Hi, I'm Michael Costa, senior editor for ProFood World Magazine, and I'm at Interpack 2023 in beautiful Dusseldorf, Germany. Some of the processing machine innovations I've seen here include the usual labor savings and sustainable energy use, but I've also seen a focus on research and development and pilot-size processing machines in a very sophisticated approach, and I've also seen in a renewed refinement of existing equipment with new features.
So here's some of what I've seen.
tna Solutions has updated its flagship VFFS robag system with a more streamlined design, simpler controls on the front end, and an automated case-packing addition on the backend.
tna also showcased its combination horizontal and vibrating conveyors, which a company representative told me is the best of both worlds for quickly moving, storing and sorting multi-size snack foods like chips before they're coated with seasoning and bagged.
Speaking of sorting chips, tna also highlighted its roflo chip sorter, which can separate small and large chips before they move into small and large bags, matching the size of the chip with the corresponding bag for maximum use of packaging.
Heat and Control has updated its FastBack horizontal conveyor to version 4.0 with a smaller, sleeker design, automatic reversing, fewer parts, and easier sanitation. Heat and Control has also streamlined its seasoning application system to allow for easier cleaning and a more thorough application of seasoning before bagging.
Finally, Heat and Control showcased its labor-saving Lift & Tip Vertical Conveyor System, which drastically cuts cleaning time by only having to change stainless steel buckets instead of washing down a traditional conveyor. This also reduces the potential for cross-contamination of allergens during product changeovers, which is ideal for co packers.
Cremer debuted its gummy counting and dispensing system, developed in partnership with Spee-Dee, that allows more flexibility for multi customer end users like contract manufacturers. Cremer also updated its WD series counting and dispensing system for larger items like chicken wings with easier access to cleaning via a fold-down side panel.
IKA showcased its universal solid liquid mixing system, which a company rep told me eliminates bridging and other flow obstacles through its unique design and method of mixing powders and liquids at the infeed.
And like I mentioned in my intro, a more sophisticated approach to tabletop sized pilot plant and r&d equipment is evident here at Interpack. IKA's magic LAB line matches full size mixing and blending machines with tabletop-size counterparts that mirror all the features of the larger equipment.
And at Gericke, the company's compact industrial mixing equipment is being rolled out with the same idea of mirroring Gericke's larger machines. This is a 3D-printed model of one of those tabletop blenders, and a company representative says the real thing will be showcased later this year.
Finally, going from small to large, Fortress is rolling out its XL big bag caseweighing system for the European market here at Interpack, which features an updated, easy to use control system designed for industry 4.0 and beyond.