GEA showed a fully automated packaging line based on a GEA PowerPak thermoformer with 560 mm film width running a demonstration with a 100 gram pack at IFFA 2016. This machine also features a new tooling-free dieset changing system, non-destructive contactless residual oxygen measurement, a new generation GEA TiroLabel labeler and an end-of-line control system that significantly reduces manpower requirements.
The re-defined thermoformer range
Product manager Volker Sassmannshausen says, “We have re-defined the whole GEA PowerPak range to make it easier and more cost-effective for customers to compile a thermoformer for their specific application. They only select the functions they need and omit the ones they don’t use. However, the modular PowerPak platform makes it possible to field upgrade most functions if they become necessary in the future.”
The GEA PowerPak is a highly configurable and capable packaging machine for production lines with a high throughput or where products are frequently changed.
The thermoformer on the booth was equipped with GEA PowerChange, an optimized and easy to use tooling-free dieset changing system for the forming as well as the sealing station.
It also features GEA OxyCheck, the first system worldwide which is able to measure the oxygen content of each pack, inline in a packaging machine contact free and without destroying the package.
The line is configured with a PowerGuide lane converger and with GEA EasyCheck, a compact check weighing system with built in metal detector. GEA EasyCheck recognizes reliable products with metal decontamination and incorrect weights.
New generation GEA TiroLabel
The new generation TiroLabel labeler with printer is 25 % faster, and has a higher output thanks to an increase from 40 to 50 strokes. Due to this high speed, only one labeler is required instead of two, meaning the line can be up to two meters shorter, saving valuable floor space. The printer is fitted with its own drive and label buffer, making it highly effective for speed continuous operation with no need to stop to change label reels. Access for changing label rolls has also been increased. The printer can be controlled via its own seven-inch touch screen, or via the GEA PowerPak control system using recipes for the labels, printer and thermoformer. The drive uses servo motors instead of pneumatic cylinders, which enables the higher speeds. It also minimizes the risk that labels are not placed or are incorrectly positioned.
The end-of-line control system significantly reduces manpower requirements. Volker Sassmannshausen again, “The end-of-line is one of the few remaining areas where automation has yet to deliver significant cost savings. Upstream processes are already automated whereas downstream equipment still requires a lot of people. The new end-of-line control system changes this and can reduce labor costs by up to 50 %.” The system manages product changeovers and ensures seamless production flow. The system offers both manual and automatic operating modes, so the user can choose between local or central start/stop of every line component.