Interpack 2023 – blueprint for innovations in food and drink equipment

Savories and sweets, followed by soft drinks and coffee

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Interpack
Designer and manufacturer of machines and complete plants, Sacmi, presented the Sacmi HTB equipment to wrap chocolate tablets and bars at Interpack 2023. Photo Dominique Huret

Cherry-picking for innovation at such a huge show is a challenging task. Among the 18 halls, there was so much to see. The largest stands belonged to German and Italian equipment manufacturers but there were so many others with interesting machines. Journalist Dominique Huret from Cape Decision highlights innovations in the snacks, food, and drinks sectors.

TNA Solutions

A TNA operator with a complete food line at Interpack 2023 in Dusseldorf. Photo Dominique Huret

Headquartered in Australia with 40 years of experience, the global actor in food processing and packaging solutions TNA Solutions has installed more than 14,000 systems in more than 120 countries. For the first time in Europe, TNA exhibited the most recent version of its flagship vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) packaging system, the TNA Robag 3e. Complemented by the TNA auto-splice 3, production uptime can be up by 5% with only a 200 mm increase in overall floor space.

The integrated software relays information from the TNA checkweigher or from the product in-seal inspection to inform operators on the optimal weighing bucket configuration for prompt troubleshooting, significantly reducing rejects, product, and material waste. As a result, snack manufacturers can now produce up to 2,800 more bags per line per day with minimal downtime.

Theegarten-Pactec

Germany-based Theegarten-Pactec showcased its modular high-speed wrapping machine for preformed products in flow packs. Claiming to pack 4,000 chiclet flow packs per minute, the FPH5 packaging machine achieves this output by packaging multiple pieces in one pack and also enables the production of product chains. This modular high-speed wrapping machine is designed for preformed products in flow packs. 

These can be completed with cold or heat-sealable foil while the wrapping material speed is up to 140 meters a minute. The flexible designs allow a variety of assembly groups, while the machine can be tailor-made for customer needs. Thanks to highly automated operations, several machines can be handled by one operator. The FPH5 packaging machine can handle products suitable for plate feeding, hard candy, éclair, and jelly, up to 2,000 products per minute.

Sacmi HTB

Designer and manufacturer of machines and complete plants, Italian Sacmi presented the Sacmi HTB, equipment to wrap chocolate tablets and bars. Called a new ‘electronic r-evolution,’ it was presented at the end of 2022 and aims at revolutionizing wrapping technology by taking an all-electronic approach that, for the very first time, replaces a purely mechanical design. With the highest speed on the market, the HTB can handle 250 tablets per minute, without any damage to the wrapping and or processed product. 

The machine design lets producers care for the most delicate products in high-speed sequences. HTB-packed tablets feature a double wrap – an inner one sealed on three sides and an outer one, either in pre-cut cardboard or in envelope style, made of pre-cut paper or detached directly from reels. As for sustainability and energy recovery, the equipment lets users retrieve energy in a circular manner, ensuring efficient optimization and maximum energy efficiency. 

Coesia

The Italian Coesia gathers a group of companies specialized in innovative industrial and packaging solutions. GREENMATION is their response to the current trend prompted by consumer demands towards reusable and recyclable packaging solutions, whilst manufacturers face labor shortages and production cost increases. One of Coesia’s answers is SM+ created by Volpak, one of the group’s companies specialized in the production of packaging lines for horizontal form-sill-seal pouches, especially dedicated to customers with very tight time-to-market needs and highly variable productions in both product and format.

The SM+ created by Volpak – which specializes in packaging lines for horizontal form-sill-seal pouches – is especially dedicated to customers with very tight time-to-market needs and highly variable productions in both product and format. Photo Dominique Huret

Equipped with cutting-edge magnet-based conveyor technology, the SM+ is designed to be a modular solution, enabling a flexible configuration of its fully independent stations that align with the overall performance. Versatility is achieved through fully automatic changeover and quick format adjustments which can manage the production of small batches of a variety of products. The SM+ displayed at Interpack 2023 was a pre-made pouch solution, where ready-made pouches could be seen filled and sealed. The main assets are quick and automatic changeover, easy switch to different pouch styles and products including customized smaller batches, minimal waste, and the SM+’s modular design – where each machine station can be turned on and off – in accordance with production needs.

