TMI - bagging & palletizing

DECHKOV MILL – WHERE END-OF-LINE AUTOMATION STANDS FOR OPTIMAL PRODUCTIVITY

July 01, 2022

TMI, in partnership with its local partner Avesto Ltd., has provided this Bulgarian wheat milling company with a complete bagging line solution, which has directly impacted its productivity. Want to know how? Keep reading! 

 

ABOUT THE COMPANY 

Melnitza Dechkov Ltd. is a mill that produces and sells wheat flour and wheat bran. Located in the Pleven region, which is known in Bulgaria for growing quality cereals, the company has built two mills with a total capacity of 150 tons/day: the first in 2001 and the second in 2011, as a direct consequence of growing demand. 

Dechkov defines itself as a long-term, reliable, honest partner for its suppliers and clients. 

The mill line is equipped with highly efficient machines for cleaning and preparing the wheat, which guarantees the quality of the final milled product. Automation at various points of the production process means that different types of flours can be made, as well as special flours following clients’ specifications.  

The finished flours and bran are then shipped in bulk, in packs weighing 1 kg, 5 kg, 10 kg, 25 kg and/or 50 kg, depending on the product type. Yet, until now, the packaging line was not automated.  

We met with Vladislav Dechkov, CEO of Melnitza Dechkov Ltd., who talked to us about their end-of-line automation project and its development with TMI and Avesto. 

 

THEIR NEEDS

After automating the production process, the next logical step for Dechkov Mill was to automate the end of the line, i.e. bagging and palletising. So, they started to work on identifying their main needs in this area: reduced costs, increased productivity and improved packaging quality.  

They also had to define the scope of the project, which was finalised as follows: they were looking for a bagging machine and a palletising machine able to bag the product into valve bags in a wide range of formats (5, 10, 25 and 50 kg) while protecting the food product.  

With these goals in mind they started looking for possibilities, though it was not an easy ride, as Mr. Dechkov explains: ‘The main difficulty was the lack of information; there was nowhere in Bulgaria where we were able to see a working line like the one we needed’. 

So, they contacted Avesto Ltd. to seek some advice on this project and find a solution for their end of line. 

 

ABOUT AVESTO AND TMI

Avesto Ltd. is an engineering company established in 2005 that represents leading international industrial companies and provides different types of equipment, installation services, consumables and spare parts all over Bulgaria.  

As a trusted partner of TMI, Avesto offers the whole range of TMI products, which are widely used in three sectors of the country’s industrial structure: agriculture, mining and processing. As soon as the product is ready to be packed, TMI can offer bagging solutions for all sorts of products with different behaviours, palletising solutions for various types of bags and speed requirements, and pallet protection with film using stretch-wrapping technology.  

Palletiser Dechkov

 

THE PROPOSED SOLUTION

With their joint experience and expertise, Avesto and TMI found a solution to suit Dechkov’s requirements perfectly, and so they proposed the following:  

  1. ILERSAC VBF: an automatic bagging machine for valve bags, which includes an ILERSONIC ultrasonic sealing system to protect the product from external agents. It can also adapt to bags of very different formats, as the bagging spout can easily be changed according to the diameter of the bag valve.  

  1. ILERPAL P: an automatic gantry palletiser, which is very compact and cost-effective while offering great palletising results and completely stable loads.  

This solution was a perfect fit for the customer’s needs and requirements, so they chose Avesto’s proposal: ‘Only Avesto suggested a machine able to pack 5 kg, 10 kg, 25 kg and 50 kg in valve bags. Also, the price and the capacity of the machine were what we were looking for’, says Mr Dechkov.  

You can see this line in action in this video.

 

 

THE RESULTS 

This bagging line was manufactured in Spain and then delivered to Bulgaria. Commissioning and start-up were carried out by a team made up of TMI and Avesto technicians. The Avesto technicians worked on site, while TMI technicians were able to assist them remotely using a Tele-service device. This way, the budget was kept under control, as no international travel was required from technicians.  

You can see the result in this video, where the complete bagging line is working.  

According to Mr Dechkov, the bagging and palletising line has directly contributed towards increasing the plant’s productivity and improving packaging quality: ‘We started to pack more bags per hour with fewer people. For example, with our old machine, we packed 3.5 tons of 25 kg per hour with 2 people, and now we pack 5 tons of 25 kg with 1 person’. 

