GEA has presented its new 1000 mm wide GEA MaxiFormer rotary drum former at IFFA 2016. Able to produce products with excellent shape retention and weight accuracy, this new former is designed for high-volume production of natural looking chicken nuggets, popcorn, inner fillet/tender and steaks. It is suitable for continuous operation in 24 hour shifts with up to 40 hour runs. With the addition of the MaxiFormer, GEA can now supply a complete 1000 mm wide line solution comprising defrosting, grinding, mixing, forming, coating, frying, cooking, freezing and packing.
Rotary drum forming
Its innovative rotational forming technology comprises a product feeding device that fills the cavities in the drum. This drum features permanently fixed inserts with a porous material that enables product release (knock-out) to be carried out using only air. After knock-out, a conveyor transfers the formed products to downstream equipment. Direct loading to the 1000 mm wide line results in an optimal belt load and prevents ‘doubles’ occurring further down the line. The capacity is up to 7500 kilograms of formed product (with breaded nuggets).
Low pressure forming and compressed air knock-out
The GEA MaxiFormer applies low pressure to the meat, which results in a more consistent, higher quality formed product. In addition to this, the low pressure on the meat helps reduce product waste by reducing leakage (smearing). Efficient use of a compressed air pulse for knock-out, without using water ensures cleaner and quieter forming and lowers operating costs.
The GEA MaxiFormer has a maximum belt speed of 30 meters per minute, a maximum drum speed of 34 rpm (32 meters per minute) and operates at up to 340 strokes per minute. It is available in 600 and 1000 mm wide executions, and in addition to the MaxiFormer, the complete system includes a Handtmann vane pump (Handtmann is a GEA partner), MaxiDrum, and MaxiClean. Changeover of the drum is semi-automated. Running a 1000 mm wide forming line with the GEA MaxiFormer instead of two 600 mm wide formers is a cost-effective and space-saving solution for high volume production, and has the added advantage of not requiring a converger to bring the output stream of two formers to a single belt. The GEA MaxiFormer joins the range alongside the GEA MultiFormer and GEA FreshFormer, the plate forming solutions for lines where flexibility has priority over speed and capacity.