April 30, 2021
TMI has developed and manufactured a customised solution for a major international sugar producer that needed to bag two different products with very different performances. The in-depth knowledge of our product engineers, together with the customer's expertise, has allowed us to develop this solution for bagging two types of sugar using a single bagging machine.
The customer produces mainly two types of sugar: Soft Brown Sugar (SBS), which is highly mellow, adherent and difficult to handle, and Coarse Medium Sugar (CMS), which has a completely different behaviour and can be easily dosed by gravity.
Up to now, the customer was using a semi-automatic belt-weighing bagging machine, which was not specially designed for SBS. This generated a significant loss which at the end of the day would result in hundreds of kilos being stored in a reject bin. Therefore, one of the main goals was to reduce it.
The customer had assigned a limited space for this process automation project, which was too small to accommodate two bagging machines. Therefore, it required a single bagging machine that could handle both products.
A further important factor for the packaging of the two different products was the preservation conditions, which depended on the properties of each product: SBS requires an airtight vacuumized bag in order to preserve its properties for a longer period of time. CMS, on the other hand, requires breathable packaging to prevent the forming of clumps.
Because sugar is a food product, it requires a high level of hygiene. In this case, frequent water cleaning together with thorough drying of all parts in contact with the product were key to the design of the solution, which had to include food-grade finishes, such as parts in contact in AISI 304 stainless steel or FDA-certified.
And all this while maintaining a minimum nominal production of 7 bags/minute, and a maximum speed of 10 bags/minute in 20kg bags of FFS film.
TMI proposed the ILERBAG V flat film bagging machine to the customer, given the need to install an automatic bagging machine with FFS technology.
Having carried out the required tests in the TMI laboratory (ILERLAB), it soon became clear that this project required two different dosing systems: gravity and conveyor belt. This automatically opened the door to develop a bagging machine that could switch between the two dosing systems and which would allow:
- packaging 2 products with a single bagging machine,
- to use the minimum space necessary for packaging,
- to alternate filling and cleaning cycles,
- to pack hermetic or breathable bags, depending on the product.
These were the keys to the design of the ILERBAG VNGT:
Easy and precise position switch: The ILERBAG VNGT shifts from one dosing system to the other by means of an upper rail system. It has three positions, enabling the bagging machine to be placed under each of the weighers and in a third position for maintenance.
Automatic connections: as soon as the machine is in position under one of the weighers, the connecting mechanism is activated by means of a pneumatic cylinder and flexible connections, the connector drops down, locks into position and automatically fastens onto the bagging machine.
Quick and easy water cleaning: An automatic cleaning system with internal circulation and strategically placed sprayballs that apply hot water to all the internal surfaces of the dosing system. This water is evacuated by means of a watertight collecting system and is directed to the drainage point. This cycle is activated automatically by recipe and runs for 5 minutes. Finally, an air drying cycle is activated, preparing the surfaces to come in contact with the product.
Minimal floor support: Thanks to the upper guiding system, the bagging machine remains in contact with the floor only during bagging operations.
Minimised loss: A double scraper system optimises the packaging process by recovering the product stuck to the conveyor belt, which falls into the weighing bucket during filling. This minimises the wastage of product, which occurred with the previous system used by the customer.
For the packaging: The same bagging machine can be used to produce airtight bags for Soft Brown Sugar, and it can also perforate the bags with the integrated punching system.
For operation: While the ILERBAG VNGT is working under one of the two dosing systems, the cleaning cycle can be activated in the other, so that the overall operation and hygiene process is optimised.
Tool-free operation: Both dosing units are designed to be completely disassembled without the use of tools, likewise the reel change system, the forming tube and the punching device.
Safe position change: The position change is carried out using a pushbutton terminal with dead man's device, which ensures safety around the machine during movement.
Quick and safe connections: The harting connections ensure that the change of position of the bag exit conveyor belts can be carried out quickly and easily, with a quick connection of the wiring.
May 27, 2021
Find out about the basic principles of hygienic design and how we apply them to TMI bagging solutions.