Archive | Materials Handling

Goliath – A ‘Spirited’ Automation Systems Provider

Goliath Packaging Systems, in business since 2007, sources, supplies, installs & after-sales services a comprehensive range of End-of-Line Automation, Materials Handling & Industrial Washing equipment to the Irish Food/Beverage sector with recent projects successfully delivered for whiskey distillers such as Cooley Distillery (Beam Suntory), Bushmill’s plus William Grant & Sons amongst others.

The Goliath product range consists of the following distinct items:

  • Liquid Filling Systems
  • Shrink Wrapping, Banding & Over Wrapping
  • Cartoning
  • Case Erecting, Case Packing & Bag-in-Box Systems
  • Manual & High Speed Labelling Systems
  • Case Sealing
  • Conveying Systems
  • Pallet Inverting & Exchange (Fixed, Mobile & Automatic In-line)
  • Pallet Stacking / Handling
  • Scissors & Vacuum Lifting Systems
  • Materials Handling Systems (Reel, Drum & Product Manipulators)
  • Pallet Elevating Systems
  • Palletising Systems (Gantry, Articulated Arm & Layer types)
  • Stretch Wrapping
  • Strapping Systems (Case & Pallet)
  • Washing Systems (Bottle, Jar, Box, Tray, Drum, Pallet, Keg & IBC etc)
  • AGV Transport
  • Weighing Systems
  • X-Ray / Metal Detection.

Centrally located in Nenagh, County Tipperary, Goliath is less than two hours from all of the major markets, while trained engineers maintain spare parts and service all installed equipment with annual service contracts (reactive / preventative) available as preferred.

To discuss your particular packaging equipment needs, please contact Goliath as follows:

Name:                    Goliath Packaging Systems Ltd

Contact:                                George O’Leary

Position:                                Director

Address:                                Well Rd., Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

Tel / Fax:               067-37893 / 067-34794

Mobile:                  087-1222816



Posted in Automation, Materials Handling, Packaging0 Comments

What is Engineered Sustainability by Rexnord?

Sustainability is the capacity to endure. Engineered Sustainability by Rexnord is a product program to help you design durable conveyor systems with components that guarantee optimal product handling without compromising the ability to meet targets on safety improvement, increased productivity, water reduction and energy savings.

The program highlights the on-going commitment to creating and manufacturing environmentally-friendly conveyor equipment. Selecting the right conveyor equipment can deliver impressive energy reduction, water reduction and improved conveyor safety in comparison to more traditional conveyor concepts. Rexnord believes that everything starts with the voice of the customer. The products support customers’ goals and have been developed and manufactured in line with what customers need. KPI’s, safety goals and sustainability goals such as water usage in their production facilities are studied. All this information is the basis to define Rexnord’s strategy in this area.

The ‘Engineered Sustainability by Rexnord’ programme is now being successfully delivered and the upcoming BrauBeviale exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany is Rexnord’s latest opportunity to deliver its ‘Engineered Sustainability by Rexnord’ message. The booth at the trade show helps to illustrate what Rexnord can do to help. Customers and potential customers can test the conveyor equipment and see the real time energy savings. It’s a powerful way to show the advantages of working with Rexnord.

The company will also be launching two new conveyor chain designs, which have been created and manufactured with the same message in mind. The two new chains have been developed to deliver excellent benefits for both OEMs and end users, showing how environmentally-friendly advantages such as energy savings can be achieved. For example, the chains use a plastic that lowers friction as it is self-lubricating and the weight of the chain itself is also lowered.

Rexnord’s skilled engineers will help you obtain the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), resulting in significant cost savings by improving operational safety, efficiency and productivity.

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AmbaFlex – The Specialist in Spiral Conveyor Solutions

ambaflexnovember2016AmbaFlex is the partner for customised material handling systems based on spiral conveying technology! Its unique SpiralVeyor® is used in a wide range of markets and applications for vertical transportation, temporary storage and the accumulation of single goods and packed products.

AmbaFlex is an independent global company that has developed, produces and also maintains the SpiralVeyor® system to ensure that customers receive the most cost effective solutions available today.

Users all over the world already appreciate the level of quality AmbaFlex delivers and its proven experience in their markets. To maintain this leading and trendsetting position, AmbaFlex continuously invests in product innovation and the development of functional solutions in close co-operation with customers.

The SpiralVeyor® SVm-Series are wide belt spiral conveyors in the AmbaFlex SpiralVeyor® program and specially designed for the mass flow handling of liquid containers. The wide belt spiral is built up from multiple parallel tracks that form one conveyor belt (AmbaFlex MultiSpiral technology). The multiple belt track arrangement ensures a very large high pull strength for high load applications. Many other options are also available to customize / configure this spiral conveyor for specific applications and functions.

AmbaFlex Spiral Conveyor Solutions is exhibiting at Stand 258 in Hall 7 at Brau Beviale 2016. For further information visit

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Conveyor Systems Ltd – IMHX 2016 – Exhibitor Profile

Conveyor Systems Ltd offer an array of engineering expertise and a wealth of experience in materials handling solutions however complex, tailored to suit customer’s individual requirements in a wide range of industries.

At CSL we have a comprehensive range of conveyor equipment to provide complete automated turnkey materials handling systems, including design, installation and commissioning conveyors with integrated controls and software. We also incorporate full project management to co-ordinate our mechanical and electrical conveyor installation teams in-line with the customers overall project program.

CSL offer simple, high quality modular conveyors to integrate and interface with other OEM machinery such as packaging and label application machines, wrappers, palletisers and other associated equipment. This is often coupled with state of the art PLC/Computer based systems to integrate the operation whilst providing management data for traceability/logistics etc.

IMHX is the largest meeting place for the UK’s logistics industry. Next month over 20,000 logistics and supply chain professionals will gather to evaluate cutting edge technologies, explore the latest industry solutions and discuss how to increase efficiencies within supply chain operations.

IMHX 2016 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 13th-16th September. Demand for stand space has been exceptional and IMHX 2016 will be the biggest and most comprehensive in the show’s history with over 400 exhibitors!

Posted in Automation, Control & Automation, End of Line, Industry, Logistics, Materials Handling, Processing, Processing Equipment, Supply chainComments Off on Conveyor Systems Ltd – IMHX 2016 – Exhibitor Profile

Sterilizer Cleared Out!

AmbaflexLogoAugust2016At an Indonesian production site of the world’s leading dairy food brand, sterilized milk is produced in huge quantities. As usual in a production plant of that size, efficiency needs to be continuously optimized.

AmbaflexSpiralAugust2017The ready to drink milk is canned and sterilized before secondary packing. But if the downstream tray packing equipment fails, the sterilizer needs to be cleared of products immediately. If not, the temperature will damage them and at least 24,000 cans will have to be discarded as waste, costing a huge amount of money in product loss and disposal costs, as well as the resulting hours of down time before restart.

However, there was a contradiction in the requirements; a huge storage capacity for inline storing of all the cans while the actual space was limited.

AmbaFlex therefore proposed their AccuVeyor AVo concept as the solution. This consists of two SpiralVeyor  SVm mass flow spiral conveyors positioned inline and parallel to the normal flow. In case of a downstream stoppage now, the complete contents of the steriliser is cleared out of the system. Then, when downstream processes are up and running again, the cans are automatically fed back into the packing flow without any manual intervention.

The total AVo system utilises a belt which is 120 meters long and 500mm wide. This is enough to store 24,000 cans on just 8 square meters of floor space, thus achieving both of the customer’s objectives!! The total unit is 4.6 meters high and represents a good example of how to utilize the free space available in the third dimension.

One more proof of AmbaFlex’s leading position in Spiral Conveyor Solutions!

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IMHX 2016 Showcases the Latest Materials Handling and Supply Chain Solutions

Logistics and materials handling touch everyone’s lives – whatever is purchased be it online, in store or delivered from a wholesaler. That’s why IMHX, the UK’s leading logistics exhibition taking place at Birmingham’s NEC from 13th to 16th September, is a must-attend event.

Sponsored by financial services provider Investec, IMHX 2016 will reflect every aspect of 21st century intralogistics. Present at the show will be over 100 suppliers of forklift trucks and associated products and services, over 30 supply chain and warehouse IT providers, in excess of 40 suppliers of automation solutions, over 25 companies working in packaging and well over 60 general materials handling exhibitors.

The regional heats of the RTITB Operator of the Year return to IMHX in 2016. This is held every three years to find the best forklift operator in the country.

The Design4Safety awards, organised by the British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), will also be part of IMHX 2016. The aim of the awards is to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. Enter by visiting

Demonstration Zone and Supply Chain IT Village

There will also be a Demonstration Zone where manufacturers will be putting their trucks and equipment through their paces, showing their capabilities and versatility.

IMHX2July2016IT solutions are playing a growing role in the supply chain and in response to these developments for the first time IMHX will feature a dedicated Supply Chain IT Village. Among those exhibiting will be Proteus Software which specialises in providing Warehouse Management Systems (WMS).

David Bugden of Proteus says: “IMHX is the event for anyone involved in logistics and supply chain and this is our fifth time attending. The new IT Village provides a great platform for technology providers to meet potential customers and showcase new innovative developments.”

Future Skills Zone

Also for the first time ever this year at IMHX we are pleased to announce a Future Skills Zone highlighting the careers available to young people in Britain’s logistics sector, and featuring leading employers from across the sector.

IMHXLogoJuly2016The Future Skills Zone at IMHX will show the brightest and the best that they don’t need to choose university as their route to a good career – and that a vocational route can take them into highly skilled managerial positions.

Leading companies across the UK are crying out for ambitious and motivated young people to take on interesting and challenging roles in logistics and allied industries and those participating in the Zone include leading forklift truck manufacturers Toyota Material Handling, and Linde Material Handling, whose apprentices will be stripping down and rebuilding a vehicle, Crown and Jungheinrich.

IMHX3July2016Within the Future Skills Zone there is also a Future Skills Presentation Theatre which will feature a series of presentations from young aspiring logisticians who will provide insight into what a logistics career path can offer. Presentations from XPO Logistics and Widdop & Co are already scheduled, with others being confirmed shortly.

The former BITA Academy, now the new Forklift Training Engineering Centre (F-TEC), the industry’s training centre for apprentices and engineers, will also be providing information on apprenticeships. 

Aftersales Director for Linde Material Handling UK, Mark Sullivan, says: “As a business, it’s so important for us to invest heavily in future generations, and create a highly diverse and skilled workforce. Participating in the Future Skills Zone enables us to demonstrate the role we can play in harnessing talent. We’re delighted to be part of it.”

As you can see there is plenty going on over the four days of the show – and with over 400 exhibitors expected to attend, IMHX 2016 is on track to be the biggest ever. To find out more go to

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Span Tech Europe Offers State-of-the-art Conveying Solutions

Already a leader in the North American market, Span Tech is now offering its unique belts and conveying systems to food processors in Europe. Span Tech’s almost 40 years of experience and expertise extends from primary to secondary packaging, packed and unpacked products, trays and case handling from meat, dairy, frozen foods and specialty baking, up to fresh and convenience foods.

Span Tech conveyor systems are able to eliminate product damage while improving throughput and maximizing the production process, eliminating production break downs and the need for continuous maintenance. In addition to its well proven conveying technologies, Span Tech has also engineered unique solutions in transfer technology, accumulating, merging, dividing, inclining, vertical conveying, depositing, rejecting and reclaiming.

European Business

Having set up its European business in 2011, Span Tech is now well established in northern European, especially in Benelux, Scandinavia, France and Germany. “We are now approaching the UK and southern Europe where we already have several installations,” points out Enrico Berlenghi, EMEA Director of Span Tech. “From 2016, we intend to approach the Middle East from which we have received some interesting enquiries.”

SpanTech4July2015Span Tech Europe works exclusively via its partners that are OEMs and integrators. Its systems are currently in operation within many of the major food groups, including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever, P&G, FSB, Conagra, Haribo, Delifrance, Santa Maria, McKey, Mondelez, Coca Cola and McCain.

“Span Tech Europe has grown every year by 30% since opening. We now have spare parts and service in Europe, and are currently investigating the start-up of a production facility in Europe as well,” says Enrico Berlenghi.

Tailored Approach

Key to Span Tech Europe’s success is that it tailors its systems to the precise needs of each customer. “Our engineers always start by adapting our systems to the specific requirements of the product(s), not the other way around,” he explains. “Span Tech Europe conveyors work flawlessly from day one, and they keep on working five to seven times longer than most of our competitors. Our systems require very little or no maintenance. Many of our clients often do not even recall that they have Span Tech Europe conveyors, as they perform exactly as they are supposed to.”

Another key benefit to users of Span Tech Europe conveyors is that cleaning is quite simple as the belt and sprockets are easily removable. Maintenance, when required, is similarly straightforward. The chain can be opened at any point with a standard screwdriver and the sprockets can be replaced without removing the drive shaft. The modular design allows for standardization of replacement parts.

“The industry is continuously changing, new products are constantly being developed, and we adapt to these new products and new product handling demands,” says Enrico Berlenghi. “The industry is paying more and more attention to maintenance costs, and this is why ‘once you go Span Tech you never go back’.”

SpanTech2Juy2015Continuous Innovation

Span Tech has a strong record of continuous innovation in order to meet the changing needs of food processors as they adapt to the demands of consumers.

“We differentiate from our competitors by continuously developing new solutions and customizations, and adapting our solutions to the product’s needs. The conveyors can be combined for near infinite possibilities, with multiple chain types available for even more variety. We develop completely customized systems based on the product requirements.”

For example, Span Tech’s latest development is an entirely new concept in sanitary/hygienic conveying systems, which will be launched later this year.

According to Enrico Berlenghi, the quality of Span Tech conveyors gives the company a distinct competitive edge in terms of performance and cost. “Our conveyors are more durable than competing conveyors. Large portions of original chain are still running on conveyors that have operated six days a week for years, even in areas with high levels of contaminants.” The EMEA Director of Span Tech concludes: “Our outstanding quality gives to our customers the most reliable solutions, and does so with the lowest cost of ownership.”

For further information visit

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Rexnord Introduces New 1005 XLBP-series MatTop® Accumulation Chain

RexnordJanuary2016The trend for packages in the food and beverage industry towards the use of lighter and more delicate packaging materials is ongoing. This drives the need for new conveying solutions that ensure optimal pack handling with the lowest risk of damage to the packs. At the same time these new conveying solutions need to contribute to important sustainability goals, such as conveyor safety improvement and energy saving. Rexnord is proud to introduce the new 1005 XLBP-series MatTop® accumulation chain for packs to address these needs.


Conveyors equipped with traditional “LBP” (Low Backline Pressure) chains, can create a potential safety hazard at the transfers between conveyors, where the chain opens and closes, due to gaps that form between the rollers on the chain links. This forces OEM’s and end-users to install safety precautions in the packaging area, to ensure no workers can get their fingers or clothes trapped between the chain and conveyor at any time.  The new 1005 XLBP series has been designed to optimize the safety of the conveyor system, by reducing the gaps between the rollers by 50% at the transfers. The rollers are made in a bright lime-green colour, to increase the visibility of the moving parts on the conveyor.

Protection of the packs

A complaint often heard at end-users, is that many plastic rollers on LBP conveyor chains do not rotate easily or even get stuck over time, which can cause a dramatic increase of backline pressure on the packs during accumulation. As a result, packs get damaged and the energy consumption of the drive motors will go up, as will the Total Cost of Ownership of the conveyor line. The 1005 XLBP chain offers a solution to these issues:  the rollers combine a 30% lighter rotation on the shaft, with less chance for contamination to end up in the rollers or between the rollers and the chain module. This ensures the lowest backline pressure on the packs and minimal energy consumption of the conveyor over time.

Lower energy consumption

Most end-users have a sustainability target to reduce energy consumption in all areas in their plants. In the packaging area it is not uncommon to have a great number of conveyor drives, since the packs have to travel a long distance from the packers to the palletizers. The power consumed by each conveyor is determined by the total weight of the chain plus the packs, multiplied by the friction factors and the speed. Since the weight of the packs and the speed is a given, Rexnord 1005 XLBP has a reduced chain weight of 40% compared to traditional modular LBP chains. In combination with the 30% lower friction between the packs and the chain during accumulation, this will translate into direct energy savings on each drive motor. In case line control permits, it is even possible to reduce the total number of drives required, since the conveyor lengths can be extended.

Innovative leader

Rexnord holds an unmatched track record of innovative conveying solutions for the food and beverage industry that have defined the new industry standards since 1938. Starting with the first metal TableTop® chains to engineered plastics to magnetic corner tracks (Magnetflex®). The 1005 XLBP Series MatTop chain is the latest addition to the Rexnord portfolio and has all the features to set the new standard for LBP (“Low Backline Pressure”) conveyor chains for the coming years.

For more information, please contact Rexnord at +31 174 445 111 or visit

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Innovation in Action – SpiralVeyor® SVs For Primary Packages!

AmbaFlex, the global leader in spiral conveyor solutions, has just supplied 12 narrow belt SpiralVeyors from its SVs series for installation at the facilities of a leading global snack manufacturer in Mexico.