The prospects for future growth have also improved for this Bulgarian company: ‘We think we will be more flexible and ready for new challenges in the market’, concludes Mr Dechkov.  

 

ALWAYS AT THE CLIENT’S SIDE 

Do you want to know how TMI’s solutions can contribute towards improving production and efficiency in your plant? Just get in touch with us and we will advise you on packaging.  

You can also check our worldwide partner network to find our local partner in your area.  


TMI PARTICIPATES IN THE 6TH INMERSIÓN ESTRATÉGICA

October 22, 2019

More than 100 professionals from the spanish Packaging industry met the 18th and 19th October in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) during the annual meeting Inmersión Estratégica organised by the Packaging Cluster.

More than 100 professionals from the spanish Packaging industry met the 18th and 19th October in Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona) during the annual meeting Inmersión Estratégica organised by the Packaging Cluster.

The event has covered four different topics through conferences, roundtables and innovative workshops – like Game storming –: “Circular Economy”, “Innovation management and methods”, “Market strategies and trends”, and finally “New business opportunities”.

TMI has participated in the event as a member of Packaging Cluster and has been represented by its CEO Mr. Joan Caba, who appreciated the opportunity of promoting ideas, sharing experiences and exchanging strategical challenges of the sector with other companies in synergy.


TMI REMAINS COMMITTED TO INTERNATIONALISATION

January 10, 2020

Within the current global context where more and more business is generated in the packaging sector, TMI keeps working towards internationalisation during 2019 in order to achieve a wider global presence.

Within the current global context where more and more business is generated in the packaging sector, TMI keeps working towards internationalisation during 2019 in order to achieve a wider global presence. The promotion actions carried out during the year are a clear example of this endeavour.

In 2019 TMI has exhibited in several international trade shows, and there are still others to come during the last quarter of the year. Thus, directly or thanks to the cooperation of the different local partners, this year TMI has satisfactorily exhibited in:

PROPAK CAPE 2019 – This leading show on Packaging took place between the 12th and the 15th march in Cape Town, South Africa. TMI was represented in the event by our distributor in the whole Sub-Saharan Africa: USS PACTECH.

AUSPACK 2019 – This packaging trade Show to watch out in Oceania was held from the 25th to the 26th March in Melbourne. Thanks to our local partner, PACKWEIGH, TMI was present in the event, where also David Padullés, sales director of TMI, could attend and give support.

POWTECH 2019 – This fair dedicated to solids handling took place in the well-known Bavarian city Nürnberg between the 9th and the 11th April. The event hosted all kind of solid products producers looking for handling solutions. TMI exhibited in a joint stand with its local partner ICOMA ZGS, where Iryna Siutsova and Ariadna Rovira advised the visitors about the newest bagging technology for their products.

COMPOUNDING WORLD EXPO 2019 – The first edition in the USA of this trade show dedicated to plastic compounds and its handling technologies was held the 8th and 9th May. TMI exhibited in it as an expert in the packaging of plastic compounds, plastic granules and products alike. The goal was to get in touch with its producers in North America and providing them insight on the bagging technology and specific innovations for this sector. We had the pleasure of the presence of our partner HS AUTOMATION, who supported Gerard Martinez and Ariadna Rovira ,from TMI, advising the visitors. The results of this show were immediate.

EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2019 – The young TMI LATAM was responsible for the successful presence of the brand in the Packaging leading trade show in Mexico. This show, held between the 11th and the 13th of June in Guadalajara, was a success for the subsidiary with seat in Queretaro, who has received the support of Jordi Martin from TMI. This edition has resulted into another demonstration of the good position of the subsidiary in this market. After the great success in the show we expect it to expand even more.

Still, these are not the only actions the company has planned for 2019: the third quartal of the year will be marked by other European shows, such as VRACTECH in Le Mans, France, or MASTERBATCH in Vienna, Austria. The company expects to consolidate with all this its international presence as a bagging and palletizing technology provider in all the sectors.


