Cermex has announced that its CCO diagonal flight bar technology has been adapted to help dairy industry specialists to collate mini-brick bundles at speeds of 32,000 cartons per hour in order to match the output of next generation high-speed filling lines.
Cermex, based in Normandy, France, is already widely established in the mineral water, soft drinks, tinned food and dairy segments. However, the increase in line speeds for mini-bricks (fruit juice, flavoured milk, cream) has encouraged the company to develop a specific system for collating and shrink-wrapping these relatively unstable products (from 200 to 300ml in basic or 'slim design' formats).
The machines manufacturing and filling these cartons run at speeds ranging from 8 000 products per hour for classic lines to 20 000 products/hour for high speed lines. The problem facing food manufacture today is that shrink-wrappers are not designed to handle batches of 1 x 3 products at a speed of 20 000 products/hour.
The speed increase to 24 000 products per hour on latest models of filling machines will only accentuate the problem as well as add the 2 x 3 collation to the batches which cannot be handled.
In the long term, shrink-wrappers will have to be able to run at a speed of 32 000 cartons per hour in order to absorb any production build-back.
To tackle this issue Cermex decided on an innovative solution which sets them apart in their industry: increase the shrink-wrapper speed by means of a continuous diagonal flight bar system in order to handle all the collations and guarantee product stability.
The working principle for the solution is straight forward. The products are fed into a diagonal flight bar system on a single lane conveyor installed at 45° in relation to the shrink-wrapper direction of motion. The infeed system generates product collations which are transferred by the flight bar to the shrink-wrapping unit (injection table and film wrapping system). This system makes it possible to reach speeds of 16 000 cartons/hour on one lane to meet the current market requirements and 32 000 cartons per hour on two lanes (even in batches of 1 x 3).
The machine performances achieved not only meet current requirements, but also anticipate speed increases in this sector for the future.
Advantages for the customers include high speed, reliable diagonal flight bar selecting, optimised product protection and a compact footprint. The machine also has a fully accessible film injection table and operated via a PC with Cesam software.
The equipment is aimed primarily at the dairy industry (mini-bricks, small bottles), but the company says it will also be useful for soft drinks and tinned food applications.