The units will elevate tall standing packages of savoury crackers from just behind the primary packer. The AmbaFlex units have been chosen by this multinational because their compact build and high uptime. The SVs series is the smallest narrow width spiral conveyor in the extensive SpiralVeyor® family. It comes with narrow width belt of 100mm (4”) or 140mm (5.5”).

AmbaFlexFebruary2016It is unique because the smallest diameter is just under one meter (3ft). And, as standard with AmbaFlex, it can carry high loads at high speeds and can easily cross multiple floor levels in one go. It has been designed as an elevator, portal or accumulator for primary packing lines. Its applications can range from drinks, food packing and cosmetics up to assembly lines.

AmbaFlex has been supplying very compact units since the late 1990s and hundreds are already in use worldwide. However, this order is quite significant because the units are equipped with some new features that broaden the scope of the applications.

First of all, the product transfer is now driven, allowing even the smallest packages to be transferred onwards and head to head. This reduces the length of the line as its makes parallel transfers superfluous. It also improves the product handling and takes away any final risk regarding product-marking. Another special feature is the endless stainless steel 50mm plate guides that are now standard on these units. Last but not least, a hygienically designed support construction is part of the configuration to comply with the especially high cleanliness standards of this customer.

This configuration is standardized and sold under the name SpiralVeyor® PackLift; ‘enabling 3-dimensional primary pack flow’.

One more proof of AmbaFlex’s leading position in Spiral Conveyor solutions.

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AmbaFlex Spiral Conveyor Solutions – Hall 7 stand 258 at BrauBeviale 2015

SpiralVeyor® BottleLift - enabling 3-dimensional liquid container flow.

SpiralVeyor® BottleLift – enabling 3-dimensional liquid container flow.

Changing markets require lines for liquids to become ever-more flexible and faster. But at the same time, it’s hard to compromise between changing production needs and your given space constraints. However, there is always a strong need for more effective connections and the most obvious way is to utilise the 3rd dimension. But traditional methods of elevating, accumulating or storing a product flow vertically require space that is often not available, or is not flexible, scalable or continuous.

An option that is gaining in popularity is the spiral conveyor belt, and in particular the SpiralVeyor® by AmbaFlex. Since AmbaFlex invented the spiral conveyor, the company has evolved from a pioneer to market leader. Even though thousands of AmbaFlex SpiralVeyors are now used around the world, the company continues to innovate. AmbaFlex focuses solely on specialized conveyors. A spiral conveyor solution especially designed for each of your applications.

The SpiralVeyor® BottleLift is a specially configured spiral conveyor that is used to elevate or store flows of liquid container items of all kinds. The SpiralVeyor® program is very extensive and features conveyors that are tailored to every application. Fitted with an ultra-flat, medium-friction belt as standard, but also available with a non-friction or high-friction belt if the application so demands. A standard range of belt widths that cover most liquid container needs. A choice of 100 or 140 mm belts have been selected for the Liquid Container Lift configuration.


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Perfect solutions for every supply chain: Schütz at FachPack 2015

At the trade show in Nuremberg, the global player will be presenting innovations and tried and tested classic products. The highlights are the new IBC standards for the highest food safety and risk minimisation as well as innovative solutions for optimum packaging and process support for highly viscous filling goods.

IBC with integrated impeller: With this self-contained packaging system, after filling, the container remains permanently closed and sealed all along the supply chain until the product is to be used.

IBC with integrated impeller: With this self-contained packaging system, after filling, the container remains permanently closed and sealed all along the supply chain until the product is to be used.

Selters (hds).– Each filling good has its characteristic properties and each supply chain has its individual challenges. Packaging has to be perfectly designed to fulfil these requirements. Schütz will be presenting its range of specially tailored products for a wide range of specifications and different industries at booth 6-357, Hall 6, from 29 September until 1 October at the FachPack 2015 show in Nuremberg. The trade show for packaging, technology, processing and logistics is the premier European get-together for the packaging industry. This year, 1,500 exhibitors will be showing the anticipated 37,000 trade visitors the latest developments on the market.

Integrated impeller provides contamination-free stirring

The new impeller, a disposable stirrer specially designed by Schütz that is firmly attached to the screw cap of the IBC, is the answer to the need for a closed packaging system. The screw cap with the integrated impeller is pre-installed in the filling opening of the IBC during production. To fill the IBC, the system is either briefly removed or it remains – depending on the filling process and container configuration – in place. After it has been filled, the IBC can remain permanently closed and sealed throughout the supply chain, including the stirring process, until the product is used. Inserting the stirrer of a stationary or mobile mixing system always presents a potential contamination risk, as contamination can occur every time the packaging is opened and every time it comes into contact with other materials. Schütz’s latest development prevents this from happening.

To stir the contents a conventional stirrer drive is used; it is attached to the impeller with a suitable adapter. The drive is placed above the cap and is fixed in place on the steel cage with the aid of a frame. The drive shaft locks into the bung of the screw cap which transmits the rotation via fixed rods to the impeller inside the container. On the booth, a transparent element in the inner bottle of the model will allow trade show visitors to see the new component at work inside an IBC.

The system is also extremely practical when it comes to emptying: aeration takes place through the impeller opening in the screw cap, meaning that it is not necessary to open a further bung while the stirring drive is attached.

As the impeller system is a disposable system, the risk of contamination due to residues of other products on the stirrer can be completely eliminated. There is no need for time-consuming cleaning, thus avoiding the costs associated with this step. Empty IBCs including the impeller are collected by the Schütz Ticket Service; as part of the reconditioning process, the inner bottle and impeller are recycled into HDPE granulate. This material is reused in Schütz’s products, for example as plastic palettes, thus helping to protect the environment.

The Schütz impeller system is available for all 1,000 and 1,250 litre Ecobulk variants and it fits the filling openings DN 150 and DN 225. The entire component is made of HDPE, so that the filling good does not come into contact with steel, a further advantage that ensures full product hygiene.

ECOBULK HX: right down to the last drop

Schütz will be also presenting the Ecobulk HX, a unique combination IBC designed especially for highly viscous filling goods. One of the greatest challenges with these products is to avoid residues in packaging. Such unused quantities are an economic loss as the product remaining in the packaging cannot be processed or used. To support this process Schütz has developed the new Ecobulk HX. This IBC has a sloping bottle with a closed, stable supporting cushion, optimised outlet geometry and a low-lying discharge tap to enable residual emptying below 0.3 litres, even for viscous filling goods. A model at the trade show will demonstrate in detail this special product design for optimised residual emptying.

Not every container will allow the filling good to be stirred with a conventional agitator prior to usage. Additionally, until now the residual volume that still enabled good stirring results was relatively high. In contrast, the HX has a DN 225 filling opening which allows industrial stirrers to be used without any problem: the special shape of the inner bottle guarantees optimum stirring results even with small residual quantities of around 50 litres. Optionally, the HX can be fitted with the integrated Schütz Impeller in order to protect the filling good from contamination along the entire supply chain, from filling to stirring and to discharge. If required, the HX can also be supplied in a version that is suitable for use in ex-zones.

Foodcert: Highest level of food safety and risk minimisation

Trade visitors from the food and pharmaceuticals industries will be very interested in the Schütz Foodcert models. Based on the system certification in accordance with FSSC 22000 they provide comprehensive material, product and process safety, thus setting new standards for food safety in the packaging industry. Schütz has implemented a wide range of stringent preventive measures for the production of the new Foodcert IBCs and drums in order to rule out contamination from the very beginning. This means they comply with the significantly higher demands of producers and consumers for safety, and they also go far beyond the usual exclusive focus on the materials used of the FDA standard. This packaging is produced to customer specifications and just-in-time, and is seamlessly traceable.

Cleancert for flawless quality

Particular preventive measures on the Cleancert line: Preproduced components,  such as screw caps, for instance, are hygienically wrapped until required for  final assembly. Staff wear protective clothing in accordance with detailed  hygiene regulations.

Particular preventive measures on the Cleancert line: Preproduced components,
such as screw caps, for instance, are hygienically wrapped until required for
final assembly. Staff wear protective clothing in accordance with detailed
hygiene regulations.

The Cleancert IBC on display at the show is ideally suited for quality-sensitive media where safety and technical hygiene are essential, e.g., coatings for the automotive industry. As a crucial link between the production and final processing of filling goods, industrial packaging is an important quality factor. For example, a car coating is only a tenth of a millimetre thick, which is the thickness of a human hair. Even the smallest speck of contamination, for instance silicone oils, fats, lubricants or release agents, will cause craters which compromise the protective function of the coating. This results in numerous follow-on processes which generate considerable additional costs. Risk minimisation is of crucial importance in the production of Cleancert products. This aspect is subject to continuous controls, thus guaranteeing full material, product and process safety from A to Z. Every component and every step in the production process is absolutely free of silicone.

Naturally, Schütz’s classic products will also be on display at this summit meeting of the packaging industry: a wide choice of PE and steel drums from the company’s extensive range, including the universally suitable F1 tight-head drums in the Foodcert and Cleancert versions, will also be exhibited on the booth, as well IBCs with an EVOH barrier. Embedded in the container wall they provide secure protection against permeation, e.g. as a barrier against ambient gases such as oxygen and nitrogen (blanketing), as a flavour and aroma barrier, as a barrier against solvents (toluene, xylene, MEK, benzene) and oils and fats. Thanks to their special characteristics, Schütz EVOH IBCs can also be used in applications that until now were exclusively served by other systems, predominantly stainless steel.

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Introducing the New Bottle Conveyor From Gebo

Bottle conveyor manufacturer Gebo has unveiled the K110 universal guiding system. Gebo’s new bottle conveyor builds on the company’s acknowledged expertise in the field, offering a robustness which far outstrips that required for the PET business, as well as two innovative features which set a new standard for conveying expertise.

This new bottle guidance mechanism represents a major improvement on the existing technology, offering superior robustness, flexibility and hygiene.

The guide rail’s low contact point allows for maximum bottle stability, with the ability to handle all major bottle formats. Crucially, this profile height of 110mm avoids any potential damage to the labels. The new conveyor also offers greater flexibility than ever before: not only can the K110 system handle all glass bottle formats, it can also be easily and rapidly adjusted to convey cans and PET containers.

The Gebo bottle conveyor is calibrated for smooth, continuous and symmetrical bottle handling. Its simple, flexible geometrical design allows for easy bending on-site, allowing users to tailor the installation to fit the layout constraints of their production facilities. The component materials have also been selected for their superior technical performance, with enhanced use of PEHD 1000 M-Slide plastic for optimal thermal and mechanical stability.

The conveyor has been designed and constructed with impeccable hygiene in mind, with no visible threads on the guide supports and potential fluid retention zones kept to a strict minimum.

This commitment to flawless hygiene is also reflected in the Gebo bottle conveyor’s intelligent new leg design, with minimised retention zones and channels ensuring that lubrication water is rapidly and efficiently drained away to the drip trays.

This new leg setup also offers an unprecedented level of stability, with super-sturdy cross-triangulation and optimized weight distribution allowing for smooth, symmetrical conveying in even the most challenging conditions.

Product manager Vincent Piron is looking forward to introducing clients to the next generation of Gebo conveyors: “This system represents a major step forward in our glass bottle conveying capabilities, a sector that is still at the very heart of our company’s identity. At the same time, the superb flexibility and durability of this unit goes to show just how broad Gebo’s expertise is: we now offer can, glass and plastic solutions across all categories, capable of delivering excellent results in any conditions.”

With this conveyor, brewers will once again enjoy the high standard of quality and solidity they require and for which Gebo was historically renowned, in an industry where the robustness constraints are higher than in the PET business. Easy to set up, hygienic and extremely flexible – the new Gebo bottle conveyor looks set to become an indispensable tool for busy breweries worldwide.

For more information about Gebo Cermex, visit

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The Ultimate in Belting Hygiene

EneJuly2015When considering food safety in terms of production, the critical component of any conveyor is the belt. The prime challenge is to use a conveying medium that takes hygiene to its practical limit. ENE Ltd, Ireland’s leading food conveyor manufacturer, is familiar with the challenge and has discovered a belting solution that leaps over the heads of all other belt solutions.

ENE Ltd is the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for the Mafdel range of hygienic PositiveBelt and Deldrive belts. It is no accident that ENE Ltd frequently fits these cutting edge belts to many of its own products. Mafdel solid belts do not have the plies, threads, joins, or cracks that harbour dangerous bacteria or contaminants. The Deldrive and Positivebelts are constructed of solid Polyurethane or Polyester which is durable and easy to maintain. All Mafdel products come with complete EU certification for both material and product.

A significant feature is that the Deldrive product will retrofit most existing modular conveyors with only a change of sprockets required. For further information contact ENE Ltd on 02840 622215, email  or visit

Posted in Food Hygiene, Materials HandlingComments Off on The Ultimate in Belting Hygiene

SpiralConnect Solution Cuts Costs and Issues

A leading Italian integrator specialised in the water and soft drinks market recently installed a clever solution. By utilising AmbaFlex’s flexible solutions for their belts, they reduced the total cost of ownership (TCO) as well as their initial investment.

Thanks to this solution, a well-known Polish bottler of spring water to the retail market has now taken advantage of the cost saving benefits of the simple solution itself. By cutting out the belt transfers and drives, the solution eliminates the bottle necks traditionally associated with conventional solutions. The result is higher uptime, better space utilisation and simplified maintenance, all of which reduce the total cost of ownership significantly. Apart from these future savings, installation, wiring and control costs can also be taken out of the initial investment.

The system can elevate up to 80 bottle packs per minute over 2.4 meters. The packs are 33 and 50cl PET in packs ranging from 4 to 9 bottles. The system is the combination of two clever AmbaFlex solutions. The first clever element is the dual lane SpiralVeyor® that AmbaFlex invented some 10 years ago and consisting of two 400mm wide belts, with separately controlled spiral belts for elevation.

AmbaFlexLogoThe secondly clever element in the solution is a “SpiralConnect”. This feature extends the lower end of this SpiralVeyor® up to the exact connection with the upstream conveyors. There was also no need for the integrator to design any special curved conveyors behind their packers. The integrated solution, with one ongoing belt for both connecting and spiral elevation, is available uniquely from AmbaFlex and comes in every configuration imaginable.

One more proof of AmbaFlex’s leading position in Spiral Conveyor solutions.


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New CEO at Logitrans

Erling Pedersen, who has been working at Logitrans through the last 46 years and through most of them as President, will as per 1 May 2015 hand over this function to his daughter, Gitte Kirkegaard Berg, Sales Director at Logitrans. The third generation will thereby be head of the management. The company is family owned and founded by the parents of Erling Pedersen, Ingrid and Nis Andersen Pedersen on 1 May 1940.

Dorte Pedersen, also daughter of Erling Pedersen, is Production Director of Logitrans in Denmark and General Manager of Logitrans in China. Together Dorte and Gitte will constitute the management of Logitrans.

“Our father was born to take over our company and from a very young age he helped everywhere in the company. He knows every corner of the company and every screw on the products. He has a unique knowledge about products and customers – and about the link between product development and customer requirement. It should be no secret that this combination will be one of the largest challenges for us to handle in future”, Gitte Kirkegaard Berg says.

”Dorte and I are often asked whether it has always been planned that we should take over the company. It has not! We are three sisters, and I am sure that our father did not take for granted that we wanted to join the family company”, Gitte Kirkegaard Berg continues.

Both Dorte and Gitte are engineers, and it was therefore natural for them to join the company. Furthermore Gitte has completed an MBA in management. Dorte and Gitte have been employed in the company for 14 and 12 years respectively, and have since 2012 been main shareholders of the company. “We have during the years been involved in many different processes in the company, and we therefore feel ready and prepared to take over the management”, Gitte Kirkegaard Berg continues.

“Our father is not so easy to retire, and he has an intrinsic spark to continue working. Therefore he will still work in the company and will in future focus even more on product development and quality, as well as sales in China”, says Gitte Kirkegaard Berg.

”I look very much forward to taking over the CEO function and to leading on the values of my grandparents and parents. I want to ensure the continued development of Logitrans. I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead on such an old company, and I will do it my way and with respect for the fundamental culture, characterising our company and making us unique”, Gitte Kirkegaard Berg ends the interview.

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75 years of innovation and tradition – Logitrans A/S celebrates 75 years anniversary…

The Danish manufacturer of material handling equipment, Logitrans A/S, celebrates its 75 years anniversary on 1 May 2015.

Logitrans was founded in a little smithy in 1940, and until 2002 the company was called Nisap Maskinfabrik. The beginning during the war was tough, and for the founders, Ingrid and Nis A. Pedersen, the war came close – both in the smithy and in the residence buildings.

However, the general attitude to life both in the smithy and in the residence buildings was from the beginning positive and characterised by a unique pioneering spirit. In her memories Ingrid describes the first years like this: “We had good neighbours, and when the streets started smelling of burned rye, we knew that we would soon gather for a cup of substitute coffee and barley meal bread. We learned to appreciate the good people, living around us, in a time when the world was out of order.”

Nis was creative and solution oriented and had a special interest in hydraulics and mechanics! He worked persistently with all requests and inquiries from the fishing industry and agriculture. From 1970, he started using his interest in hydraulic solutions to develop and manufacture material handling equipment, e.g. pallet trucks, highlifters and stackers.