TMI LAUNCHES THE NEW ILERBAG HC: FFS BAGGING MACHINE WITH A CLEAN DESIGN

May 15, 2020

The experience and know-how that TMI has gained in the food industry, together with the previous experience of the customer, have led to developing a bagging machine that is highly accurate and efficient in the hygiene processes that are essential to food industry.

A technology company like TMI that develops solutions for so many different industries, will have to face from time to time a challenging project that, once taken, represents the opportunity for a quantum leap.

The experience and know-how that TMI has gained in the food industry, together with the previous experience of the customer, have led to developing a bagging machine that is highly accurate and efficient in the hygiene processes that are essential to food industry.

This was the challenge for TMI:

The customer needed a solution to bag an unstable hygroscopic product (sodium lactate) in 25kg bags for the food industry, which implied a strict washing routine. Additionally, the cost and market price of the product required a high dosing accuracy.

A crucial point was that powder release during bagging process had to be avoided at any costs and the structure had to be designed to prevent product accumulations.

The customer’s experience so far suggested that the continuous washing process needed to be improved in order to reduce the rusting, wearing and maintenance of the bagging equipment.

The customer had been bagging its product with HFFS system and wanted to continue using the same kind of technology. HFFS allows for a consumable standardisation while keeping the approved technical configuration of the bag, which protects the product from the air moisture.

The space for the machine had to be a small area, as the room to be placed needed to be completely climatized, thus saving climatization costs to the customer.

This is the solution by TMI:

Given this scenario, TMI has developed the ILERBAG HC: This special FFS bagging machine has been designed to be completely washable, tool-less operational, complying food-grade specifications and highly accurate and safe, while staying compact.

  • Completely washable: The ILERBAG HC is fully water-resistant, indeed it has been completely constructed in Stainless Steel, as it must be washed thoroughly every end of cycle. To this scope a special water collection system has been designed to fit the bagging spout and connected to the customer’s drainage system. This contributes to prevent an increase of humidity in the room that could harm the conditioning of the room and with it the product itself. Additionally, several entrance points for conditioned air have been foreseen to dry the entire machine before the bagging process.
  • Tool-less operation: The tool-less operation design of the dosing system guarantees accessibility and ease on the cleaning process. Its configuration with manual clamps allows the access all over the machine so that the operators can open each section easily by hand and clean it separately. Thus minimizing, on the one hand, the handling times and with it the cleaning changeover labour costs; and, on the other hand, the risk of dropping tools into the parts in contact with the product.
  • Food-Grade Compliance: The ILERBAG HC has been fully designed to provide 200 filled and sealed bags per hour keeping a clean working environment. Product leakage has been minimized, whereas a supplementary aspiration system has been installed to prevent any powder to pollute the environment, for even more hygiene. Diamond shape design was used for construction of all structure elements, in order to avoid product accumulation on the machine’s surfaces. Additionally, the ground support points have been reduced to a strictly minimum, which makes the machine base and surroundings much more accessible for cleaning. Finally, the wiring has been prepared to leave all connections outside of the cleanroom, where the control cabinets are placed.
  • Accurate and safe: Its dosing system consists on a Loss-weight scale with a vertical auger screw transport that assures the highest accuracy in the bagging process, while keeping the right output rhythm. A further benefit of this dosing system, in contrast to horizontal screw systems, is its small footprint. There is a double point metal detection system to ensure the safety of the bagged product.

The applications of ILERBAG HC

All these features make from ILERBAG HC a perfect machine to work in the food and the chemical industries where powdery products are produced. ILERBAG HC is suitable for those industries where a thorough cleaning and a dust-free environment are key for the proper operation of the plant. This compact solution is designed to suit small climatized or white rooms. Its tool-free configuration together with its high-accuracy contribute to increasing overall production efficiency in the bagging process, while saving a big amount of downtime implying a reduction of labour costs.

 THE BENEFITS:

  • Low Downtime: The opening and cleaning times are much faster thanks to its tool-free designs, reducing labour and saving significantly in cleaning costs alone.
  • + Hygiene: Cleaning and maintenance processes have been made easier and faster. The configuration of the machine provides for a roast-free washing and drying routine.
  • Dust-free environment: Air-tight joints throughout the dosing system together with aspirations avoid any product leaking, providing a clean environment.
  • Small footprint: Very compact solution suitable for the most challenging layout configurations.

