When Tyrolean specialty food producer Handl Tyrol GmbH upgraded its packing operations in Schönwies, they chose the totally new GEA PowerPak PLUS thermoformer for the job. Plant engineers didn’t experience any of the initial problems you would have expected during test operations. Efficiency and productivity were improved at a stroke with faster set up, simpler film changes, better packing quality and happy staff.

Customer profile

Handl Tyrol GmbH manufactures original Tyrolean bacon, ham, raw sausage and roast products at four production sites.  It is a fourth-generation family business, founded in 1902, with its headquarters in Pians, Tyrol. These original, natural and authentic products have become very popular and known far beyond their home region. Today the company employs around 600 people and exports its products worldwide.

"The new film unwinding system saves us time and material. Top and bottom films are threaded quickly and easily. No further adjustments need to be made. Film no longer goes to waste"Dieter Roos, Production Manager

The challenge

Handl Tyrol bacon packed on GEA PowerPak Plus

The company uses numerous GEA packaging lines to pack its bacon and raw sausage products, so the two organizations already had a close relationship giving GEA engineers a comprehensive understanding of the company, its culture and the challenge ahead.  It is part of the company philosophy always to use the latest technology, so it was natural for Handl to use the upgrade as a good opportunity to eliminate any inefficiencies in the process.  

For example, the products are packed in a wide range of pack weights and sizes so the company needed to minimize the changeover time; Modified Atmosphere Packing (MAP) was required to maintain consistent residual oxygen levels; the company wished to improve the quality of individual packs; product throughput needed to be increased; and the whole system should be easy to use, accessible and simple to clean as pieces of bacon and ham regularly fall onto the cube production line. 

The new GEA PowerPak PLUS thermoformer is a completely re-engineered version of the PowerPak product range that is trusted worldwide. GEA has made some fundamental modifications that have been driven by the findings of an extensive customer survey. The goal was to create a packaging system that would simplify processes and make them more efficient.

"We are completely satisfied. The GEA PowerPak PLUS thermoformer surpassed our expectations from day one"Dieter Roos, Production Manager

The right performance

Hardl Tyrol factory

The new packaging system went into production in July of 2018 operating five days a week in two shifts.  It packs bacon products in packs with two or four compartments. The line is made up of a multihead weigher, the GEA thermoformer, a high-performance GEA lane converger and a metal detector with check weigher.  “As we got ready to configure the machine, we made a list of specifications that the machine absolutely had to include,” said Dieter Roos, Production Manager.

The new thermoformer operates at 15 strokes per minute instead of ten and automatically adjusts for pack depth thereby reducing conversion time. The top and bottom films can be easily, quickly and safely unwound, saving time during the regular product changeovers. A groundbreaking film unwinding process allows adjustments to be made during operation, substantially improving pack quality and hygiene and reducing packaging waste by 75%. Downtime due to jammed or sticking rollers has been eliminated. The rollers are less prone to vibration and routine maintenance is easier. 

The new machine met all our expectations,” said Dieter Roos. “Setup times have been reduced, film changes are 70% faster and much simpler, packaging quality greatly improved and the operators are satisfied.”