Ishida Europe has developed a ‘walking beam’ system that operates in conjunction with its QX 775 Traysealer to fill and seal pots of soup at 30 packs per minute at German food manufacturer Mico’s plant in Oederan, Saxony.
The range of soups, sold under the popular Suppina brand, comprises eight different varieties, including fish soljanka and pea soup, in single-serve plastic containers suitable for microwaving.
The empty pots arrive on the ‘walking beam’ (a metal bar), which is then moved to the filling position using precise servomotor control and with the nozzles just above the pot rims. In this position, filling with the hot soup can take place without any soup spilling over or splashing onto the rims, which might otherwise interfere with the sealing process.
The next movement of the walking beam system takes the filled pots to the traysealer infeed, for presentation to the sealing tool.
This is where the advantages of servo-control are most obvious: the pots can be lifted and moved forward at the same time, which in itself saves time. More importantly, the acceleration and deceleration of the movement can be programmed so that it takes place very smoothly, and as rapidly as possible, given the liquid nature of the product.
This combination of splash-free fill and spill-free movement means that the pots arrive at the sealing tool with their rims in perfect condition, making for a high-integrity seal.
Consumer appeal is further enhanced by the exceptionally neat ‘inside cut’ seal option available on the QX-775, which neatly cuts the film to seal it to the tray rim without any film sticking out. The tooling for the soup pots also includes a peel-off tap facility for easy opening by the consumer.
The sealed pots exit the traysealer and pass over an Ishida DACS checkweigher. Each pot is then fitted with a cardboard sleeve, which identifies the exact product while enhancing the overall branding of the distinctive red pots.
The Ishida packing line can be cleaned in just 20 minutes, thus reducing downtime, and can also be readily adapted to new products and different pack sizes, simply requiring a change of film and tooling.