 


TMI’S LABORATORY: THE KEY TO DEFINE THE BEST TECHNICAL SOLUTION IN DOSING SYSTEMS

August 11, 2020

TMI is an innovating company with a great product knowledge that can supply customized solutions for each customer and product. One of the main goals of the company from its beginning has been the cooperation with the customer, not just as a mere supplier but as an advisor and a trusted ally.

TMI is an innovating company with a great product knowledge that can supply customized solutions for each customer and product. One of the main goals of the company from its beginning has been the cooperation with the customer, not just as a mere supplier but as an advisor and a trusted ally.

Keeping with this spirit, TMI has got involved once again in the turnaround of one of its clients: An important producer of dextrose for the food sector who decided to adapt a part of its plant to produce dextrose for pharma and cosmetic applications. 

These are industries requiring severe hygiene measures, which the bagging machinery must comply as well. Even so this manufacturer relied on the advice of TMI and together they met the challenge.  

The Challenge:

Glucose is a fine cohesive product which tends to lump and release powder. Previously, this client used a gross weighing system with gravity dosing which, besides releasing a big amount of powder all around, also tended to fluidise the product, hindering the accuracy in dosing and weighing. All in all, the dosing system needed an improvement in order to provide a clean environment and an accurate filling of the bags.

Furthermore, the configuration of the existing hopper caused an irregular flow: the slant of one of its sides lead to product dispersion so that thick particles settled first to the bottom of the hopper and falling then to the screw. Thus, the thinnest particles would stay in the upper part of the hopper preventing a homogeneous mixture of the final product.

Moreover, the weighing and dosing system was placed two floors above the bagging spout in a clean room environment with an external palletizing system. This was one of the critical factors when designing this equipment: the existing layout had to be kept, while fulfilling the strict hygiene measures that dealing with a pharma product requires.

The solution:

Both technical and empirical approaches to the project were decisive:  TMI counts on a laboratory able to simulate material segregation, thus typifying the product behaviour and preventing the critical points on the dosing.

The result was the current design of the weighing system, which fulfils following criteria:

  • Quick and easy cleaning process: A screw detaching system has been included into the supply, allowing to empty the screw at every end of cycle recovering the remaining product into a joint collection tray. Furthermore, this detaching function allows the hygiene process for the operators, who can easily access the area to be cleaned with this tool-free detachable unit.
  • Controlled dust-tight dosing: The bagging spout has been adapted with an optimized opening for better obturation. New aspiration and compression points have been strategically installed.
  • Avoiding product segregation before bagging: A specifically designed deflector has been installed, which modifies the final distribution of product in the reception hopper.
  • Perfect finish for the welding joints: continuous smooth welding has been set up by certified welders who documented the whole process.
  • Utmost guarantee on final product traceability and the GMP: All used materials have been certified, documented and produced under the pharma grade specifications. Likewise, in order to avoid infestations and contamination, all the components of the dosing part have been sterilized with safe products before entering the plant.
  • The whole system has been produced fulfilling the regulation of ATEX – Zone 20.

ILERPORTAL: IMPROVE THE EQUIPMENT'S OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS

February 19, 2021

Traceability and real-time monitoring of the packaging line for optimised productivity

The main response to this new era is to monitor the production line constantly to make the right decisions through objective data analysis. Meanwhile, knowing where the final product is at all times is no longer preferable: it is essential. The key to achieving these goals lies in data traceability and communication systems and the integration of marking and coding systems into the production line.

 

What are OEE indicators and what do they measure?

Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE, refers to key indicators that measure the overall effectiveness of the equipment in a production line (a packaging line, in this case). The advantage of this parameter, compared to others, is that it measures a production centre’s fundamental parameters, like availability, efficiency and quality, through just one indicator. Using this metric, the plant manager can see the bottleneck in the line and make decisions to optimise production and operation costs on the packaging line.

 

Real-time production line monitoring

It is highly important for pieces of end-of-line equipment to be connected to each other in order to send production data in real time to those supervising operations in the factory. With this in mind, as a manufacturer of complete bagging, palletising and stretch wrapping lines, TMI has developed its own management software named ILERPORTAL, which can monitor production data from various machines and create common working recipes.