From a young age Erling Pedersen, son of Nis and Ingrid Pedersen, helped everywhere in the company, and it was soon evident that he was to take over the company. Since 1975 he has been the CEO. He has continued working in the spirit of his father: Developing and designing unique products solving handling requirements of the customers. Focus is always on ergonomics, well-being and optimum working conditions of the users, when developing products and this continually contributes to increase efficiency and work satisfaction in the companies.

Through all these years, the company has been developing rapidly. Steadily, the share of exports has grown, and today more than 90% of the production is exported to more than 55 countries worldwide.

In celebration of the anniversary, Logitrans has made an exhibition in the factory, showing many of the unique products, developed and manufactured over the last 75 years.

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Swisslog acquires technologies and employees from Grenzebach Automation GmbH in the areas of AGVs and logistics robots

Swisslog has acquired a carefully selected portfolio of technologies and employees from Grenzebach Automation GmbH in Karlsruhe, Germany to strengthen its expertise in the areas of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and logistics robots. This acquisition dovetails with Swisslog’s strategy of expanding it’s positioning in the e-commerce and omni-channel segments and pursuing opportunities in the field of production logistics.

Following an existing partnership between the two companies, Swisslog acquired intellectual property from Grenzebach Automation GmbH on 16 April 2015. This includes software technology in the areas of: AGVS – including the jointly developed mobile storage and picking system CarryPick®, automated case picking, automated item picking, palletizing and de-palletizing.

Grenzebach engineers to join Swisslog

A select team of Grenzebach employees will transfer to Swisslog and form a new Swisslog location in Karlsruhe, Germany, headed by Dr. Volker Jungbluth.

Swisslog is looking forward to utilizing the experience and exceptional knowledge their new colleagues have in research and development, as well as in application development, solution design and technical sales. The expanded cooperation between Swisslog and Grenzebach as partners means that customers will continue to receive optimal support from a highly qualified team.

Prepared today for the challenges of tomorrow

Swisslog is already playing a key role in shaping the future of intralogistics. Best-in-class technologies combined with expert knowledge will continue to translate into progressive solution concepts for our customers. In the near future, humans and robots will interact and collaborate seamlessly in Intralogistics optimizing processes. In light of these developments, Swisslog’s acquisition of AGV and logistics robot technologies is another logical step toward becoming an automation powerhouse.

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DELIVERING WORLD-CLASS CHOCOLATES: Caffarel partners with Ammeraal Beltech

Caffarel chocolates Premium Ropanyl beltCaffarel, one of the world’s leading, long-established chocolatiers, is the creator of the delicious Piedmontese gianduiotto boat-shaped chocolate – a confection which, once fashioned, must be carefully conveyed for individual foil wrapping.   This function is today performed in Caffarel’s kitchens in partnership with Ammeraal Beltech – global specialists in conveyor belt systems, particularly for the food industry.   Caffarel (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lindt & Sprüngli group) is one of the very first companies to enjoy the benefits of the latest innovation from Ammeraal Beltech:  Premium Ropanyl Belts – just launched at the Cibus 2014 International Food Exhibition in Italy.


Food-safe and functional

The features of the versatile Premium Ropanyl Belts are ideally suited to the needs of master chocolatiers like Caffarel.   They are thin, very flexible, shrink-free, non-fray, non-stick, and smooth-running, and meet all the strict hygiene requirements of the food industry.   These are properties particularly valued for the consistent conveying of delicate bakery and confectionery items, as Flavio Falco, Maintenance Manager at Caffarel, confirms.   ‘The new Premium Ropanyl Belts enable us to make our lovely confections at modern production speeds, without compromising their quality in any way’, says Mr Falco, adding that ‘they are proving to be an ideal solution for carrying our chocolates, undamaged, to the packaging line – and we benefit, too, from reduced maintenance, thanks to their durability and improved tracking.’


Premium Ropanyl Belts are the latest addition to Ammeraal Beltech’s extensive range of solutions for the food processing industry.   Contact Giuseppe Allais, FoodIndustry Segment Manager at Ammeraal Beltech, for further details — – or visit the company’s website,

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Doosan Launches New Environmentally-friendly, Cost-effective Forklifts Range

Doosan Industrial Vehicle has launched five new 2.0t to 3.5t capacity forklifts incorporating Doosan’s revolutionary, award-winning G2 diesel engine. By utilising the Doosan G2 engines, the new D20S-7, D25S-7, D30S-7, D33S-7 and D35C-7 models will meet stringent new EU emissions standards without using a costly diesel particulate filter (DPF). They also set new standards for proven low fuel consumption at a time of sharply increasing costs for forklift users.

Tim Waples, Director of DIV UK, comments: “New Euro Stages IIIB and IV regulations require the latest engines to achieve an enormous 90% reduction in emissions of gases and particulates compared to the power units they replace, a real challenge presented to engine manufacturers. To meet this challenge our in-house engine division invested millions of pounds developing an engine that changes the game in diesel combustion, without the operator ending up out of pocket.”

Winner of the Innovation category at the FLTA Awards 2014, the G2 has lower fuel consumption, longer maintenance intervals and maintenance-free after-treatment systems that reduce the total cost of ownership over the life of the engine. This means the payback period is faster than for any other engine in this class.

Using Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) exhaust treatment technology along with an Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, and on sale from October, the new range of ‘DPF free’ engines is available in 2.4-litre and 3.4-litre versions. In tests at the renowned Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, the smaller engine recorded some of the best fuel consumption figures ever seen in the forklift industry. Fuel consumption was reduced by more than 30% to as little as 2.09-litres per hour in standard mode and 1.67 litres per hour when the optional speed limiter is deployed.

Phil Stones, Head of Emissions and Fuel Economy at Millbrook, explains: “Millbrook is very pleased to have assisted Doosan with this important programme. Building on Millbrook’s previous working relationship with Doosan, our extensive tests on the G2 engine in our Variable Temperature Emissions Chamber (VTEC), followed by track tests, resulted in success for the programme and the product.”

“The Doosan G2 engine represents a watershed moment in forklift diesel engine design,” concludes Tim Waples. “It is a genuinely innovative approach to the challenge of maintaining performance while meeting exacting emissions standards, and will become the benchmark engine against which all others in the market are measured.”

Based in Northampton, England, Doosan Industrial Vehicle is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forklift trucks. A complete product range of more than 200 models from the simplest hand pallet truck to giant 25-tonne diesel trucks all offer durability, reliability and ease of use. For further information visit


Doosan’s new D30S-7 forklift incorporates the revolutionary new G2 engine.

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Fanuc rebrands UK operations under Fanuc UK

Fanuc has realigned its UK divisions under one brand: Fanuc UK Limited. This will enable the company to deliver a more integrated approach to automation solutions while becoming ‘a smarter and more efficient partner’ to its customers.

The rebrand, effective immediately, integrates Fanuc’s three core UK businesses: Fanuc Robotics, Fanuc FA and Fanuc Robomachine.

“I am delighted to announce the rebranding of Fanuc’s previously separate UK divisions into one service entity,” said MD Chris Sumner. “The realignment of our UK business allows us to improve our customer service offering while delivering a more integrated solution to meet our customers’ needs. Our goal is that whenever anyone thinks of factory automation, they think of Fanuc UK.”

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New premium brand IC engine forklift range offers exceptional value proposition

Jungheinrich has launched a completely re-designed generation of IC-engine powered counterbalanced forklift trucks.

The new ‘Torque Converter’ hydrodynamic drive trucks have been engineered in such a way that allows maximum cost-efficiency to be achieved in the manufacturing process.

But despite their attractive value proposition, the trucks – which are manufactured in Germany at Jungheinrich’s state-of-the-art Moosburg factory – are built to the same high standards as all models across the Jungheinrich range and feature the same high quality components associated with the Jungheinrich brand.

Available with a capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes and a lift height of 7.5 metres, the new models – the DFG/TFG 316-320 and DFG/TFG 425-435 ranges – are powered by Kubota engines, which are used in arduous applications around the world.

The diesel and LPG forklifts feature hydrodynamic drive – or ‘Torque Converter’ technology – to ensure robust operation in all applications. Indeed, Jungheinrich say, that, prior to their launch, the new models were  extensively tested (for far longer than the accepted industry norm) at some of the most demanding sites around the world – from Poland to Brazil – to ensure that they are capable of achieving optimum performance at a wide range of temperatures, as well as extremes of humidity and in the most rugged terrains.

In developing the new range Jungheinrich’s engineers have made significant innovations to the trucks’ mast, chassis and steering axle.

For example, the counterweight on the new trucks is an integral part of the load-bearing chassis, while the steering axle has been integrated into the counterweight. This means that the truck’s centre of gravity is extremely low which ensures outstanding stability without the need for additional and costly electronic stability systems.

The new models’ drive shaft features integrated maintenance free wet disc brakes which, when compared with standard drum brakes (as supplied to the majority of Jungheinrichs’ competitors), virtually eliminates service costs.

Moreover, thanks to the brakes’ encapsulated design, harsh external conditions do not diminish their performance.

Meanwhile the standard high-performance cooling system performs at maximum efficiency even in extreme temperatures. The radiator is a single unit made completely of aluminium. This makes the new trucks highly suitable for operations in all environments and protects them from dust and other harmful environmental factors.

An ‘L-shaped’ engine bonnet that can be tilted almost 90-degrees and quick-release side panels provide excellent access to the engine compartment which, combined with the high quality of the components used throughout the trucks, means servicing is fast, easy and economic and doesn’t require a laptop – therefore truck downtime is minimised.

Within the operator’s cabin, a slim steering column offers greater leg room, while the fully adjustable seat can be set to the position each driver finds most comfortable. In addition, a host of organisational aids, like, for instance, a cup holder and clip pad, allow the operator to maintain an uncluttered and productive workstation

The new model ranges feature an electric parking brake as standard.  The operator simply presses a button to activate the brake, while a new lifting mast design ensures improved view of the payload, forks and general working area. In fact, the visibility in all directions is class leading – which enhances all round safety throughout the shift. The new Jungheinrich Benchmast gives an improved field of vision by up to  85% at the tip of the forks.

“These new ‘torque converter’ trucks are rugged machines. Our engineers have driven costs out of the manufacturing process and produced a range that is tough and easy to service, while offering best-in-class operator conditions,” says Jungheinrich UK Ltd’s Sales Director, Jonathan Morris.

“We are confident that the market will respond enthusiastically to the new trucks. They offer the same exceptional German engineering that users have come to expect from the Jungheinrich brand and a wide range of added value features. The trucks’ build quality and design features make this range an extremely cost-efficient product that offers the user outstanding value for money – which is all summed up in our marketing campaign for the new truck called ‘Trust Your Machine’,” he added.


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Linkx Packaging Systems is appointed ‘System Partner’ by Kuka Robotics

End-of-line packaging expert Linkx Packaging Systems has been appointed a ‘System Partner’ by Kuka Robotics.

Linkx Systems was selected on the basis of the company’s experience and technical ability in the design and manufacture of packaging machinery.

System Partner status will give engineers at Linkx Systems priority access to Kuka’s specialist application support and design teams in the UK and Germany.

“We’ve been using Kuka robots very successfully for some time,” said David Hayward, MD of Linkx Systems, “and we are delighted that we have now been formally appointed as a System Partner, as this will enable us to make even better use of Kuka technology for the benefit of our customers.”

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Span Tech Europe – Flexibility at its Very Best

Today, material handling systems have become a fundamental part of a flexible manufacturing system, they must adapt to the product and production process, not the other way around.

Span Tech Europe provides custom systems for the packaging, food, beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, wholesale, manufacturing and distribution industries, with about two-thirds of the company’s business currently concentrated in the packaging, food and beverage arena.

“One of the unique qualities of Span Tech is that we manufacture everything ourselves,” explains Enrico Berlenghi, Span Tech’s EMEA Director. “Most of our competitors buy parts and then assemble them together to provide solutions. However, the founder of our company had the wish to build the most efficient conveying system possible. To do so, we have engineered, designed and produce every single piece in-house to work perfectly together.”

Efficiency Through Engineering and Design

Span Tech’s systems offer the most innovative technology and flexibility of conveyor design in the industry. “We had to build a conveyor system that was better than anything else you could buy,” asserts Bud Layne, Span Tech’s founder and CEO. “We began to figure out a different conveyor design – one that was completely different than what we had. The result was a conveyor that has a tremendously long life in the field, hardly any maintenance, running trouble free year after year after year. I want it to run better than anything in the world, and it most certainly does.”

Continuous Innovation

Among Span Tech’s variety of innovations and custom-made solutions, certain examples stand out as clear advances in the material handling industry. The Span Tech TranSorter is a new system due to be launched inEuropelater this year. The TranSorter is a sortation product designed to handle products that are traditionally difficult to convey and sort – referred to in the industry as “non-conveyable.” The TranSorter utilizes Span Tech’s MicroSpan chain in concert with extendable nose technology to create openings while the conveyor continues to move forward, gently depositing items into a tote or onto a tilting device or cross-belt conveyor. This boundary-pushing technology seamlessly integrates with Span Tech’s other conveyor systems to meet specific needs, including end-of-line shipping, goods-to-man fulfilment, inbound sortation and returns processing systems. The modular design comes in both 300mm and 600mm widths.

Another example of Span Tech’s efficient solutions is the Topper Lift, designed to lower or elevate product while preserving product orientation. The upper chain drapes down and rides on a lower transport conveyor, acting as a moving top keeper to allow a much steeper angle of transport. “The chain hangs freely and comes into contact with the product, and because of this, we are able to achieve incline angles of 60 degrees or even more, depending on the product,” explains Keith Thomas, Research and Development Director. “The flexible chain allows us to run various shapes and sizes of products even in a continuous production run.” Like the TranSorter, the Topper Lift is also capable of handling “non-conveyable,” doing so within a compact footprint and with no adjustments needed.

True Modularity

Although more than 85 percent of the solutions Span Tech delivers are custom-made, these solutions incorporate proven, modular components and assemblies. “We observe the rules of symmetrical design, where a left-hand part is interchangeable as a right-hand part,” Bud Layne points out. “From a reasonably small number of parts, we can make a very wide variation of conveyors. That lowers your investment cost and increases your field flexibility.”

Given a few details – product specifications, rate, environment, temperature limits, speeds, weights and positioning – Span Tech will offer a system that will comply with your customers’ expectations, needs while ensuring a perfect flow and no product damage. “We can customise because we have the flexibility not to impose and push our range – we adapt to the needs of the product and equipment,” Enrico Berlenghi adds. “This is what makes the difference.”

Streamlining Software

Another of Span Tech’s advantages is its selection of proprietary software. “For the past 30 years we have developed and refined our own proprietary software packages,” Keith Thomas explains. “We have one for estimating, one for designing, and one for checking validity of designs. These programs – Estimator, Navigator and TorqueMaster – use the engineering principles that have been developed over the years. This allows us to create estimates and approval drawings very quickly.” The fact that Span Tech’s technology has been proven over time is yet another strength of the company, as Bud Layne points out: “We have built tens of thousands of these conveyors, so we know what they will do, and we know how they will run. We’ve got the people, we’ve got the talent, we know how to do it, we can predict what the performance of it is going to be.”

Exceeding Expectations

Berlenghi is proud to point out the prevalence of repeat customers that Span Tech enjoys. “The return business to Span Tech is extremely high,” he emphasizes. “We are already a leader in the North American markets, and our motto is ‘Once you go Span Tech, you never go back.’ Once the superior quality of our conveyors is seen throughoutEurope, there is scope for expanding our market and building relationships with new partners.”

Going Global, Growing Global

Enrico Berlenghi explains that there is tremendous opportunity for Span Tech to continue to grow, based on its values. “By offering the very best service and solutions, our company almost runs by itself, as quality always pays off,” he affirms. “We have extremely high ethical values and our partners know they can trust us. We are passionate about what we do, and we really care about our products and the relationships we have with our partners.”

Span Tech is already a leader in the North American market and has expanded into Central and South America. Span Tech Europe was opened in 2011 and since then has had a 35 per cent market increase every year. With subsidiaries in Canada, Mexicoand Japan, and an emerging presence in Africa and Central Asia, “we expect our market increase this year to be even higher,” Berlenghi adds. “The European market is very loyal to its business partners, so they need to embrace innovation and consider endless possibilities. It takes time for the market to accept that the impossible can become possible with Span Tech Europe.”

For further details go to or meet Span Tech Europe at the Interpack, Booth 13D79.

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Imagine a drying system with a proven efficiency of over 99%… Introducing OptiDry®, the latest innovation from packaging line engineering leader Gebo Cermex.

When it comes to high-quality, high-frequency packaging lines, the presence of just a few drops of moisture can have a dramatic impact on labelling quality, coding and vision inspection efficiency.

In today’s fast-moving industry, where quality constraints are stricter than ever, an effective drying system is a crucial component for most packaging lines. And who better to deliver cutting-edge drying solutions than industry leader Gebo Cermex? The new OptiDry® unit combines the latest in drying technology with Gebo Cermex’s long-proven expertise in precision handling, optimizing product flows for unprecedented reliability, flexibility and efficiency.

