Automated product sorting designed to cut baker rejects

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Conveyor belt

A supplier of automated conveyer devices has extended the
applications of a belt system originally used in carton
distribution for cost effective alignment of flat-baked goods
on the production line.

Intralox claims that after successful industry testing, its Activated Roller Belt (ARB) technology can now be used within food contact applications like sorting flatbreads and tortillas to improve cost and work force efficiency. The manufacturer says that after working with a customer to cut product damage and food waste for delicate flat baked-goods it is now able to further reduce production costs. Findings from the trial highlight the significant benefits for tortilla makers in retrofitting similar technology on their own production lines to reduce costly product rejects, according to the group. According to Intralox, US-based manufacturer Flatout consulted the group on ways to cut product waste related to manual sorting of their flatbread products, an area which the manufacturer said it had positioned six staff to oversee. The baker complained that after being cooled, the flatbread products would exit a cooler in random formation, with the products then having to be positioned before entering a stacker for packaging After installing the product at the cooler's out feed, the manufacturer claims that the ARB was able to automate the alignment process at a rate of 300 products a minute, requiring less man power to operate, while speeding up the process. As an additional part of the design, Intralox says that the system has an all-plastic construction in a bid to reduce products sticking to the belt, while also eliminating debris contamination from metal-wear. The company claims that all of its conveyor belt products are designed to have a longer life than wire belt alternatives reducing the rate of costly maintenance for the products. These expanded applications of the ARB system will now be displayed at the 19th​ Annual Tortilla Industry Association Trade Exposition taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. A spokesperson for Intralox told that it was looking beyond the US to supply bakers in other markets, though did not detail any specific markets.

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