meet growing demands for higher speed, easy operation, reliability and ease of maintenance. It features two film drives that can work independently to enable it to work with natural product slices of different lengths. The blade speed is up to 1000 revolutions per minute with a stable paper shoot-out due to GEA’s patented shear edge design. Film rolls can be changed and jams can be cleared without stopping the slicer.

Patent pending: new GEA pre-diverger for GEA ShingleLoader

Another new feature on the GEA DualSlicer at interpack is its lane pre-diverger that avoids empty packs from the GEA PowerPak. In general it leads one lane to a center line, and therefore reduces the angle of movement required by the diverger and balancing products of different length. An example: When it comes to jam, one lane happens to be completely sliced while the second still provides complete portions. Being part of the ShingleLoader the lane diverger diverges product flow to the number of lanes needed to match the thermoformers die set configuration. The integrated twist-correction detects incorrectly oriented portions and corrects it where necessary.

Support throughout the entire life cycle of a plant and equipment

Tailor-made service addressing the customers’ needs help to maintain and even improve the performance of packaging technology in the long run. With several options of the new service concept “GEA Service – For your continued success” GEA supports customers throughout the entire life cycle of their installed systems and components: From project engineering, installation, and commissioning to maintaining and improving the performance of the customer’s plant and equipment.

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