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Safer charging

Part of Groupe Guillin, Sharpak is the UK’s leading manufacturer of rigid plastic packaging.


The company operates three facilities in the UK – in Somerset, Kent and Gloucestershire.


At its site in Yate, Gloucestershire, concerns over the safety of the lift truck battery changing process led Sharpak to switch forklift suppliers and introduce a fleet of Jungheinrich electric-powered counterbalanced, powered pallet and reach trucks.


Several million plastic trays are produced each day at the Yate facility for a range of customers in the food-processing sector. The factory and finished goods warehouse sit side-by-side on the same site and the materials handling equipment in operation there is used to undertake a broad range of tasks.

Within the factory side of the building, for example, counterbalanced trucks are required to unload incoming raw materials, which can be palletised or delivered in bulk bags. Meanwhile on the other side of the dividing wall which separates the factory from the pallet capacity very narrow aisle finished goods store, counterbalanced and powered pallet trucks deliver palletised loads to the racking, collate orders in the loading bay marshaling area and load outgoing delivery wagons in the yard.


Because it serves the food sector, Sharpak has to adhere to strict hygiene regulations and, as a result, all the materials handling equipment employed across the site is electric-powered. An efficient battery charging and changing regime is therefore essential.


Battery changing and re-charging takes place within a dedicated area of the building, but during a routine battery swap an experienced lift truck operator managed to spill the battery she was removing from a counterbalanced truck on to the floor.


The subsequent battery acid clean up process was costly and disruptive to Sharpak’s intralogistics processes, and, as the mishap occurred a matter of months before its existing and long-standing contract with another forklift manufacturer was due to end, Sharpak decided to seek a forklift truck provider that could offer a system capable of avoiding any chance of a repeat.


“Our forklift supplier at the time of the accident – who had been our supplier for some 20 years – shrugged the event off as human error,” recalls Sharpak Yates’s logistics manager, Karl Traynor.


“Of course, people are responsible for 99.9 per cent of all accidents but we wanted to see if there was something available that minimized the likelihood of the same thing happening again.”


The solution came in the shape of trucks from Jungheinrich’s EFG Series fitted with Jungheinrich’s SnapFit battery changing mechanism.


The SnapFit device locks to the underside of a 48 or 80 Volt battery to allow the battery to be removed easily, quickly and safely. All the operator needs to do is position the battery removing truck directly below the battery, at which point the SnapFit system automatically locks the battery into place. The battery is guided into position by rollers, which means it cannot get wedged in during battery changing. The system ensures the battery is safely fixed on the ‘removing’ truck during removal and transportation.


“The SnapFit system is a simple but highly effective piece of design that is not only safe but also speeds up the battery changing process,” says Karl Traynor.


The Jungheinrich trucks also offered operational efficiency benefits that Sharpak’s existing provider couldn’t match.


The EFG Series trucks feature fourth generation AC technology that gives the trucks an exceptional efficiency ratio and constantly low energy consumption.  The low energy costs are further reduced through energy reclamation during braking which extends the time that trucks operate for between battery charges.


Fourth generation technology also enables trucks to accelerate far more quickly than less advanced systems – which means more loads can be moved per shift.


“It is never easy to say ‘good bye’ to a long term supplier but we are delighted that we made the change to Jungheinrich,” says Karl Traynor.


He continues: “Our lift truck operators find the trucks more comfortable and the controls more responsive.


“We are also benefiting from Jungheinrich’s customer care. I now have regular meetings with my contact at Jungheinrich at which we discuss any issues that may arise to ensure that our needs are being met by the trucks. This is so different from my relationship with our previous supplier who I only saw when our contract was due for renewal!”


About Jungheinrich UK Ltd:

Jungheinrich UK Ltd offers Pallet Trucks, Stackers, Counterbalance Trucks, Reach Trucks, Order Pickers, Very Narrow Aisle and Stacker Cranes in more than 600 truck variants. As well as this, Jungheinrich provide an extensive Aftersales Support Network, Rental and Financial Services, Racking Systems and Warehouse Planning. The company is a division of the Jungheinrich Group, which has manufacturing facilities Worldwide.




Media Contacts:                                                         Company Contact:

Lloyd Arkill                                                                   Craig Johnson

Arkill Matthews Allen Ltd                                              Jungheinrich UK Ltd

Tel: +44 (0)1923 777897                                                Tel: +44 (0) 1908 363100

Mobile:  +44 (0) 7903 809127                                         Mobile: +44 (0) 7736 205411

Email: info@am–                                                  Email:






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AmbaFlex – Science in Spirals

With AmbaFlex’s invention of the SpiralVeyor® in the mid nineties a new era in conveyor systems started. Continued development and expansion of the scope made AmbaFlex a leader of spiral conveyor solutions. With over 9000 systems installed together with a global production and service organization AmbaFlex offers a spiral conveyor solution for each application and in all kinds of environments. Solutions could be seen as elevating, accumulating, sequencing, merging, cooling – any application you can think of.

SpiralVeyor® SlimLine

AmbaFlex offers the widest range of Spiral Conveyors. The SV series is for secondary pack Items such as bottle packs, cases and boxes. The SVx series has multiple parallel tracks for multi secondary packing conveying. And combined with Triple-E technology, AmbaFlex offers the tallest, fastest and highest load capacity available in the market today.

Portal Concept

The Portal Concept is available on all SpiralVeyor® series. It results in a much more effective working environment for both people and goods in filling lines. Available with ONE single belt which is guided through both spirals. And NO product transfers high up and out of reach! The best alternative for clamped or inclined elevations.

SVm Mass Flow Lift

The SpiralVeyor® SVm can elevate mass flow containers up or down, and can also accumulate them. The belt consists of parallel, virtually seamless, tracks placed side by side. Total belt width possible of up to 24ft. Throughput of 120,000 product items p/h possible.

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Spiroflow’s Top-notch Testing Steers Customers in the Right Direction

Very few people would buy a new car without a test drive, or a house without at least one visit and evaluation. So why would a manufacturer make a significant investment in new capital machinery without having the chance to test it?

Spiroflow is one of the few suppliers of conveying and weighing equipment to offer a full state-of-the-art testing process prior to purchase.

Spiroflow believes that customers should have complete confidence in the efficiency of their new systems, regardless of the level of investment. The world-leading manufacturer of conveying and weighing systems actively encourages customers, old and new, to use the fully equipped test centre at its Lancashire site before purchasing any of its Flexible Screw Conveyors, Aero Mechanical Conveyors, Tubular Cable and Chain Drag Conveyors, Vacuum Conveyors, Bulk Bag Dischargers, Bulk Bag Fillers or Ingredients Handling and Weighing Systems.

Whether the equipment is required for efficiently conveying food ingredients such as flour, cereals and coffee granules or accurately controlling the flow of materials for the chemical and water treatment sectors, high quality testing facilities like those at Spiroflow can reassure customers that the systems they are planning to invest in will provide optimum performance and offer value for money.

Spiroflow says that carrying out thorough throughput and degradation trials using its conveying, bulk bag filling and discharging technology – replicating the client’s working conditions including temperature and humidity – can iron out any flaws and ensure each system will meet requirements. Spiroflow works closely with the customer on the testing, sharing the results for analysis and, if necessary, conducting follow-up tests.

Offering this outstanding level of customer service is part and parcel of the Spiroflow experience and is one of the reasons why companies in the food, chemicals and process industries return again and again to Spiroflow for their filling, discharging and conveying needs.

Spiroflow’s After Sales Manager, Jeanette Carter, explains: “We offer a comprehensive testing and installation facility because we want to make sure the client is buying the right equipment for the product. Once we have a guideline from the customer, a dedicated test engineer will set up the trial in accordance with those requirements. He will also make additional recommendations if he believes it will improve the process.

“For example, if we set up a system with a spiral conveyor and the product is smearing or sticking to the tube wall, we can change the profile of the spiral to achieve the result the customer is looking for and the throughput requirement that they are aiming for as well. We can monitor changes to bulk density during conveying or assess the effect of conveying at very steep angles. Obviously we are also careful to ensure safe working practice and satisfy COSHH and ATEX regulations.”

The company’s technical and engineering expertise has led to it developing an international reputation for an unrivalled range of products with state-of-the-art control systems. Underpinning this high quality equipment is Spiroflow’s willingness to invest in a modern testing facility as part of its first-class customer support. For more information on Spiroflow’s products and services visit or call +44 (0)1200 422525.

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Hygienic Processing on Stainless Steel Conveyors

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial casting of stainless steel, a material that has had a greater impact on the food and drink business than perhaps any other.

While the original goal of metallurgist Harry Brearley was extra durability, extending the life of British gun barrels, its other qualities – notably resistance to corrosion and ease of cleaning – have made it the default solution for virtually any hygiene-critical application. And as far as conveying is concerned, Sandvik Process Systems has led the way since producing the first stainless steel belt in 1931.

Today, Sandvik’s steel belts are used across a whole range of food applications, from simple conveying to the processing of fish, meat, poultry, fruit, vegetables, coffee, tea, confectionery, baked goods, pet foods and more.

For some of these applications, the thermal properties are key. No other material can be used across range of processes that includes freezing, cooling, steaming, solidifying, drying and baking, and in just about every case the ability of the steel belt to conduct heat quickly and efficiently is a major benefit. Plus of course, few if any other materials could tolerate such a wide range of conditions, from extreme humidity to intense heat or sub-zero temperatures.

Inherent Durability

For others, it is the inherent durability of stainless steel that makes Sandvik’s belts the right investment decision. Far more resistant to damage by corrosion, abrasion or impact than any other belt type, a stainless steel conveyor provides the ideal long term solution for potentially aggressive applications such as sugar conveying or meat boning plants.

In every case though, it is the ease of cleaning and consequent high standards of hygiene that really set stainless steel belts apart from other materials.

Superior Cleanability

This superior cleanability was highlighted in research findings published by Finnish food laboratory VTT Expert Services Ltd., confirming that risk of problems caused by bacterial build-up can be reduced, simply by upgrading to a stainless steel conveyor.

The research looked at the ‘cleanability’ of three basic conveyor types used in meat processing – stainless steel, solid plastic and plastic slats – and concluded that: “stainless steel is more cleanable than the two different plastic surfaces tested according to the culturing results. The difference is more significant for damaged surfaces.”

So why is stainless steel more cleanable than other materials? Primarily, it is its flat and solid form: there are no gaps or textures in which bacteria can hide. Steel belts are installed in what is called ‘endless’ form, meaning the two ends are welded together to form the conveyor loop, then ground to remove any trace of the joint.

In addition they can be sanitised in whatever way is most appropriate to the operation: hot water, pressure, brushes, detergents, chemicals or any combination of these.

World’s Largest Supplier

As the world’s largest supplier of stainless steel belts to the food industry, Sandvik has the engineering know how and flexibility to meet every customer’s needs.

With regional manufacturing centers and a worldwide network of service and installation engineers, Sandvik can supply complete conveying lines. These systems can incorporate food hygiene features such as all-stainless steel framework, easy-to-clean design, food-approved bearings, and IP65 motors.

The company’s engineers can work to support OEMs, designing and installing steel belts and associated components (eg skid bars and compact belt tracking controls) onto their conveyor systems.

This expertise is available in the form of consultancy, helping manufacturers and processors upgrade conveyors from existing belt materials to solid or perforated steel belts.

Sandvik’s long relationship with the food industry extends to the design, manufacture and commissioning of end-to-end process systems. One area in which the company has particular expertise is cooling and Sandvik’s systems are widely used for the controlled solidification of products such as chocolate, sugar mass, confectionery, emulsifiers and fats.

In this as in other areas, Sandvik’s use of stainless steel belts has proven to be an extremely reliable solution, one that combines operational efficiency and exceptional standards of hygiene to ensure production of a high quality end product, and all for an attractive return on investment.

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Axiom’s recipe for success for Tamar Foods

West Country bakery, Tamar Foods bake own label savoury pies, slices and snack foods for leading supermarket chains. Tamar is part of the Samworth Brothers group which, amongst others, owns Ginsters and it is Ginsters that distributes the Tamar product to retailers throughout the UK.

In 2012 Tamar won a prestigious contract with Marks and Spencer to produce a range of M&S savoury pies. A stipulation of the contract was that, provided the trial period was successfully completed, the Tamar conveyor system would need to be able to handle M&S’s green totes – something Tamar’s existing system couldn’t do.

Replacing an unreliable, noisy conveyor system

Tamar’s existing conveyor solution was installed to take products from the packing hall to the Ginsters dispatch hall, via a 160m long tunnel joining the two buildings together. The route the conveyor took was somewhat tortuous, twisting and turning its way along, up through the roof and then back down to the dispatch carousel. The tunnel in particular, was extremely confined both in height and width.

Steve Towsey, Tamar’s project engineer, takes up the story, “The existing conveyor was 12 years old; it was extremely noisy, very unreliable, difficult to maintain and, of course, couldn’t handle the M&S totes. So, to meet the terms of the M&S contract we had to invest in a new conveyor solution.

“The new system not only had to handle the M&S totes, but also our own cardboard cartons which vary in size and shape. In addition, we wanted it to have an accumulation capability. The old system didn’t have this and with our very high throughput rates it caused endless problems. An issue anywhere on the system meant we had to stop the entire line, which led to product piling up and high levels of inefficiency.”

Getting the ingredients right

“Naturally we did our due diligence in our search for a supplier to work with on the project. We had worked with Axiom before, however, when they supplied a carousel in the dispatch hall and so they were included in the short list.

“Our final decision to partner with Axiom was made for several reasons: firstly, their presentation was very impressive and gave us the confidence they could do the job. Secondly, their track record was notable with big projects for the likes of Ford in Germany and Lakeland Plastics here in the UK. Finally, their solution was not only well thought out, but also offered excellent value for money.

“Throughout the project we worked together with the Axiom engineers to develop a solution to replace the old conveyor from end to end. The solution was based on Axiom’s poly-v belt driven roller conveyors and belt conveyors using an aluminium profiled side frame. The accumulation system featured zero line pressure (ZLP) control to avoid any product damage.”

The long and winding road

The conveyor system is fed from three packing stations – two manual systems and one fully automated packing machine. The packers can pack up to 77 totes per minute which the system then has to merge and convey from the three packing areas.

To supply the packers with a constant feed of empty totes, Axiom designed an overhead tote delivery conveyor which transports totes from a holding area to the packing face. The packers then simply select the next empty tote from above their station and pack into it without having to leave their station.

A combination of packed totes and cartons join together over a series of merge conveyors onto one conveyor that twists and turns its way up a series of inclined belt conveyors into the roof void. The conveyor passes through the long tunnel where a series of roller conveyors queue product for delivery to the dispatch hall.

A clever solution

Steve Towsey again, “There were challenges at almost every stage of the route. Once out of the packing hall and through the confines of the tunnel, we had to route the conveyor down a relatively steep decline to get it onto the dispatch carousel. Previously, a belt conveyor had done this job, but you can’t run an accumulation system with a belt conveyor so we had to use rollers.

“The problem with steel rollers on a steep decline is that product slides down them. This would have meant the totes and cartons would have just piled into one another damaging product and causing blockages.

“To avoid this, the Axiom engineers came up with the idea of using steel rollers with a rubberised coating. This hadn’t been done before, but I have to say it works a treat and has run faultlessly from the off.

“If the dispatch hall workers don’t take product off the carousel the system starts to back up, using logic to queue the cartons and totes. There is no pressure on the product because of the ZLP control, so there is no product damage from collisions.”

A complex installation with no operational downtime

The installation process for the system was extremely complicated. The old conveyor had to be removed and the new system installed in no more than three weeks. Access to the tunnel was limited to a small door through the dispatch hall and access to the packing hall was only allowed on Sundays, so it was a real challenge.

“The Axiom team had to work in very confined areas in temperatures ranging from a chilly three or four degrees in the dispatch hall to extreme heat in the tunnel and roof void,” continues Towsey. “They did a fantastic job, particularly in the tunnel and roof where the access and space was so limited. Despite all this, the installation started on time and was completed on time with the system going live on the agreed date.

“Axiom spent a few days on site making a couple of tweaks and then they left. Apart from a site visit for a service/inspection, they haven’t had to come back since, it has worked perfectly.

“Although the system operates 24/7, it has been designed to ‘go to sleep’ when there are no products on the conveyors. This means that as well as getting savings from low maintenance requirements or downtime, the new system delivers excellent energy savings.

“The workforce love it too because it is much quieter than the old system and much easier for them to operate. The company loves it because it is totally reliable; it gives us great energy savings in excess of £14,000 a year and the accumulation feature means hold-ups anywhere along the line do not result in the whole line shutting down, so it’s a more productive system.

“Axiom has been brilliant from day one. Everything from the design down to testing and commissioning has been done in a very professional manner and the attention to detail is outstanding. The 24hr support package and their ability to remotely access the system through their intranet gives us real peace of mind.

“The new conveyor system has more than lived up to our expectations. It does exactly what we wanted it to do; it handles the M&S totes and our own variety of cartons with ease. It deals with everything we throw at it and I am sure that we will work with Axiom on future projects,” concludes Towsey.

