GEA, one of the largest suppliers of packaging and processing solutions for food, launches its new SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine in Europe. The entire machine has been redesigned as a future-proof modular system with increased functional efficiency promoting higher operational uptime and ease of use. According to the company, the updated version reduces operational costs and energy use due to sealing technology advances. Plastic, as well as the functional paper, can be used for bag production.
The TwinTube is a continuous motion vertical machine suitable for packaging small-sized food products such as candy, nuts, and dried fruits and other on-the-go products in pillow bags of different sizes. The machine is part of a complete packaging process with upstream and downstream equipment operating in a dry manufacturing facility. It operates with two parallel forming tubes, achieving combined speeds of up to 500 bags in a minute (weighing 10 to 18 g each). It is also possible to run a different film reel for each tube, meaning calorie packs of different widths or designs can be simultaneously filled. A new feature to the machine is the Jumbo Roll, which allows film reels of up to 100 kg to be used for long production runs, which boosts operational efficiency.
“The new TwinTube has a modular construction that allows customers to easily add new options and upgrade their machine, thus prolonging the life span of the system. In addition, we’ve increased operator friendliness by introducing toolless adjustment features which help achieve shorter changeover times and proven or error-free setup of the machine – this includes printers, labelers, and the vertical sealing unit,” explains Martijn van de Mortel, product manager- Vertical Packaging at GEA. “With these new updates, we’re able to meet our customers’ demands in terms of automated process control, less operator dependence, more uptime and operational efficiency,” he adds.
Automatic web tracking
The new SmartPacker TwinTube is also equipped with automated web tracking. This means that if the film deviates from its path, due to, for example, variances in the film roll, the feature will correct the direction of the film automatically without the need for manual adjustment. Ultimately this safeguards the quality of the resulting bags while saving on downtime.
Reinforced sealing for more flexibility
The new SmartPacker features a new jaw-closing mechanism, optimized heating unit, and a vertical rotational seal unit, promoting robust packing performance and excellent tightness of the pack seals. The jaw closing mechanism offers more than triple sealing force as the previous one and can apply 6000N. This allows using thicker films or films with more diverse characteristics in terms of sealing requirements.
Due to the more stable suspension of the longitudinal seam unit and the reproducible and precise positioning by spindle and ruler, shorter changeover times are possible when switching formats or foils. “With this development, producers will be able to work with more challenging films thus able to give retailers and consumers what they are looking for in terms of bag quality with an even wider range of film materials.” states van de Mortel.
Easy labeling, operation and maintenance
The new GEA TwinTube is optionally equipped with a new, fully integrated GEA TiroLabel unit, which makes the machine even more compact on the factory floor. The dedicated labeling unit delivers a speed of up to 180 labels in a minute at a width of 150 mm and achieves millimeter precision during labeling. The label roll has a quick-release operation, which means it can be changed in seconds with minimal downtime.
Comfortable to operate and maintain
The machine features an innovative open design with double-hinged doors for easy access and see-through panels providing maximum visibility of the sealing area. Full access and easy maintenance are made possible via the machine’s hinged front-plate – to which the sealing arms and vertical seal are attached – and which can be fully opened. This ensures all items requiring maintenance can be easily reached.