With its innovations in food processing and packaging GEA faced up to the urging matters of food producers: how to ensure food quality, how to improve and maintain plant performance and how to reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) by saving energy. On its stand GEA will present an integrated slicing/packaging line specified as a two-lane configuration for raw ham. While slicing is carried out on a GEA DualSlicer, packaging is done on a GEA PowerPak thermoformer equipped with a vision system, tool-free die changing, a new labeler, and a new end-of-line pick-and-place system. Highlight will be GEA OxyCheck, the world’s first inline oxygen measurement system for 100% quality control of MAP packages (Modified Atmosphere Package = MAP).

A new era for MAP packaging

GEA OxyCheck is the world’s first inline oxygen measurement system that checks every modified atmosphere package. The system uses a unique sensor spot printed on the inner side of a lidding film. The thermoformer-mounted optical sensors project light on the sensor spot and measure the wavelength of the light that fluoresces from the dye. GEA invented a methodology of translating the dye’s fluorescence to O2 content depending on the temperature. The novelty: The technology accurately measures the O2 content and seal integrity of every single MAP that leaves the thermoformer, without destroying in by a needle as has been done in the past. Costly and wasteful sample testing, that was being used for one percent of the packaging, can be avoided. As a non-invasive quality control system, the film and seal remain intact and neither product nor film material are wasted. Since only approved packages enter the supply chain, GEA can prevent from potential costly recalls for whole batches. Additional information about the quality control system is available on request.

Vision system for quality control

Another quality control enhancement at interpack is the new vision system for the GEA PowerPak. It identifies and rejects packs with no or incorrectly printed labels by comparing the packs with a master. Apart from that it confirms if the pack is correctly filled or if any product is contaminating the sealing edge. The high resolution optical recognition system is positioned on the GEA PowerPak after the GEA TiroLabel and prior to packs being separated.

Faster, more compact new generation GEA TiroLabel labeler

The GEA PowerPak thermoformer is also equipped with one of the latest generation GEA TiroLabel labelers. The labeler features GEA’s patented motor/finger system for placing labels on both the top and bottom film. A clear added value for the customer: For many applications, only one labeler is required instead of two reducing the investment for both labeler and thermoformer. Since the labeler is part of an integrated electrical cabinet and the thermoformer can be shortened by up to two meters, both require less space. The freed space in production can be converged for other purposes.

Compared to previous generations customers benefit from faster processing and less energy consumption: The GEA TiroLabel’s effective speed has been increased by up to 25 percent by increasing the maximum number of strokes from 40 to 50. The speed is also independent of print layout. Other enhancements include an integrated 7-inch touchscreen that makes it easier to modify the print layout and reduces the risk of operator errors. 

Tool-free dieset changing on the GEA PowerPak

The GEA PowerChange is an operator-friendly system that enables dieset changing of both the upper and lower parts of the forming and sealing stations without extra tools. Opening and closing is done without any pneumatic, hydraulic or electrical drive up to an index length of 800 millimeters. It is an easy, quick and reliable way to convert the thermoformer to other formats, and is typically 45 to 50 percent faster. It optimizes access to all parts of the dieset for revision, checking or cleaning, and simplifies changing the draw depth – the height of the packages, the number of package rows, dividers, finish and filling plates. The upper parts are hinged and can be tilted, and therefore stay on the machine.

New end-of-line pick-and-place system

The GEA CombiPick is a compact converger designed for small- to medium-speed applications on the GEA PowerPak thermoformer. It separates defective and empty packs, and has a single lane outfeed to feed subsequent machinery with only accurate products.

Support throughout the entire life cycle of a plant and equipment

Excellent equipment or plants are one thing, the right service is another. 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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