Gea boosts high-speed packaging system for long-cut pasta

AI and new safety standards enable pasta manufacturers to increase product flow

The new GEA H-Packer SO Plus is equipped with a double doser and a horizontal packaging system suitable for a large variety of long-cut pasta shapes. Photo Gea

Gea has re-engineered the H-Packer SO Plus for long-cut pasta packaging by integrating a faster, highly reliable and technologically advanced system, comprising a double-dosing unit and a continuous motion packaging machine. This enables pasta manufacturers to increase their product flow, minimize their product loss, simplify line control, and ensure smooth filling in the packaging process. The new system will be presented for the first time at Ipack-Ima in Milan from 03-06 May 2022 in Hall 1P, Stand B31.

Double LC-Doser DDW of the new GEA H-Packer SO Plus for long-cut pasta, equipped with dedicated electrical panels. Photo GEA

In this modified version, the H-Packer SO Plus is equipped with a second weighing hopper and artificial intelligence. A new electronic architecture based on the Siemens PLC provides centralized system control and a customizable operator interface. The new LED lighting for quick visibility of possible malfunctions in the process and a protective device equipped with coded sensors ensure a high safety standard. Moreover, thanks to a motorized reel holder, the machine can work not only with conventional plastic films but also with the new paper films. The machine is completed by a renewed patented stripper-gripper system.


Second weighing hopper and artificial intelligence

The LC-Doser DDW dosing unit of the H-Packer SO Plus system has been redesigned to optimize product flow to the horizontal packaging machines with crucial attention to flat and rough shapes and to remarkably reduce product breakages. A second weighing hopper, added under the roughing and finishing units, that electronically checks the weight discharged is a new feature.

By applying the new Artificial Intelligence technologies patented by Gea, it is possible to adjust the capacity of the drop-boxes to correct any weighing errors and ensure better weighing precision. Thanks to the optimization of this component, the H-Packer SO Plus is particularly suitable for the treatment of flat bronze formats.

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Plant control system

The new integrated electronic architecture is based on Siemens PLCs, which ensures the centralized management of all packaging system motors. Operators can control all machine functions from a single HMI panel, which enables more accurate and rapid diagnosis. Calibrated to the operator’s needs, the new HMI of the H-Packer SO Plus guarantees maximum flexibility of use. Display of the on-screen parameters can be fully customized and calibrated to the type of product being made. Finally, the new integrated electronic architecture enables continuous data exchange between the packaging machines and the plant supervision system. This feature, combined with independent brushless motors, allows a smoother flow of pasta and film for esthetically improved packages.

LED lighting and coded sensors

To allow for even greater safety, the re-designed H-Packer SO Plus is equipped with new guards featuring coded sensors and LED lighting. The latter, visible throughout the machine, replicates the colors of the alarms, segmented by zone. A drop-box has been integrated as another accident prevention protection: It collects any discarded packages, either with or without product, with no need to open the machine doors.

Motorized reel holder

The H-Packer SO Plus is also at the forefront in the management of paper film. Thanks to the double brushless motorized reel holder, it is possible to control the film tensioning from the operator panel in order to improve the unwinding of the reel and, accordingly, the appearance of the pack. Reel changeover takes place automatically and, in the case of plastic film, complete with welding of the two flaps. The phased junction of the film reel reduces at the minimum the number of rejected bags: welded joint for traditional plastic films, with adhesive tape for paper-based film. The film pulling device, optimized for paper handling, is equipped with heated rollers that improve the longitudinal sealing of the pack without damaging the paper material.

New patented stripping jaw system

Since 2006, GEA’s long-cut pasta packaging technology has benefited from the stripping jaw system developed and patented by Gea. This minimizes pasta residues in the transversal sealing area, ensuring perfectly sealed packages without waste due to the rejection of non-compliant packages.

The new H-Packer SO Plus boasts an evolution of the stripping sealing jaw – a new patented movement mechanism controlled via the HMI panel further increases the operational reliability of the machines, removes the critical components and reduces the maintenance interventions and package rejects. The combination of the new stripping jaw with a completely redesigned brush group makes the H-Packer SO Plus one of the most technologically advanced systems for long-cut pasta packaging, guaranteeing speed, reliability and continuity of operation.


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