Then followed by soft drinks and coffee…

IMA 

Definitely, a must-see at the show was the IMA SYNKRO high-speed capsule filling and sealing machine. Italian IMA Coffee develops high-end solutions to enhance the performance of its customers and push back the boundaries of capsule filling and sealing. The equipment boasts high-speed performance, space-efficient design, and wide flexibility in handling diverse types of capsules in various materials. 

The machine’s footprint is relatively small for the high processing speeds, ranging from 800 to 1200 ppm. Thanks to magnetic shuttles operating independently of one another, SYNKRO will adapt to different needs – bulk-fed, trays or stacks with capsules in various materials or sizes. The customer sets the parameters according to the production scenario, adjusting each single operation and optimizing the final product quality. These can be sealing system parameters including time and pressure. Changed according to the material to be sealed, customers can select the most appropriate solution based on the materials used and the product they are processing.

KHS

The Dortmund engineering company, KHS presented optimized neck changes for its stretch blow molders. Whereas in the past only one category of product was usually run on aseptic lines, bottlers of sensitive beverages now face an ever-growing demand for flexibility. Beverage producers who process both aseptically filled beverages and juice and carbonated soft drinks need to use either the large 38-millimeter bottlenecks – or the 28-millimeter openings. 

KHS presented optimized neck changes for its stretch blow molders. The modernization of the stretch blow molder has been already been done at Slovenian beverage producer Atlantic Droga Kolinska

Changing the neck on a PET line requires a comparatively large amount of effort for the conversion of the stretch blow molder in particular. Machines often need to be stopped for up to four hours, often tying up the operators for a disproportionately long period of time. With its new, simplified neck changeover, KHS has shortened the time needed to convert the InnoPET Blomax stretch blow-molder – including the preform infeed. The modernization of the stretch blow molder is already done at the Slovenian beverage producer Atlantic Droga Kolinska.

Sidel

French company Sidel revealed its new Cermex ProSelex case packing infeed module for shaped containers. This is the new generation of its flexible collating system for complex unstable bottles. This gentle, streamlined grouping device is designed to associate with any type of case packer and will deliver efficiency, availability, and operability. 

Acting as an integrated module of a case packer that is receiving products upstream from one lane, the Cermex ProSelex continuously pitches, collates, and prepares the container batches before they are transferred and case packed. Based on a kinematic process, it improves the performance of the previous module with an increased speed capability of up to 300 products per minute, in addition to a more compact footprint. Better productivity as well, as an average changeover lasts between a minute for a new collation and 2 minutes 30 seconds for a complete bottle change. 

Also presented was the palletizing unit RoboAcces Pal S, which combines cobotic and robotic. It delivers speeds of up to 12 cycles per minute and enables a case payload of up to 25 kilograms. The palletizing solution offers a new level of compactness with a footprint of less than 12 square meters for two stations with a significant pallet height of 1.700 mm.

Krones

Krones highlighted its Variopac Pro packaging machine for disposable containers. This fully automatic Variopac Pro packaging machine easily adapts to all packaging trends. Whether pads, trays or wrap-around cartons, or film – the various models of the Variopac Pro cover numerous types of packaging. The modular design of the machine offers flexibility for the production of packaging variants. The Variopac Pro is open to changes in the packaging concept– it is easily retooled or expanded at any time.

Arol

And finally, among other innovations, Italian Arol presented its ClosureXpertLab, an automatic capping test unit for pre-threaded caps and preforms. The objective is to better understand the important relationships between caps, preforms, environmental and process parameters, and their effects on the capping process as well as the removal torque. Indeed, cap dimensions, of virgin or recycled materials and of varying colors and temperatures can alternate in the capping process. Feedback from the inspection is sent back to the equipment for optimal operations.F

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