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Sturdy plastic pallets for secure beverage handling

Cabka-IPS will be presenting an extensive range of innovative plastic pallets at the drinktec 2013, the trade exhibition for the beverage and liquid food industry (16 to 20 September, Munich). These pallets have been specially developed for the beverage industry.

They include, for example, the BPP i9 (Beverage Pool Pallet), a solid and strong pallet made of recycled plastic with gas-assist low pressure injection technology. Internal cavities make the pallets not only particularly rigid, but also lighter. The BPP i9’s anti-slip strips and grommets ensure firm and safe handling of beverage containers. Extra wide openings between blocks make the pallets particularly easy to handle  and protect them from damage. The BPP i9 was developed for the Dutch Dranken Pallet Beheer (DPB) pallet pool, which is already successfully putting 400,000 of them to use. They are manufactured according to the “cradle to cradle” principle in which the pallet is recycled at the end of its life cycle.

Cabka-IPS will also be exhibiting its Keg S9 plastic pallet at the drinktec 2013. This has been specially developed to handle 50 litre kegs and is used by brewers such as Heineken or Anheuser-Busch InBev. Eight of these kegs fit on a single pallet. The Keg S9 is also manufactured using gas-assist technology, making it extremely sturdy and durable despite its low weight. This makes it ideal for transporting the heavy kegs. Key locators keep kegs in position, and rubber blocks on the bottom prevent them from slipping.

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New packaging line engineering firm can make “immediate impact”, says company president

A new packaging line engineering firm can make an “immediate impact” on the market, according to the firm’s president and managing director.

Gebo Cermex, groups the brands Gebo and Cermex together and Marc Aury, leader of the company, said it has the resources to be “first in line” in the packaging industry.

Cermex work in overwrapping and end-of-line equipment for fast-moving consumer goods and Gebo focusses on conveying and material handling with more than five decades of experience.

Gebo Cermex will cover a variety of sectors, from beverages and food, home and personal care and pharmaceutical products.

End-of-line solutions

The firm will offer solutions including line-integration to conveying, feeding systems and tunnel machines to overwrapping, packing and palletizing systems and help clients to optimise productivity as well as offering after-sales service.

In an ever evolving industry Aury said he was confident the new firm could make its mark.

“Our industry gets more complex by the day, and we recognised the need for a brand capable of inspiring confidence, a company with the precise combination of experience and innovation needed to make businesses grow.

“Our international coverage, proven know-how and peerless client support allow us to handle projects of all sizes, in an unprecedented range of sectors,” he added.

“We treat every project individually, helping our clients to turn up the value and boost their productivity whatever the size of their operation.”

About the company

Aury will be joined by current Cermex managing director Marc Ville, who becomes vice president of operations of the new company.

Headquartered in Reichstett, near Strasbourg, France, the group has more than 15 commercial facilities and manufacturing sites worldwide, with over 37,000 installations operational and an annual turnover of €320m.

Gebo Cermex will operate as part of the Sidel Group, but with considerable autonomy, confirmed the new venture.

Aury added that the goal was to draw on the past in order to shape the future of the industry, offering clients the broadest possible range of services.

Cermex has grown steadily thanks to a technological

innovation in the fields of case-packing, shrink-wrapping and palletizing and acquisitions, including the buy-out of robotic palletizing experts Newtec Case Palletizing in May last year.

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Partner for both hand producers and industry

Wolfertschwenden, 7th May 2013 – MULTIVAC made it very clear at IFFA 2013, which took place at the beginning of May in Frankfurt: “We can do both!” – that is to say, support businesses, which supply hand-made products, with simple and compact packaging solutions and also provide industrial-scale companies with high-performance systems, automation solutions, uniform standards worldwide and local service on site. The packaging specialist was therefore represented at IFFA this year with two exhibition stands, which were each focused on a specific segment. 

The packaging specialist scored on both exhibition stands with its innovative technologies and products, which covered all aspects of packaging, automation, labelling and printing, inspection and high-pressure processing (HPP). In addition to these, particular interest was aroused by the innovative packaging concept MYLAR® COOK, which enables food to be cooked in its sealed pack in the oven or microwave.

Product and technology innovations

As regards its thermoforming packaging machines, MULTIVAC presented at IFFA 2013 a number of innovative approaches, which significantly improve the energy efficiency of its machines and contribute to increasing overall equipment effectiveness. Many of these innovations are integrated in the new, high-performance R 535 e-conceptTM model and in the R 095 e-conceptTM compact model. In addition to these, MULTIVAC showed with its new R 685 a high-performance model, which is designed for running very wide films.

MULTIVAC also presented at IFFA some innovations with its traysealers for the entry-level and mid-range sectors, among them the T 600, a new, fully automatic traysealer model in the medium output category.

As regards chamber machines, MULTIVAC showed at IFFA for the first time its new C 800 vacuum chamber machine, which is equipped with a 1.40 metre wide chamber. This makes it especially suitable for packing particularly long food products, such as for example large, cylindrical sausages.

MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection, the labelling and printing specialist which is part of the MULTIVAC Group, also put forward a range of new products in Frankfurt in the areas of labelling, printing and inspection systems. Among these was a new X-ray inspection system and the MVS seal seam scanner. The labelling and printing specialist had also announced prior to the exhibition the integration of more of its systems in the HMI 2.0 control terminal.

Positive outlook for the second half of 2013

Overall 2013 has begun well for MULTIVAC. Its CEO, Hans-Joachim Boekstegers, declared himself satisfied with the current situation at a press conference at IFFA. “The gratifying feedback from the market shows us that we are in the right area with our product range, and that we are delivering exactly what our customers need, not just with our traditionally strong product line of thermoforming packaging machines but also with more recently developed product lines, such as for example our traysealers or automation solutions. Our innovation offensive addresses precisely those topics, which will increasingly gain in importance in the future, such as for example efficiency and the saving of resources. They are of interest to our customers not only for ecological but also for economic reasons”.



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EU imposes a new anti-dumping duty on all pallet trucks, manufactured in China

EU imposes a new anti-dumping duty on all pallet trucks, manufactured in China

Buy Danish quality! The price difference between pallet trucks from China and the quality pallet truck has almost gone…

As per 22 April 2013, EU has imposed a new anti-dumping duty on all pallet trucks, imported from China to EU countries. The new duty amounts to 70,8%. This means that the price difference between a pallet trucks from China and pallet trucks from e.g. Denmark is now very small. The new anti-dumping duty is imposed on both painted as well as stainless pallet trucks!

To Logitrans A/S, Danish manufacturer of material handling equipment, the anti-dumping duty means that the additional price for a Logitrans Panther pallet truck compared to pallet trucks manufactured in China will now be very small. According to Mr Erling Pedersen, President at Logitrans A/S, this will open new opportunities for selling Danish quality pallet trucks!

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Jungheinrich UK celebrates its Golden Jubilee

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of intralogistics solutions provider Jungheinrich’s entry in to the UK market.

Originally located in Manchester, today Jungheinrich’s UK headquarters are in Milton Keynes. In addition, the company operates six strategically sited Customer Service Centres in Scotland (Cumbernauld), the North West (Warrington), the North East (Sheffield), The Midlands (Birmingham), the South West (Bristol) and in the South East (Milton Keynes).

Hans-Herbert Schultz, Managing Director of Jungheinrich UK Ltd, commented:  “A 50th anniversary proves any company’s longevity, staying power and success. Our strong product and service offering allied to our commitment to aftersales care and ability to deliver the lowest cost of ownership underpin our company’s strengths.

“As a group, Jungheinrich is continuously innovating to ensure that our products, solutions and after-sales service support enable our customers to achieve maximum supply chain efficiency and profitability – regardless of their size and the industry sectors in which they operate.”

Jungheinrich’s dedicated workforce are at the heart of the company’s success and the company has held Investors in People (IiP) accreditation since 2009. Investors in People is a national standard which defines best practice for all aspects of developing a company’s employees.

Hans-Herbert Schultz added: “We are very proud to have reached such a significant milestone in the UK and are looking forward to our next half century working closely with our customers”


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New metal detectable cords and belts launch

Specialist conveyor belting firm Rydell Industrial (Belting) has launched a range of industry certified metal detectable cords and belts suitable for use by the food industry.

Deteriorating conveyor belts have previously led to cases where food has been recalled because bits of the belts have been discovered in products, so belts that are detectable by inspection systems is a great help to the industry.

Fast moving polyurethane belts used in food processing are subject to wear and abrasion. Rydell Industrial’s commercially compliant belting is produced in an easy to identify blue colour making it easy to see.

“Our new line of metal detectable food grade belting takes this range to the next step in food safety,” the company states. “PU80A SAFE belts are made of a special thermoplastic recipe that allows very small particles to be detected by most standard metal detection equipment used in the food industry.”

Wet and dry applications

Rydell Industrial said the belts were fully compliant with Food and Drug Administration and European Commission requirements. They could be used in dry and wet applications and ensured food safety by reducing the risk of contamination, it added.

The belts are available in a range of different profiles, including round, flat and special, to order and are designed to offer the highest safety through detectability.

Rydell is based in Kings Park, New South Wales. The firm provides a range of belts for a variety of different industries, of which the food processing sector is just one.

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Leading UK food-grade lubricants manufacturer ROCOL has introduced innovative caps and actuators on aerosol spray cans in the FOODLUBE range to help reduce the risk of foreign object contamination during food and drink processing.

Building on its long-standing NSF registration for FOODLUBE and its corporate ISO 21469 certification, both of which offer crucial safety assurances about lubricant formulation, the company has now become the first in the UK to add DETEXTM metal detectable plastic actuators and caps on all aerosol cans.

This means that, unlike traditional aerosol packaging, all caps and actuators on FOODLUBE packs can be identified using standard metal detection equipment should they become loose in food and drink processing areas.

The patent-pending DETEX caps and actuators are themselves manufactured from safe materials deemed acceptable by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in food processing plants.

ROCOL marketing manager Joanne Ferguson says: “The addition of DETEX caps and actuators represents another important step in helping food and drink processors avoid costly downtime, product recalls and the risk of reputational damage.”

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Golden Valley launches ‘Carbon’ – the next generation of pallet wrap film!

Golden Valley (A BRC accredited company) is a dedicated specialist supplier of Hand and Machine Pallet Wrap (Stretch Wrap) Film that sources the best products from around the globe.

Golden Valley is one of the largest stockists of pallet wrap in the UK and can offer same day despatch on stock items which includes Hand and Machine Pallet Wrap in Clear, Black, White and Blue in various microns and transverse stretch including ventilated film for fresh produce and film for temperature controlled products. The key to the success of Golden Valley is the service offered to all clients.

Golden Valley is proud and excited to launch a new product to add to their extensive range of films. The new film will be known as ‘Carbon’ and is the strongest film in it’s category. Although the film is thin it has excellent puncture resistance, this being achieved by the 7 Layer co-extrusion properties. It is a blended high performance film and is not pre stretched which gives a much higher yield and 50% less consumption which not only makes it highly cost effective but also has a positive impact on waste management.

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New robotic palletiser for packhouses

Automated packing and palletising systems specialist Brillopak has introduced a versatile new robotic palletiser specifically designed for fresh fruit and vegetables. The new Brillopak Compact C211 is capable of placing a variety of container formats including crates, cases and trays on to pallets.

Developed following extensive research by Brillopak into the issues surrounding fresh produce packaging, in particular the challenges of supplying the retail sector, the Compact C211 has been designed specifically to help with operational and health and safety challenges common in fruit and vegetable packing, still largely a manual process.

The Compact C211 fits easily into even the smallest of factory spaces and can integrate with other packing equipment to provide a complete line solution. The machine can palletise crates and cases at the rate of up to 30 per minute and Brillopak says the system delivers a typical payback within two years.

“The Compact C211 satisfies the main requirements for fruit and vegetable end of line packing in terms of speed, efficiency and user-friendliness and provides the flexibility to enable companies to respond to changing retailer requirements,” explains Brillopak director David Jahn.

Additional machines in the COMPACT C range include the Brillopak C1 11 crate packer, C250 crate de-stacker, BK750 pallet stacker/de-stacker, crate bale arm closing unit, vision systems and Ethernet connection for remote access and support.

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New metal detectable cords and belts launch

Specialist conveyor belting firm Rydell Industrial (Belting) has launched a range of industry certified metal detectable cords and belts suitable for use by the food industry.

Deteriorating conveyor belts have previously led to cases where food has been recalled because bits of the belts have been discovered in products, so belts that are detectable by inspection systems is a great help to the industry.

Fast moving polyurethane belts used in food processing are subject to wear and abrasion. Rydell Industrial’s commercially compliant belting is produced in an easy to identify blue colour making it easy to see.

“Our new line of metal detectable food grade belting takes this range to the next step in food safety,” the company states. “PU80A SAFE belts are made of a special thermoplastic recipe that allows very small particles to be detected by most standard metal detection equipment used in the food industry.”

Wet and dry applications

Rydell Industrial said the belts were fully compliant with Food and Drug Administration and European Commission requirements. They could be used in dry and wet applications and ensured food safety by reducing the risk of contamination, it added.

The belts are available in a range of different profiles, including round, flat and special, to order and are designed to offer the highest safety through detectability.

Rydell is based in Kings Park, New South Wales. The firm provides a range of belts for a variety of different industries, of which the food processing sector is just one.

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Boxxer handles round and square Jugs

Eagle Packaging Machinery has made some notable changes to its BOXXER Case Erector Loader Sealer System, having recently taken on a project that required case packing different shaped jugs.

The Boxxer is now able to automatically case pack round and square jugs, which is no mean feat as jugs are a difficult product to pack being heavy and requiring an accurate loading process.

Once the jugs are filled and capped, they enter the Boxxer through an in-feed conveyor. They are then stacked according to the pack pattern that has been chosen by the operator.

Eagle’s particular project required two separate pack patterns: packing four 1 gallon round jugs into a case, and two 2.5 gallon square jugs into another case.

While the jugs are being arranged, a knock-down case is being pulled from a hopper and formed.

While other machines typically use a drop packer that drops the jugs from the top of the box, risking potential damage to the containers and spillage, Eagle designed this loader sealer system to gently lift the product from the bottom using a servo driven mechanism.

Once the case is packed, it is then conveyed to the sealing station for tape or glue depending on the application.

Eagle says the method of packing both round and square jugs is precise and increases the overall production rates.

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Secretary of State visits Redpack Packaging Machinery

Redpack were chosen by Vince Cable Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills as the venue for the launch of the “Growing Business Fund”, a £3m scheme designed to kick start growth. Redpack who are seeing a continued demand for their flow wrapping machines both in the UK and overseas and have a full order book and more orders in the pipeline are eyeing up the fund as a potential driver for its investment plans. Business Secretary Vince Cable championed the firm as a “Superb Company” during his visit to Norwich for its ability to flourish during the recession and to improve upon its overseas foothold.

Dr Cable said: “Redpack clearly is a superb local company. They have got more than 40 local employees here. They are a successful manufacturer, exporting all over the world [for example] in Brazil, Mexico and Malaysia. They have got a full order book and they have got through the recession. The problem they do have is that they want skilled people, which is why we have to invest more in apprenticeships, and if they are really going to expand they are going to need more funding support, so this is why funds like the Growing Business Fund, will be useful.”

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Multivac launches machine for packaging long food products

Processing equipment supplier Multivac is launching a vacuum chamber machine for packaging long food products, such as cylindrical sausages and certain types of whole fish.

The C 800 vacuum chamber machine is equipped with a 1.4m-wide chamber, making it the largest single-chamber machine in Multivac’s portfolio.

Ingo Renner, manager of Multivac’s chamber machines business unit, said the new equipment had been devised in response to current trends in meat processing.

“One trend, for example, is toward ever longer cylindrical sausages, which first require pre-packaging in order to protect them during in-house transport to the slicers.

‘Extra-long sausages’

“Our customers require especially long chambers of up to 1.4m in width in order to package the extra-long sausages.”

The C 800 was considerably wider than the next model down in Multivac’s portfolio, the C 500.

However, the company said the C 800 offered all the benefits of the C 500 as well: reliability and precision, hygienic design with proven stainless steel construction, high production speed and packaging security and flexibility.

In addition to the vacuum ‘quick-stop’ function on the machine, the C 800 also offers automatic progressive ventilation, ensuring sharp or pointed products do not destroy the film pouch during ventilation.

Sealing systems and vacuum pumps

Depending on the packaged ware and the packaging materials used, various sealing systems and vacuum pumps can be employed.

In order to further extend the shelf life of products, or to protect them against pressure points or similar danger areas, there is also the option of using modified atmosphere packaging. Typical inert gases used are nitrogen (N) or carbon dioxide (CO).

“Because this is a time-tested machine design, rapid implementation by the customer is ensured,” said Renner. “Users also remain very flexible, since not only large products but also several small products can be packaged as well.”

Multivac is displaying the new equipment at the trade show IFFA, which is running from May 4-9 in Frankfurt.

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Joining and Fastening Options for Food Grade Conveyor Belting


There comes a time when the ends of a conveyor belt must be joined. Whether a first time installation, replacement or repair, the question is what methods are available to fasten the two ends, and which one is best for your application.