Specifically, the software measures the availability, efficiency and work quality of each machine and can recognise why a machine is not running (lack of product, lack of consumables or technical fault). It can also detect how many units have been produced correctly, and how many are defective. The software’s ability to measure each machine’s performance over a certain time and communicate with higher systems ensures a very effective monitoring of the factory packaging line’s production.

 

Traceability solution integrated into the packaging line

Final product traceability within the production line makes it easier to monitor the production process. This traceability is achieved through individual product marking, so that each unit can be identified during each production process, thus improving the subsequent logistical process. Traditionally, on industrial packaging lines, bags can be identified in one of two ways: with marking (using ink or thermal transfer) or labels (sewn directly onto the bag or adhesive). But both of these solutions can pose problems, as this marking or labelling takes place in dusty environments, on irregular bag surfaces. Labels can come off easily.

TMI has developed a solution to mark the bag when it is empty, rather than when it has been filled. With this subtle change, the issue of the irregular surface is removed and the problem of the dusty environment is reduced considerably.


ABOUT HYGIENIC DESIGN AND HOW WE APPLY IT TO BAGGING MACHINERY

May 27, 2021

Find out about the basic principles of hygienic design and how we apply them to TMI bagging solutions.

Food producers have an important and unavoidable mission: to guarantee the safety and traceability of their products at all stages of the chain, from the production of each ingredient until the final product is consumed.

To this end, there are various food safety regulations that define, among other things, the requirements to be met by equipment and facilities that may be in contact with foodstuffs. These regulations not only constitute the legal framework that producers must comply with, but also define what is known as hygienic design.

In this article you can find out about the basic principles of hygienic design and its importance in the food industry:

 

WHAT DOES HYGIENIC DESIGN STAND FOR?

 

Hygienic design is of major concern in plant and equipment construction, being the systematic focus of the food industry, where ensuring the safety and health of consumers is of paramount importance.

The aim is therefore to eliminate sources of physical, chemical or microbiological contamination of foodstuffs. This is a risk that must be avoided at all costs, and this is achieved by minimising any possible source of contamination, making it visible at all times, and making it easy to clean.

 

REGULATION OF HYGIENIC DESIGN

 

In order to ensure the necessary hygienic production conditions, regulations have been established, differing from country to country, which define the criteria to be followed and the measures to be taken in the design of safe equipment and facilities.

In the European Union, the legal framework that defines it is the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, together with Regulation (EC)1935/2004 on materials and articles used in contact with foodstuffs, European hygiene legislation and the legislation of the individual member states. In addition, the non-statutory standards ISO 14159 and EN 1672-2 have to be taken into account. These standards define requirements for materials, surfaces, joints, liquid drainage, contamination and cleanability.

Additionally, there is the fundamental role of the EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group), which is the body that assists European legislators, defines and spreads hygienic design standards and provides certification of equipment.

Beyond the EU, there are also other reference regulations: in the USA there are the sanitary standards 3-A, the NSF (National Sanitary Foundation), the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) and the HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points); in the UK, there is the BRC (British Retail Consortium).

The norms and guidelines established by all these bodies and systems give rise to what is known as hygienic design, which aims to fulfil the requirements set by them.

Some directives provide for certification of the hygienic design and issuing of certificates if the hygienic design guidelines are met and the prescribed hygiene tests are successfully passed.

 

BASIC GUIDELINES OF HYGIENIC DESIGN

 

Basic premises of hygienic design are: to avoid dirt accumulations on all surfaces, making them visible and inspectable, to ensure that cleaning can be carried out easily and to keep the production environment in good condition so as not to constitute a potential contamination source (including the floor of the facility).

Hygienic design concerns the definition of materials, processes, surface treatment, joining techniques and the morphology of the parts themselves in order to ensure the proper construction of the machines to be installed in food production lines and all their components.