A conveyor belt arrives at the plant in a fixed length. It comes openended, since it can’t be installed in its endless or looped form. So the ends have to be joined after the belt is positioned on the conveying equipment.

Shutting down a conveyor system to install a new belt, or repair an old one, involves downtime. Downtime means lost productivity. Even if the belt is replaced during scheduled maintenance, care must be taken to ensure that the splice meets certain operating criteria. For raw food processing in particular, the belt splice must meet strict hygienic standards.

Other key considerations include belt installation know-how and cost. Maintenance crews in food manufacturing plants are probably familiar with mechanical splicing equipment and techniques. Mechanical splices are easier to make and less costly than vulcanized or welded splices. However, they may compromise belt integrity and pose a food safety hazard.In this paper we’ll examine the more common types of mechanical and vulcanized splices and discuss the pros and cons of each, especially with respect to sanitation, ease of installation, longevity and cost.

Food Grade Conveying Belts

Not long ago, fabric-ply rubber belting was the prevalent technology for a wide range of conveying applications, including food processing. For food handling operations, the ends of PVC-coated, fabric belts were usually joined on conveying equipment by vulcanization (heat welding). The two ends were cut in opposing zigzag patterns, called a finger splice, and then placed into a heated press that melted the vinyl ends together. This process required specialized machinery to apply heat and pressure over time.

Using the equipment to make these splices took skill and craftsmanship. Maintenance departments were trained in the use of the machinery and had the know-how to complete the operation successfully. Many distributors also had the necessary equipment and skill.

When a fabric-ply belt needed to be replaced due to wear or damage, mechanical splices were generally used. By comparison to the vulcanization process, mechanical splices were easy to accomplish in the field, and required simple, inexpensive tools.

Modular Plastic Belting

Over time, modular plastic belting began to replace fabric-ply rubber belting. Modular plastic belting is also referred to as table top chain or modular chain. This type of belting is formed by a series of interlocking hinges and pins. Because it’s strong and durable, it has gained popularity for a wide range of conveying applications, including food manufacturing.

Since replacing hinges and pins is a relatively simple matter, belt ends could be joined easily to any length in the plant. The need for expensive vulcanizing equipment went by the wayside, along with the skill of vulcanizing belts. Today, vulcanizing operations are primarily performed by belt manufacturers and specialized fabricators.

Despite its popularity, modular belting has a major drawback relative to sanitation. The hinges and crevices can harbor bacteria. In the processing of foods such as meat, poultry and dairy products, hygienic standards are high. So the modular plastic belts must be removed from the conveying machinery and soaked in a sanitizing solution following every shift, often for hours. This cleaning process creates downtime, offsetting the benefits of easy belt assembly and disassembly.

Polyurethane Belting

The newest technology in conveyor belting is extruded polyurethane. This new technology offers many benefits over modular plastic chain in food conveying operations.

Polyurethane belts are available in a wide range of profiles, materials, and covers. They can be reinforced with tensile cords to add load capacity. And they offer high resistance to the harsh detergents and chemicals used in wash-down.

Having smooth surfaces and sealed edges, there is no place for microbes to take hold, so the belts can be easily sanitized using clean-in-place (CIP) practices. And there is no risk of contamination by broken hinges or pins.

Sanitizing the belt on the conveyor can reduce the use of cleaning/sanitizing water by up to 45% for every foot of 24” modular plastic chain, and reduce cleaning labor by half.

However, polyurethane belts present their own set of issues when it comes to joining and fastening.

Joining and Fastening Options for Polyurethane Belts

Joining or fastening a polyurethane belt offers the same challenges as did splicing the fabric-ply rubber belting of the past. The same two options are available:

• Vulcanization or welding (the process of joining belt ends using
heat and/or chemicals)
• Mechanical splicing (the process of joining belt ends using
metal or plastic hinges or plates)

Today, knowledge of the vulcanization process is not as prevalent in maintenance departments as it once was, so some plants hesitate to consider this method.

We’ll review both options to make clear which is best under what circumstances, and remove potential mental hurdles that may exist concerning the vulcanization process.

Vulcanizing or Welding

Heat welding the two ends of a polyurethane belt can be done in the factory, in a specialized belt shop, or in the field. The belt ends are typically joined using either a finger splice or a butt splice, as described below.

Finger Splice—Factory Weld

At the factory or in a fabricator’s shop, an endless belt is formed using a long finger splice. The ends of the belt are precisely cut in an interlocking pattern. Using specialized equipment, the long fingers are joined together and subjected to heat and pressure for a period of time. The result is a heat-welded bond that is virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the belt.

A factory finger splice produces the highest strength bond possible. This heat-welding process completely seals any exposed tensile cords or fibers in reinforced belts, eliminating any places for microbes to hide. The smooth splice maintains the integrity of the belt profile, which avoids the risk of the splice tearing, snagging or catching on equipment. And there are no metal or plastic pieces to break off and contaminate the food.

Producing a factory finger weld requires a large, water-cooled presswith separate controls operating on 220 volt current. The splice should be performed in a controlled environment with respect to temperature, moisture and contaminants. The splicing operation takes several hours to complete, and is not suitable for old, dirty or unevenly worn belts.

Factory splicing equipment costs approximately $10,000. Given the time and cost considerations, factory splices are impractical for many end-user (plant) operations.

Finger Splice—Field Weld

It’s not always possible to produce an endless belt for a piece of conveying equipment in the factory. Often that task must be performed on site, in the field. Perhaps the belt is replacing an existing belt on conveying equipment already in the plant. Or the joining operation may be needed to repair a damaged belt.

In the field, you can form an endless belt by joining the two ends using
a short finger splice. This splice is similar to a factory weld, but the fingers are shorter and therefore easier to weld.

Like the factory weld, a field finger weld produces a strong, smooth bond that maintains the integrity of the belt profile and provides a sanitary surface for ease of cleaning.

However, the equipment and operator skill needed to produce a field finger splice is similar to that required for the factory splice. Large manufacturing plants with skilled maintenance personnel may be able to invest in the equipment and training; smaller plants may not.

Field Butt Splice

A butt splice involves making a straight cut perpendicular to the belt centerline, and then joining the two ends using a hot vulcanization process. Different belt manufacturers have different methods of heat welding the straight belt ends together. One method uses a “hot plate” to melt the ends of the belt. The hot plate is removed and the ends pushed together. This method produces a relatively weak bond because only the surfaces of the belt are joined. Another method involves the use of a welding rod. A 45° “V trough” is cut into the end of each belt and the ends are melted together using a plastic electrode.

Another butt splice method uses a heat wand placed between the clamped ends of the belt. A fixture drives the two belt ends together against the heat wand, melting the urethane. The heat wand is removed and the ends cooled and trimmed to complete the splice. Making butt welds in the field involves smaller, more user-friendly and less expensive equipment than that used for finger welds. For example, Gates Mectrol® offers an air-cooled field welder that operates on 110 volt current and does not require compressed air. The machine applies pressure to the belt ends from top and bottom, and operates on an eight minute heat cycle. At roughly $5,000, it costs half as much as finger welding equipment.

While easier to perform in the field, butt welds do not produce the strength of finger welds. A butt weld is more likely to come apart as it stresses over the pulleys. When butt welding urethane belts with reinforcing tensile cords, some methods are unsuitable because they push the cords to the top of the belt, destroying the integrity of the reinforcement.

Mechanical Fastening

Mechanical fastening is the process of joining belt ends by means of metal or plastic hinges or plates. Many fasteners used today were born in the era of fabric ply belts, and are now being applied to the newer polyurethane belts.

Food grade polyurethane belting is typically joined using hinged fasteners, including wire hooks, lacing, staples and rivets. The fasteners are attached to each end of the belt, and then joined by means of a hinge pin.

Operational Considerations

The most important factors affecting splice life and performance are
• belt working tension
• pulley size
• construction of the belting
One must also consider
• belt width, length, thickness
• speed
• the presence of cleaners
• metal detectors.
An important consideration for food manufacturers is splice cleaning
and sanitation.

Belt working tension is rated in Pounds per Inch of Belt Width (PIW). Factors that affect belt tensioning include the load to be carried, gravity, acceleration and coefficient of friction. When deciding which splicing method to use, one must consider the weakening affect of the splice on belt working tension.

The following chart shows the working tension rating by type of splice for two Gates Mectrol food grade urethane belts. You can see that in this instance, the factory finger splice produces the strongest splice, and the butt splice produces the weakest.

Before deciding which fastener system to use, determine the belt tension rating (in PIW), measure the thickness of the belt, and measure the smallest diameter pulley in the system. Based on these criteria, choose the appropriate fastener size, and then choose the material suited to the application. Hinge pins and fasteners are available in a wide range of metallic and non-metallic materials, including stainless steel and plastic.

Some fastening systems can be attached directly to the belt cover; others need to be countersunk to make the fastener even with the belt surface and maintain the belt profile. This may involve skiving, or shaving material off the end of the belt before attaching the fastener. Hidden splices are a form of countersunk fastener that involves covering the splice with belt material—replacement cover stock that is laid over the splice and cured—to protect the splice from abrasion and wear.

Individual belt manufacturers can provide recommendations for styles of fasteners based on type of service. Most belt manufacturers have guidelines and tables, plus installation techniques and tools that suit their belts.

Pros and Cons of Mechanical Fastening Systems

Mechanical splicing is quick and economical compared to vulcanizing or heat welding. Splicing materials and installation tools cost relatively little. And splices can be made in minutes versus hours. Mechanical splices can be temporary or permanent.

While some skill is needed to make a field mechanical splice, nearly anyone can do so. Some mechanical splices can be installed with nothing more than a straight edge, a knife and a hammer. A mechanical splice wastes less belt material—just the amount needed to square both ends of the belt.

The ability to make quick splices on the plant floor helps reduce downtime. Splices are safe to install, since there is no exposure to heat and chemicals. They are easy to inspect for damage, because the splice is plainly visible. And mechanical splices are compatible with almost any type of belt.

In food operations, the biggest disadvantage to mechanical splices is sanitation. Unlike vulcanized splices, mechanical splices penetrate the belt, leaving holes where bacteria can accumulate. Also, with reinforced polyurethane belts, mechanical splices leave the tensile cords on the belt ends exposed, providing another area for microbes to grow.

Some mechanical fastening systems are prone to breakage. The broken pieces can potentially contaminate the food being conveyed. In cases where food streams must pass through metal detectors, fastening systems should not have metal parts.

Mechanical splices are not as strong as vulcanized finger splices, so tensile strength is compromised to a greater degree. And mechanical splices require a larger pulley diameter because the splice components lack flexibility.

Some mechanical splice styles raise the belt profile, so they don’t pass as easily over pulleys and cleaners. If not properly installed they can snag and tear, leaving pieces that can contaminate the food stream.

All these factors must be taken into account when considering whether to use a mechanical splice or a vulcanized one.

Common Hinged Mechanical Fastening Systems

Wire Hooks

Wire hooks date back to the days of flat, fabric belts. The hooks were designed to penetrate and grab onto the fabric plies of the belt carcass.

Wire hooks offer a low profile fastening system that is relatively simple to install. The tooling is inexpensive. Hooks are available in a wide variety of wire diameters, materials, leg and point lengths, and strip lengths. There are various methods of installation, including a rolling device and a hydraulic device.

Hooks and connecting pins are available in stainless steel for food processing operations where sanitation is a prime concern. The key benefit to this fastening system is ease of installation and the ability to take the belt on and off. The risk of the hooks breaking and contaminating the food stream is a factor to consider before employing this fastening method.

Metal Staples

Metal staples are well suited for light and medium duty fastener applications on synthetic carcass belts. The staples can be preinserted into a one-piece fastener strip which is placed over the ends of the belt and installed using a lightweight tool. The staples are then driven into place with a hammer.

Metal staples are available in stainless steel alloys for food grade applications. They can be used to repair a belt for temporary use, or as a permanent splice.

Metal LacingMetal lacing gives the appearance of a piano hinge. The laces are provided in a continuous strip to match the width of the belt. They are placed over the ends of the belt and the teeth are embedded into the belt carcass with a hammer.

Metal lacing creates a low profile splice that is economical to install. It can operate over pulleys as small as 1” in diameter.

Both fasteners and hinge pins are available in stainless steel for food grade applications. The hinge pins are removable so the belt can be separated for cleaning.

Plastic Rivets

Plastic rivets are a non-metallic fastener that can pass through metal detectors. This non-scratching, non-magnetic fastening system has rivets with beveled front edges that are molded into the carcass to present a flat surface. They travel over conveyor components more easily and quietly than metal systems.

Plastic rivet fasteners have hinge pins that can be removed for belt disassembly and cleaning. This fastening system requires a special tool for assembly, and offers a low-cost alternative to vulcanization. Plastic rivet fasteners have mechanical fastener ratings up to 65 PIW, and a minimum pulley size of 1 ½”.

Hybrid Joining System: PosiLace™ Pin Splice

Gates Mectrol PosiLace™ joining system combines vulcanization with mechanical fastening. Designed for light to medium weight loads, the fastening system has no metal parts to set off metal detectors.

The PosiLace pin splice is designed for fiber-reinforced food grade urethane belts. The vulcanization process takes place at the factory, where urethane is welded to the belt in the pin area. An end cap is welded to the belt ends to seal off the tensile cords and maintain the integrity of the reinforcement. This process also prevents exposing the cords to bacteria.

A plastic pin is inserted through the splice to join the belt ends in the field. No special tooling or equipment is needed. The splice is easy to clean and sanitize.


There are many factors to consider when choosing a belt joining or fastening system. For food grade polyurethane belts, vulcanization is a superior method for creating a splice that meets the highest sanitation standards. In raw food processing operations especially, hygienic considerations may outweigh the lower cost and ease of installation that characterize most mechanical fastening systems.

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Exposing inefficiencies in processing


The fast pace of most processing industries means it is becoming more and more automated, to both ensure output targets can be met and production line efficiencies are maximised. Challenging economic conditions and an increased level of competition within the industry have further highlighted the need for process efficiency and have encouraged plant managers to review their existing systems to maintain future profitability. Automation is instrumental in consolidating costs from the high rates of labour, expensive raw materials and in ensuring safe and legitimate operations. However, integrating new technology into existing production lines can be challenging at times, while existing technology requires careful configuration in order to optimise the production process.

The concept of inefficiency

Working efficiently is a key ambition for any business as it significantly impacts on its profitability and competiveness within the market. After all, only an efficient business is operating at maximum output while spending the minimum cost per unit. Nevertheless, a lot of processing companies struggle to maintain efficient operations. Often caused by badly specified, outdated, poorly configured or inaccurately tuned control systems, inefficiency can apply to all areas of the process system and can have a damaging effect on profitability. Low product quality, lack of sustainability, excessive labour costs, material wastage, process inefficiency and poor environmental control are just a few of the many examples of how inefficient operations can affect different parts of a business. Whatever the area of concern or the root cause, inefficiency is always expensive.

Targeting inefficiencies

To reduce inefficiencies within a business, it is necessary to identify the source of it. Only once the causes have been established can service providers, such as tna, start recommending improvements to the relevant control system and specify exactly what and where changes or updates are needed.
Identifying the causes of inefficiencies is a complex task and requires an in-depth analysis of the production process. By logging the production data from the existing control system, it is possible to expose areas, in which inefficiency is being experienced. A standalone tna supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA) is well suited for this purpose as it can extract data from the existing programmable logic controller (PLC) system. Once collected, any relevant information is then logged in a central database to enable the creation of configurable reports that are specific to the plant in question. As this system is a standalone piece of equipment and does not form part of the actual control system of the plant, it does not disrupt or interfere with the existing production control and operation.
Once the results have been analysed with the help of the plant’s operations and maintenance personnel, a plan of corrective action can be proposed and implemented. This may take the form of the installation of additional plant sensing devices, the replacement of inaccurate pieces of equipment, or tightening and interlocking the control parameters within the existing PLC application code. In fact, in many cases the results will indicate that the existing system is quite capable of meeting the improved criteria and that a simple alteration to the settings may be solution to the problem. The result will be a more efficient production process without any of the associated costs of a new control system.

Inefficiency 1: Product quality

Product quality issues can apply to both raw materials and the finished product and are often caused by badly specified, outdated or poorly configured control systems. The cost implications for such inefficiency can be significant. While the waste of raw materials is regrettable, real problems occur when the finished product does not fit the guidelines and is rejected due to poor quality or damage sustained during packaging. Besides incurring considerable costs due to increased wastage, potential customer complaints can be a real threat to the reputation of a business. With more and more regulations focusing on preventive control, such as the FDA’s Food Modernization Act in the US, producers are increasingly under pressure to adopt mechanisms that prevent contamination and ensure that all their products are safe from the moment they leave the production line.

Securing food safety assurance

Food safety can be assured by improving traceability and in-line checking throughout the entire production process. Data collection equipment, such as barcode scanning systems, can accurately verify that the correct batch is being processed by scanning the product barcode and cross-checking it with the available data, while data code assurance systems, ensure that the date code is printed, complete and legible. In-line monitoring systems, such as metal detection, will ensure the absence of foreign bodies within the product prior to packaging. Stale product monitoring will ensure the product is always within specification. These systems will ensure that the goal of total product safety will be achieved and provide a rigorous system of product traceability.

Inefficiency 2: Lack of sustainability

With the costs of energy rising, maintaining a sustainable production chain is one of the top priorities for the majority of plant managers. The amount of electricity, gas and water unnecessarily wasted each day may be huge and can be the result of a variety of different inefficiencies. For example, machinery running when not required, poor maintenance, fully-lit plants during production shut-downs, and leaking equipment can all contribute to large energy bills. With vast amounts of money wasted each year on unnecessary electricity, gas and water, plant managers are increasingly looking for effective ways to control their energy consumption and keep wastage to a minimum.

Keeping control of energy costs

Sensing equipment such as flow meters, motion sensors and kWh meters can easily be integrated into any existing PLC-controlled systems, while outdated variable speed drives (VSDs) can be replaced with more energy efficient devices. Providing greater visibility into relevant plant data ensures that energy is used only when and where it’s needed, plus machinery replacement costs can be kept to a minimum. With additional integration through control software and the option of gathering data to produce energy usage reports, any control system can enjoy a new lease of life. As sustainability efforts are often on-going projects, it needs to be remembered that, while large leaks often take priority, a high number of small leaks can equate to a similar amount of wastage and should not be ignored.

Inefficiency 3: Excessive Labour

People are undeniably the most important part of any business, and in particular any production facility. Although, technological progress has certainly automated some of the plant processes, labour costs still account for the biggest share of any facility’s budget. As a consequence, plant managers have started encouraging their employees to work more efficiently in order for the business to stay profitable in today’s challenging economic and market environments. However, multi-tasking is not always easy when out-dated procedures prevail. It’s not uncommon for maintenance staff to have to repeatedly trouble-shoot the same breakdown or work on the same piece of faulty equipment. While these procedures incur considerable maintenance costs, they also increase the amount of down-time. As a result, production grinds to a halt, labour costs are wasted and overall productivity, and profitability, slows down. While in some plants precious production uptime is wasted with maintenance and repair work, in others staff are often engaged in tasks that can be better and more accurately performed by a machine.

Creating an efficient workforce

A number of processes within a production plant can be automated to remove repetitive functions and reduce the margin for human errors. With a PLC at the heart of the control system and a clear and concise HMI (Human Machine Interface) system providing machine status and production data, operators will be able to monitor any unusual activities and react quickly and efficiently, before any further processes are affected. Furthermore, a detailed review of all the activities within the plant can expose a number of tasks that would benefit from automation. Once this has been optimised, staff are able to perform other less repetitive duties and enjoy a broader range of plant activities. As a result, plant managers not only realise considerable cost savings, but also increased job satisfaction and retention levels amongst their employees.

Inefficiency 4: Material wastage

There is no worse sight in any production plant than seeing products being spilt onto the floor or transferred into waste bins. As production lines are becoming more and more automated, products are being processed at unprecedented speeds. Just one product breakage can affect the entire production cycle and easily damage a large number of goods before the fault is noticed, resulting in unnecessary downtime and excessive wastage. Often caused by inaccurate control equipment or badly tuned processes, material waste is a real problem for any plant manager and weakens the efficiency of any production line.

FDS for a smooth product flow

Involving a controls systems provider, such as tna, from the start of a project can prevent such inefficiencies. By developing a detailed user requirement specification (URS), tna is able to help plant managers identify the expected key performance indicators (KPIs) that the process requires. This URS is then translated into a functional design specification (FDS), and once signed off by both parties the process will be set up according to the agreed specification. With a tight control specification in place a smooth and reliable product flow can then be achieved, reducing material wastage and downtime to a minimum.

Inefficiency 5: Process inefficiencies

Out of all the types of inefficiencies within a plant, process inefficiencies are the most invisible and hardest to detect. Control systems are rarely commissioned with a full set of finely tuned control loops as not all processes or recipe types can been tested during initial production trials. As a result, many variables are simply left to chance and will cause unexpected problems at later stages. Although, the system may be running the correct plant equipment at the correct time in the production sequence, fine tuning might not have been applied to some control loops to accurately tighten down these processes. Some processes can also be prone to frequent stoppages during a cycle, further reducing the overall production line efficiency and repeatability of product quality.

Re-tuning for more accuracy

Revisiting the original PLC control code and fine-tuning the proportional integral derivative (PID) loops will greatly improve the control situation. This can be achieved in a number of ways:

  • Manually watching and tuning the loop parameters and entering new values for P, I and D.
  • Using a dedicated loop tuning package to provide guidance in the correction of the loop parameters for maximum efficiency. Control system specialists, such as tna, who are well experienced with the Rockwell Automation RSTune product can help plant operators with the setup of this software.
  • For plants requiring more complex loop tuning, the use of a predictive and adaptive system can be considered. This is a model-based controller that sits above the PLC control loop on its own PC-based platform. Using these models, the system predicts the direction the process is taking and takes corrective actions before it can deviate from its set points. tna has in-depth experience of the Adaptive Resources QuickStudy product and can provide assistance when this process is carried out.

Implementing any of the above steps will result in a much tighter control of the process loops for more consistent product quality, greater process line efficiency, improved safety and reduced waste.

Inefficiency 6: Poor environmental control

Environmental control is a key priority for everyone in the process industry, particularly as industrial pollution poses a real threat to the future of our planet. When it comes to processing plants, drainage discharges (e.g. waste water) and atmospheric emissions (e.g. stack discharge) are the two critical problems that the industry is facing. Not only are these discharges causing substantial damage to our planet, but tighter Government regulations have also brought harsh penalties should any of these unwanted materials accidently escape from the plant. Without effective environmental control, plant manager are increasingly risking huge financial losses and in some cases even plant closures.

Ensuring safe operations

Simply adding extra sensing equipment at selected points within the process will accurately monitor waste products prior to discharge. The information gathered is then fed into the PLC system via 4-20mA signals and compared with a set point of acceptability. Depending on the data, the process will either allow discharge or create an out of tolerance alarm, causing the process to stop before any harmful substances are introduced into the environment. The logged data will also provide a detailed record for submission to external monitoring bodies if required, eliminating the risk of large fines and ensuring a safe and efficient operation.

Rethinking control systems

Inefficiencies within the process industry are numerous, and come at a considerable cost to plant managers, consumers and the environment. Collecting detailed and reliable data from as many parts of the production process as possible is vital to ensure a safe and efficient plant operation. Control systems play a crucial role in ensuring that only quality products leave the facility, waste is reduced to a minimum, labour and maintenance costs are under control and all regulations are adhered to. PLC and SCADA systems can easily be integrated into existing production lines to eliminate or reduce process inefficiencies, simplify operations and maximise productivity. Control systems providers such as tna can be involved from the outset of a project and offer complete engineering solutions from software and system design, control panel manufacture and installation, to maintenance and advice.

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OCME win IMHX 2013 Design 4 Safety Award

The Design 4 Safety Awards are run jointly by IMHX owners BITA (the British Industrial Truck Association) and Informa Publishing, to highlight the importance of safety product design features in helping to ensure safe materials handling operations.

A panel of experts, drawn from key areas of the mechanical handling industry, recently judged OCME as the Specialist Winners in the Automation category for their Auriga Laser Guided Vehicle. OCME were presented with this prestigious award at the IMHX Show in Birmingham on the 19th March.

The OCME Auriga LGV is designed with all round protection that minimises the potential to strike pedestrians. The onboard laser scanning devices are used to sense obstacles posing a collision risk and stop the vehicle. The vehicle also has acoustic and visual warning signals that make it clear to pedestrians if the vehicle is about to turn.

In addition to the safety of the vehicle, OCME also consider all safety aspects when designing the operating layout for their LGVs. They design the paths so that a safe distance is always maintained between an LGV and a fixed obstacle. Also, escape routes and safe areas are included for pedestrians and blind alleys are avoided.

OCME LGVs can perform the routine tasks that are normally carried out by fork-lift and clamp trucks, except there is no need for a driver. The cost saving associated with labour is usually significant, however LGVs can also help to reduce operating costs in other ways; for example, no unexpected bills for repairing damage caused by forklift trucks to the building, machinery and product. Also, about 50% lower maintenance costs.

The OCME Auriga is controlled from a central PC which is used to set the missions of the vehicles and manage the flow of traffic. Communication between the PC and the vehicles is made by Ethernet wireless network. Because no wires need to be embedded in the floor, the installation is normally straightforward and, if the plant layout changes in the future, the route of the LGV can be easily modified.

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Behind the seen in packaging

When you walk around a Supermarket you see thousands of different products in a vast assortment of packages many of which have been produced on a Flow Wrapping Machine with crimped end seal and a long seal underneath. How many of us actually stop to think about how the package is produced and what technology is required?

First of all let’s consider the film; you may say “well its plastic isn’t it?” True, it is plastic, but to achieve the seals it has to have some form of heat sealing capability. Then there is often the need to be able to see what’s in the package so the film has to have very good clarity. It also needs to be strong enough for rough handling but not so strong that you cannot open it and it must be food grade to ensure that harmful toxins cannot migrate into the food. It gets more complex if you have product that has to have good seal integrity (that is it must be air tight) or in some instances for, example salad products, where the film needs to allow gases to escape and oxygen to permeate. Most of the flow wrapped food packs that you buy will be some form of Polypropylene but some will be a complex amalgam of layers of different film types that overall provide the desired properties.

What about the machines that are used to pack the product? All flowrappers have some form of product infeed conveyor that can either be a belt or chain driven peg pushers. A reel of film is mounted on a shaft and the film stock is fed to a fold box that folds the film into a tube so that two sides go into rotary crimp wheels to form the long seal underneath the pack. The product is transferred into the tube and travels through the machine to end crimp jaws that seal the ends of the tube and cut the pack away from the film stock. The packed product exits the machine on an outfeed conveyor to be either automatically or manually packed into outer cases for onward transportation.

That sounds pretty straightforward you may think but: Some product is fed onto the infeed by operatives and some automatically using complex feeding mechanisms. The product may be fed through the machine on a tray or, to save packaging material, it may be wrapped without a tray. Wrapping some product, for example tomatoes or apples, can be very difficult because the wrapping characteristics are different when they are wet, dry, cold or warm and they have to be handled very carefully to avoid damage and bruising. The flow wrapping machine can have film stock mounted above the seam crimp wheels (bottom seal machine) or it can be mounted below them (top seal machine). The film stock can be manually changed or, for continuous production, it can be automatically changed using an “Auto-splice” unit. The end crimp jaws can be rotating or, for high integrity sealing, they can go up and down and travel backwards and forwards with the pack in a “box motion”. It’s pretty complex really isn’t it?

So when you next go into your supermarket take a good look at the product packaging because there is a lot more to it than you may realise and if you are looking to purchase a flow wrapping machine make sure that you go to an experienced supplier who can assist you to make the right choices.

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Craemer Plastic Pallets UK to boost brand awareness in the UK

The Craemer Group, the manufacturer of plastic pallets, wheelie bins, and containers in Europe, is expanding its services in the UK. At IMHX 2013, Craemer Plastic Pallets UK showcases its portfolio of plastic pallet solutions (Stand No. 18M180) that stand for highest quality, cost efficiency, and best customer value.

As a European market leader with a long tradition in the British market, Craemer plans to strengthen its presence and brand awareness in the UK by using this key trade fair as the kick-off to introduce its products and services to a wide range of industry experts.

Craemer Plastic Pallets UK builds on the company’s tradition and proficiency as an innovative manufacturer and service provider. The company stands for top product quality, guaranteed durability, reliability, and long-life products. Craemer aims at providing its customers the best value and the most cost effective solution. With headquarters in Herzebrock, Germany, and its UK production facility in Telford Shropshire, Craemer combines the manufacturing skills and experiences of both countries. “With manufacturing capabilities and pallet stock warehouses in Telford and in Herzebrock, Germany, Craemer customers can be assured swift and efficient turnaround of orders. We guarantee fast delivery times and a top service centrally organized from our facility in Telford,” comments Gordon Darbyshire, Craemer’s UK Sales Manager.

Craemer UK offers high performance with its wide and varied pallet products that range from the lightweight plastic D1 pallet to CR and T pallets for heavy duty loads. At IMHX, the company will showcase innovative industrial solutions for the food, pharmaceutical, and automotive industries, including dedicated trade, pooling, SCM and logistics services. Craemer UK reported significant growth in pallet sales in 2012 and is looking ahead to 2013. “Following this success we will extend our services by internet and the expansion of our UK sales team to maintain our on-going commitment to product development and customer service,” explains Gordon.


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New automated onion palletiser improves productivity for Bedfordshire Growers

Food packing firm Bedfordshire Growers has announced that its new automated palletiser has helped it to improve productivity

It said its Symach automated palletiser was recently installed for its onion packing line.

The new automated palletiser can cope with up to 10 tonnes per hour. In a statement, the firm also said that the palletiser also “accurately places the nets in the optimum position for maximum stability, and then wraps the entire pallet in heavy duty film ensuring the integrity of the finished product”.

Bedfordshire Growers sales director Tim Elcombe said: “The new palletiser has made a huge difference to our packing line. Our activities are directed at providing locally grown fresh produce which is packed and delivered with the minimal delay.

“As well as speeding up the whole packing line, the improved accuracy and efficiency in stacking now means each pallet can now safely accommodate an additional 100kg.  This represents a space saving of over 10% which not only improves the service we offer but will also will have a direct benefit on transport costs and help to reduce our carbon footprint even further.”

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Roll n’ Pall smart pallet roll-out

Polymer Logistics has introduced Roll n’ Pall, a ‘smart pallet’ said to serve as both a pallet and a heavy duty dolly to improve productivity throughout the supply chain and increase in-store product availability.

The company, a global provider of retail-ready packaging (RRP) solutions, says its new all-in-one pallet and dolly solution facilitates safe and easy in-store handling.

Roll n’ Pall features a four-wheeled base that can be easily manoeuvred on the retail floor and locked into the sales fixture thanks to its simple foot-activated mechanism.

The lock can then be released in the same way.

Replacing the use of materials handling equipment, Roll n’ Pall is also said to significantly reduce the time and cost of replenishment, making it beneficial for both suppliers and retailers.

“The main advantage of having two products in one is the ability to deliver from the production line, via DC, straight to the retail floor, which keeps handling and replenishment costs to a minimum,” says Adrian Dale, Polymer Logistics managing director UK.

“Empty pallets can subsequently be replaced with full ones, which maximises product availability and noticeably boosts sales,” he says.

Dale add that in trials, retailers have “more than halved their replenishment times” compared to traditional shelf merchandising.
This, he says, not only reduces costs but also frees up staff to assist customers, thereby “improving the overall shopping experience”.

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Why many heads are better than one | Buyers’ Guide – weighing and filling

Multihead weighers are faster and more accurate than linear weighers, but are they always the better option? Lynda Searby finds out more and rounds up the latest kit

Where I come from, in the north of England, people don’t mince their words. But in the packaging industry it’s never that simple. A bagger is never a bagger, nor a filler just a filler. And a weigher is certainly never a weigher – it’s a linear weigher or a multihead weigher, a radial or a screw feed weigher.

The key to deciding whether a linear or multihead weigher is the best fit for a particular production line is understanding the distinction between these – and indeed other – types of weigher.

“In very basic terms, a linear weigher feeds product onto a weigh pan until target weight is achieved and then discharges,” explains Chris Bolton, sales and operations director at PFM Packaging Machinery.
Or put another way by Ian Hope, managing director of Lingwood Food Services, UK sales agent for Danish multihead manufacturer Bilwinco: “On a linear weigher product is fed into a weighing bucket until the desired amount is in the bucket. When the portion is ready, the product is emptied into the pack. During the time it takes to fill the weighing bucket no packs are filled.”

Linear weighers typically have two channels: a bulk-feed channel which fills the majority of the weight; and a small channel that tops it up more slowly to accurately reach the correct weight at the end of each cycle. This format is also known as a ‘rough and fine’ weigher and is often used where pieceweight is varied.

Multihead weighers – also known as combination weighers – on the other hand, feed a proportion of the target weight simultaneously into a number of weigh buckets or hoppers. The controls then establish which buckets hold the combination closest to target weight and signal these to be discharged.

“A multihead is actually 10 to 28 linear weighers built together. Here we do not fill the exact amount of product into each weighing bucket, but approximately a third of the target weight. Then the controls combine three different weighing buckets  in order to reach the correct portion size and releases these into the pack. Once this has been done, three other buckets are ready to be emptied,” says Hope.

Multihead variations

There are also variations on the combination multihead. Screw feeds are used in multihead systems where goods are particularly viscous and cannot be fed by vibration. This configuration is known as a screw feed weigher. Combination multiheads can also be supplied with the pockets in a linear rather than radial orientation, a format generally reserved for fresh or fragile products requiring very accurate feed control.

The different operating principles of linear and multihead weighers mean that fundamentally, linear weighers are slower and less accurate than multiheads, as James Hosford, European sales manager with Tna Europe, explains: “With multihead weighers, each channel does not aim to hit the target weight, nor does the amount in each bucket need to be precise. This allows the loading, and therefore, bagging, to be much quicker.”