Therefore, the following criteria are defined as the basis for hygienic design:

  • CLEANING AND SANITIZING: It must be possible to clean the installations, machinery, or surfaces in an adequate manner, eliminating the remains of dirt that can cause the growth of micro-organisms. For this purpose, they must be designed to allow easy cleaning access.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: the installation should be easily and tool-free disassembled to ensure access to all areas requiring hygiene, whenever possible and especially when wet cleaning, in which case it should also allow for easy drainage of liquids.
  • SURFACES: must be resistant to corrosion generated by the hygiene processes and food itself, while avoiding, as far as possible, the use of surface coatings that could be a source of contamination. They should therefore be smooth, minimising roughness, and dead spots should be avoided. Therefore, they should not contain joints or fissures where leftovers can accumulate, so appropriate welding techniques should be applied for this purpose.
  • MATERIALS: The choice of materials is key in the design. Priority is given to materials that are corrosion resistant, non-toxic, easy to clean and prevent the growth of micro-organisms. Stainless steel is generally considered to be the best choice, although corrosion may occur in chemically aggressive environments (e.g. when using cleaning products containing chlorides). For these cases, it is recommended to use FDA and/or 10/2011/EU compliant plastics that are suitable for food contact. The use of metal-detectable plastics is also recommended.

Given all these criteria, it is important to distinguish between surfaces that come into contact with the product and those that do not, for a right assessment on the risk and the hygienic design to adopt in each area.

 

ADVANTAGES OF HYGIENIC DESIGN

 

Producers who build their facilities including the hygienic design concept into the plant and into their equipment, achieve:

  • FOOD SAFETY: the main purpose is to ensure hygienic production conditions, thus making it easier for food producers to comply with safety regulations and to ensure consumer safety.
  • COST REDUCTION: In all production facilities, downtime for cleaning reduces production efficiency and increases costs (labour, energy and quality control). In the case of hygienic design, although it involves a higher investment in the purchase of the equipment, in the long term the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is comparatively lower. This is due to reduced cleaning times, energy consumption, personnel costs, together with increased compliance with guidelines and regulations, which results in greater safety for the consumer.
  • REDUCED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: The hygienic design, which aims to optimise the sanitising process, allows for a reduction in energy, water and cleaning product consumption.

 

APPLICATION ON BAGGING LINES

 

TMI has designed and manufactured many bagging, palletising and stretch wrapping lines for the food industry worldwide, which have included hygienic design in their conception. With the aim of supporting food producers, we have developed solutions that contribute to the following improvements:

EASY CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE

In the bagging process there is one key point where surfaces are of vital importance for food safety: dosing. Here the surfaces are in full contact with the product, and it’s vital that the cleaning can be carried out easily, quickly and thoroughly.

For this purpose, TMI has designed a series of applications that improve maintenance throughout the product dosing units:

    • Dismountable dosing units: Whether belt or auger dosing units, they can be completely dismantled without the use of tools. This allows operators to carry out a thorough cleaning and inspection quickly and efficiently.
    • Automatic water cleaning cycles: Using sprayballs, waterproof connections to water collection systems and air-drying systems, it is possible to initiate automatic water washing cycles from the PLC of the bagging machine itself, optimising cleaning times to the maximum.
    • Inclined augers: they allow easy draining of all liquids used in the cleaning cycles.
    • No corners: all dosing units are designed to be free of corners where product could accumulate, with open and visible edges, watertight welded joints and no horizontal edges at all.

 

CLEAN AND SAFE FACILITIES

Beyond dosing, there are many other factors and points in the bagging line where hygienic design is key to ensuring safe food products for consumption:

    • Materials: TMI can adapt the materials of construction of its bagging machines to the customer's requirements and washing methodologies. Our bagging machines can be built in stainless steel, partially or completely, and FDA-compliant plastic materials are also used for those elements that for technical reasons cannot be made of steel (e.g. flexible product discharge tubes, telescopic bagging spouts, or mesh conveyor belts).
    • Minimising product build-up: flat surfaces are one of the main places where product remains or residual dust accumulate and can become a breeding ground for micro-organisms. To prevent proliferation, TMI applies the EHEDG criteria to hygienic constructions, e.g. with the diamond shape construction, which prevents any build-up due to the edge angles. The contact surfaces between components are also reduced to the essential minimum, including the wiring, which is installed along cable guides for easy access and cleaning without the need for removal, giving priority to a vertical rather than a horizontal position.
    • Easy cleaning of the line surroundings: the bagging machines, as well as all bag and pallet conveyors, are fitted with as few floor supports as possible, thus facilitating good hygiene in the immediate area around the bagging line. Moreover, the support legs can be cylindrical and/or made of stainless steel.
    • Separate electrical cabinets: placing the electrical cabinet in another room allows water washing cycles to be carried out while preserving the safety of the room where the bagging machine is located. It also enables maximum hygiene to be maintained in cases where the bagging machine is located in a clean room. The cabinets can be equipped with different degrees of IP protection and/or inclination of the upper part of the cabinets, if required by the customer.