What’s more, he adds, as the software system has thousands of combinations to choose from, the release of product is more accurate.

Ishida Europe marketing manager Torsten Giese provides some examples to illustrate the contrast in speed and accuracy between the two types of weigher. He says that ‘rough and fine’ linear weighers will typically achieve up to 50 products per minute, whereas multiheads can process several hundreds of weighments per minute. In terms of accuracy, he says that on a 1kg washing powder pack, a rough and fine weigher might achieve 5% accuracy, whereas a multihead will usually be within 1% of the target weight.

German firm Multipond has developed a patented ‘dosage mode’ for its multihead machines that can be used to deliver even greater speeds than would be possible using combination technology. UK managing director Geoff Tandy says this comes into its own when feeding a high speed thermoformer, for example, when weighing cereals into a dual compartment yogurt pot.

Given the superior speed and accuracy of multihead weighers, it is hard to see why anyone would opt to invest in a linear weigher.  Historically, the higher price of multiheads gave some buyers grounds for choosing linear weighers, but according to PFM’s Bolton, this is no longer a justification for most.

“The first multihead weighers became available in the late 1970s and since then the price differential between linear and multihead weighers has closed considerably. This means that in the majority of applications encountered by PFM, the speed and accuracy of multihead systems more than compensates for extra capital cost, particularly through reduced product giveaway,” he says.

In addition, Tandy says that the proliferation of cheap Chinese multihead machines has killed a lot of the linear market. His company stopped making conventional linear weighers altogether about three years ago to focus solely on multiheads.

Similarly, PFM says that the advance of small, entry level multiheads has meant that it has been nearly 10 years since it supplied linear weighers for use with its bagging machines.

Even producers of commodity food products such as rice and pasta, historically staunch linear weigher users, are turning to multihead technology, according to Ishida’s Giese.

“Where products were previously not considered high value enough for multihead weighing, greater pressure on margins is prompting a move to multihead weighing due to the lower giveaway,” he says.
Still, there are some pockets where linear weighers are hanging on to their market share.

“There will always be some applications where linear weighers are suitable, for example, in the packaging of smaller product runs where bulk output is not a major requirement,” notes Tna’s Hosford. “However, more and more users are turning to multihead weighers due to their increased speed, accuracy and comparable cost.”

And as innovation continues to forge ahead, the argument for multihead weighers is only going to become more compelling. Tna says it is continually developing new technology to increase speed without compromising on accuracy.

“For example, we are currently developing a close loop control which allows the distribution system, on-head flavouring systems and packaging system to communicate and adjust their processes to cope with changing factors at any point in the production line, enabling maximum efficiency,” says Hosford.

In addition, last year, Tna launched the new Intelli-weigh Omega multihead scale, which is said to increase weighing speeds by 30%.

Ishida’s Giese lists the main areas for advancement as the use of more sophisticated, faster electronics to calculate the best combinations and improvements to the interface between the weigher and packaging machine.

Multipond’s Tandy makes similar observations, saying “feeding product better onto the machine, increasing output and improving integration with packaging machines” are some of the main focus areas.
PFM’s Bolton, meanwhile, says the principal innovations in multihead weighing now lie in the electronic control systems that allow machines to function mechanically much more quickly and accurately. For example, PFM has developed new software and control systems for its MBP C1 and C3 weighers.

“The improvements in accuracy come from a new powerful microprocessor within the industrial PC used to control the weigher,” explains Bolton. “This runs newly designed software to cancel the effects of external vibrations close to the machine and control weight combinations in a fraction of the time compared to the previous system.”

Consequently, the prognosis for the long term survival of linear weighers appears bleak.

“Ultimately, linear weighing will probably die out,” predicts Giese. “As soon as people can switch, they will.”

New filling equipment round-up

Dico & Gravfil has launched a generation of liquid filling and capping equipment for use in the petrochemical, agro-chemical, household product and food industries. The Dico-Delta capper can achieve speeds of up to 400 caps per minute and the Gravfil-Excel liquid filler is capable of filling container volumes from 50ml to five litresl. According to Dico & Gravfil, the lines use dual servo-controlled filling technology for guaranteed fill speed optimisation. In addition, energy-saving Siemens hardware is on hand to reduce operational costs and advanced remote diagnostic capabilities is designed for maximising machine uptime.

Disocont Tersus is a new system from German firm Schenck Process for controlling material feeding machines such as gravimetric loss-in-weight feeders and screw weigh feeders. The new system has a touch screen interface, offers improved modularity and is said to be easier to install and use than previous models.

IMA Life has developed the Sterifill Smart aseptic filler to answer calls from pharmaceutical companies for quicker size changeovers, more compact layout and improved process control. The filling, stoppering and capping machine can handle vials of up to 500ml.

GEA Avapac has extended its Limited intervention (Li) range of 25kg bag filling systems for powders with the RBF-1000Li, a line with a higher capacity but the same small footprint as the RBF-800Li. The company’s Li technology enables companies to fully automate their plants from empty bag handling right through to finished pallets.

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Veg firm weighs up 20% production boost | Project Profile

When Norfolk vegetable processor Pinguin Foods set itself an aim to increase throughput by a fifth, it looked to Ishida to upgrade its ageing checkweighing set-up. Philip Chadwick finds out more about the installation

Who Pinguin Foods
Aim The frozen vegetable processor and packer needed new weighers to boost production throughput in its Kings Lynn facility by 20%
Spend Undisclosed
What Ishida weighers – 24 head CCW-R multihead weigher and four 5 litre hopper 14 head models
When Early 2012

Pinguin Foods is a supplier of vegetable and potato-based easy to prepare products. The company, part of the Belgian PinguinLutosa group, has a facility in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, which processes and packs vegetables.

The company has been investing heavily in its processing and packing operations with a multi-million pound spend on high-tech kit including colour sorters that can detect imperfections in the vegetables and reject them at high speeds. But to improve efficiency, Pinguin felt that it needed to upgrade its weighing equipment. The company already had a raft of old Ishida equipment.

“It is vital that we keep up with the times,” says Pinguin Foods chief engineer Paul Spurrell. “The high quality standards that we set ourselves and which our customers demand mean we have to invest in the latest and best equipment.”


The target was clear: to increase throughput by 20%. Alongside its other investments the company went for five new Ishida weighers: a 24 head CCW-R multihead weigher with three litre hoppers for mixed vegetables; and four 5 litre hopper 14-head models for single varieties, which include carrots, peas, sweetcorn, beans, broccoli and cauliflower.


According to Spurrell, installation “went like clockwork” and the new weighers have proved to be easy to operate. Ishida Europe marketing manager Torsten Giese explains that new equipment went into the Kings Lynn plant in stages, so it didn’t disrupt the business.

The Ishidas handle pack sizes of between 125g and 2.5kg including mixed vegetables of two, three and four varieties on the 24 head mix weigher. The weighers have also been designed for special pack requirements. One weigher, for example, is set up in a ‘double dump’ format and is used to pack 10kg boxes.

“Another advantage is their flexibility,” adds Pinguin packaging hall manager Steve Walton. “We can easily switch product from line to line depending on requirements. That was something not possible with our previous volumetric and older multihead models.”

According to Ishida Europe marketing manager Torsten Giese, automation was another key part of the offer because, he says, it helps to further increase efficiency on the production line.
He says: “They can go to another level of performance. We have been able to increase the accuracy enabling a massive improvement in productivity and cost savings. The investments have also future proofed the business.”

Typical speeds are around 75 packs per minute for a 1kg pack, which, according to Ishida, are well within the weigher’s capabilities of 90 packs per minute. The weighers are in operation 24 hours a day, five days a week.

Spurrell says: “We are continuing to work on further developing the performance of the lines. Our focus is not just on speed but on delivering the consistency and ensuring that the weighers are fully integrated so that they work as efficiently as possible with existing equipment.”

The DACS-W checkweighers feature Ishida’s Digital Signal Processing chip which permits “accurate signal processing under a wide range of weighing conditions”. This goes with an Ishida built load cell that delivers, according to the kit supplier, high sensitivity, response and accuracy.  Speed and accuracy are further enhanced by the lightweight conveyor, enhanced direct drive motor and a special low friction belt.


So far, Pinguin is edging towards its 20% target. “In the last few months that they [the weighers] have been installed we have already achieved a 15% improvement in throughput so we are well on the way to reaching our 20% target,” explains Spurrell.

Further investment in Ishida kit is on the cards. Pinguin is planning to convert a final line to incorporate Ishida kit.

“We are a forward looking company and constantly challenging ourselves to deliver the highest standards to our customers,” says Pinguin Foods UK managing director Nigel Terry. “This means we are committed to continual investment in the best equipment that will help us deliver on these promises.  Ishida weighers are a key part of this.”

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Brillopak unveil robotic palletiser designed for fruit and veg

Brillopak, the automated packing and palletising systems specialist, has introduced a new robotic palletiser designed for fresh fruit and vegetables

The new Brillopak Compact C211 is capable of placing a variety of container formats including crates, cases and trays onto pallets. The Compact C211 features highly compact dimensions, far smaller than conventional robot cells, which enable the machine to fit easily into even the smallest of factory spaces or to integrate with other packing equipment to provide a complete line solution.

The machine can palletise crates and cases at the rate of up to 30 per minute dependent on application.  A multi-purpose end effector enables it to handle multiple sizes and a simple-to-use touchscreen with pre-set recipe function ensures easy operation and fast changeovers.

“We have listened closely to the market in the development of this machine,” said Brillopak director David Jahn. “The Compact C211 satisfies the main requirements for fruit and vegetable end of line packing in terms of speed, efficiency and user-friendliness and provides the flexibility to enable companies to respond to changing retailer requirements.”

Additional machines in the Compact C range include the Brillopak C1 11 crate packer for a wide range of pre-packed fresh produce, C250 crate de-stacker, BK750 pallet stacker/de-stacker, crate bale arm closing unit, vision systems and Ethernet connection for remote access and support.

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Bespoke storage system and mezzanine floors help Dalepak rise to the challenge

Established in 1991, Dalepak is an established warehousing, order fulfilment, distribution and contract packing specialist. The company operates multiple sites in and around Northampton with a combined footprint of more than 300,000 square feet  but, with demand for its range of services growing, additional storage space was required. So, in January 2012, Dalepak acquired a new 140,000 square feet site on the ProLogis Pineham Estate in Northampton.

The new facility has 12 dock level doors and is 12.5 metres high to the eaves. It boasts a number of eco-friendly features such as a rainwater harvesting system, solar shading and skylights which allow natural light to flood in to the building. Being a new build, the facility was, in effect, an empty shell when Dalepak took the keys which meant that one of the company’s first jobs was to design and install a storage and racking system that allows the available space to be utilized to its optimum capacity. Dalepak approached RediRack – one of the UK’s most popular storage system suppliers – for a solution.

Having considered Dalepak’s requirements, RediRack designed and installed a bespoke pallet racking system that provides more than 21,000 pallet positions, along with two mezzanine floor structures which, in addition to offering extra storage space, allow contract packing activities to be carried out away from the hustle and bustle of the warehouse.

RediRack created a narrow aisle system comprising 30 double runs of racking with 2300mm wide aisles. Each aisle is 56m long and has an access tunnel running across the block to allow Dalepak’s fleet of Bendi articulated forklift trucks to reach the required pallet location quickly and fuel efficiently. To protect the new racking, Dalepak asked RediRack to install sacrificial legs to every frame.

Sacrificial legs allow damaged frames to be quickly and easily changed with minimal cost and down time. Essentially, a removable section from the lower front of the pallet packing frame (the area where racking damage caused by a carelessly driven forklift is most likely to occur), the leg is designed to absorb impact and leave the rest of the frame undamaged. The legs can be replaced in as little as 20 minutes.

“We know that racking gets damaged –  the key to minimizing the downtime this can cause is the ability to quickly,  safely and easily replace the damaged frames. RediRack’s sacrificial leg is the perfect solution for us” says Gary White, Dalepak’s joint managing director.

RediRack also fitted high visibility end barriers and column protectors to further reduce the likelihood of forklift damage. The racking bays within the storage cube are 2700mm wide and the system varies in height to take advantage of the building’s full internal dimensions. The new mezzanine floor areas within the new unit were created by RediRack’s sister company, RediFloor.

Dalepak already had a single tier RediRack mezzanine floor at another of its facilities and RediFloor were able to dismantle, move and rebuild the system within the new warehouse to create an additional 460 square metres of floor space.

The area is used for contract packing. “Contract packing is a significant part of our business that, during seasonal peaks, involves hiring specialist staff,” Gary White explains. “On a mezzanine floor, these staff are able to quickly and efficiently pack high volumes in a safe, controlled working environment.”

To create further e-Commerce fulfilment space, RediFloor built a second, 468 square metre single tier mezzanine in the centre of the facility. Both mezzanines conform to the Buildings Regulations code, are fully fire protected with a one hour rating and feature pallet gates to ensure the safe loading of goods into the pick and pack area.

The new facility is now operating three shifts a day, 7 days a week, and is serving multiple clients including Molton Brown and Whittard of Chelsea.

Gary White commented: “I believe RediRack’s welded, bolt-free racking is sturdier and safer than the alternatives on the market. When we build our next facility, RediRack will install the rack and mezzanine floors. Every time RediRack manage an installation for us they use high quality, British manufactured products and the project comes in on time and on budget; I can’t ask for any more”.

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Robotic boost to bagging line productivity | Project Profile

A new robotic palletising line bought from Brillopak at Muntons’ Stowmarket malted ingredients factory looks set to yield a return on investment within less than 18 months of installation, writes Lynda Searby

Who: Muntons

Aim: To boost capacity on Muntons’ 25kg sack packing lines

Spend: £300,000

What: Brillopak robotic palletising cell incorporating a Nachi PLP 130 robot, plus infeed and outfeed conveyors

When: Summer 2012


Muntons has been producing malt and malted ingredients for more than 80 years. During this time the company has grown to become a significant player in the supply of malts, malt extracts, homebrew kits, flours and flakes to the international food and drink industry.  The company’s Stowmarket mill is operational 24 hours a day, five days a week. Prior to a new investment last summer, the mill was at maximum capacity, producing 17,000 tonnes of crushed malt and malted ingredients annually.

However, with Muntons experiencing growth in domestic and overseas demand for these ingredients, it became apparent that capacity needed to be ramped up.  One of the bottlenecks identified was the palletising line, which palletises 25kg sacks of grain from two bagging lines, one manual and one automatic.

The palletising operation was already automated following investment in a layer palletiser nine years ago. The problem, though, was that it wasn’t fast enough or flexible enough to cope with higher throughput.

“We could only ever run one bagging line into it,” explains David Mercer, project engineer at Muntons. “In the past we’d been able to get round this with careful planning, but it had reached the point where we needed to increase packing volumes.”


In July 2011, Muntons asked three equipment suppliers, one of them end-of-line automation specialist Brillopak, to propose a robotic palletising line that would increase throughput by 50%.

Brillopak designed a robotic palletising cell incorporating a Nachi PLP 130 four axis robot, plus infeed and outfeed conveyors, which impressed Muntons with its attention to detail and quality of engineering.

“We could see that it was robustly designed using only top quality components and that the layout had been carefully thought out,” says Mercer. “Some systems seem, on the face of it, to be well built, but when you come to maintain them they have parts you can’t source.” The user-friendliness of the Brillopak system was another factor in its favour, according to Mercer.

“We wanted a robot that would be easy for us to programme,” he says. “For example, slightly changing the position of sacks on a pallet is often quite a difficult thing to do, whereas with the Brillopak palletiser, it is easy.” Brillopak created 65 different pallet load recipes for the robot, accommodating every conceivable combination of bag size and type.

The company also provided a solution to the problem of restricted ceiling space, mounting the robot on a plinth to increase its reach range. This allows it to work round obstacles like slipsheets and sacks despite the low ceiling.


The contract was awarded to Brillopak in December 2011, the design was agreed in February 2012 and three months later, the line was up and running.

Sacks from two separate packing lines feed the Nachi robot. Each line passes through a bag flattener, metal detector and labeller onto a pick-up conveyor. Brillopak specified a conveyor with central belt and end-stop and on which each roller was driven to ensure that sacks would be presented to the robot in the correct position.

Programmed with 65 different recipes for each line, the robot feeds two different pallet stations, each of which has its own pallet dispenser. The robot head auto adjusts for different bag sizes and loads two pallets at a time. Full pallets are moved down the line to a stretch wrapper with hooder. From there they are fed to a series of outfeed conveyors. This is an improvement on the previous line in that fork lift trucks are no longer needed to transfer pallets to the stretch wrapper.

The entire system is driven from a single colour touchscreen HMI. The robot signals are fed to the HMI meaning that there is no requirement for the operator to use the robot pendent. The system is safety zoned into two areas with safety guarding and CAT 4 light guards.


The line is capable of 600 sacks per hour, more than fulfilling Muntons’ brief.

“We wanted 50% more throughput but we got more. The previous system did 300 bags per hour; this line can do twice that,” says Mercer. “Hopefully in time we’ll fulfil that capacity.”

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