 

TRACEABILITY

 

Beyond directive definitions and the concept of hygienic design, in many cases it is also considered necessary to integrate metal detection systems along the line, as well as checkweighers, to always ensure the safety of the packaged product. These detection systems can be connected to alarms that instantly notify operators, as well as to data collection systems, so that the manufacturer can have actual data on the conformity of the units produced.

 

SOME EXAMPLES

Such solutions have been incorporated, among others, in the design of the ILERBAG HC, a tubular FFS bagging machine designed for industries requiring a high level of hygiene; also in the construction of an auger net weight dosing system for glucose for pharmaceutical use; another example is TMI's latest development: the ILERBAG V for the food industry, a VFFS bagging machine that has been designed based on the requirements of sugar and chocolate producers.

 

DESIGN THE HYGIENIC END OF LINE YOU NEED 

At TMI we are aware that each project has its own specific requirements. Therefore, we assess the hygiene requirements of each individual project and propose solutions that meet them. If you want further information about the solutions that TMI can offer for your project, please contact us by filling in the quotation form: we will help you!


ONE BAGGING MACHINE, TWO DOSING SYSTEMS: FLEXIBILITY AND SAFETY IN FOOD PACKAGING PROCESSES

April 30, 2021

TMI's new solution enables two very different products to be bagged with a single FFS bagger with hygienic food grade design.

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 needs of the customer

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.

 

The solution from TMI

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:

 

MOVABLE BAGGING MACHINE

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.

 

HYGIENE

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.

 

FLEXIBILITY

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.

 

EASE AND SAFETY OF OPERATION

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.


THE KEYS TO PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE ON END-OF-LINE

June 29, 2021

Something wrong with your preventive maintenance plan? In this post, you can review the basics of preventive maintenance and get 8 tips to ensure you get the maximum return on your preventive maintenance plan.

17:30 on any given Friday - An alarm rings. The bagging line has been stopped. While a technician checks the fault and replaces a part that had been on its last legs for days, production has to be stopped as well. It's almost the weekend and by Monday orders must be shipped in, no matter what! But the production rate has dropped, and you have to make up for this time lost in repairs with overtime.

You wouldn't want to be in this situation at all, would you?

The opportunity cost of a spontaneous shutdown is beyond quantification. For this reason, it is necessary to rethink maintenance as a strategic need for the company and implement a preventive maintenance plan. Its main purpose is to prevent emergency situations that could jeopardise production and to achieve maximum operational efficiency.

Do you want to know more? We tell you about it:

 

¿WHAT DOES PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE STAND FOR?

Preventive maintenance consists mainly of planning and carrying out those actions that are necessary to prevent breakdowns and reduce the probability of asset failure, so that the installation continues to provide the performance for which it was designed. It is recommended whenever the equipment is necessary for the normal operation of the production activity.

Interventions consist of analysing the existing problems of the machine, whereby sensors and internal mechanisms are readjusted, consumable elements such as filters or suction cups are replaced, cleaning tasks are carried out, guides, chains and bearings are greased, belts are centred and tensioned, etc...

Several methodologies can be distinguished:

  • Time-based: regular checks are planned, independent of the actual operation of the installation (e.g. quarterly, half-yearly, etc.).
  • Usage-based: Check-ups are carried out on the basis of the operation of the installation. For example: every x production cycles, every x bags produced.
  • Predictive: In facilities with OEE measurement and artificial intelligence modules, it is possible to predict when certain parts of each machine need maintenance based on the data and indicators obtained. This method is associated with Industry 4.0 as it requires a high level of automation.
  • Prescriptive: This consists of anticipating breakdowns, through recurrent checking and monitoring, and preventing them from occurring by scheduling repairs before a malfunction becomes a breakdown.

 

WHY IMPLEMENT A PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE PLAN?

Preventive maintenance increases the useful life of equipment, reducing maintenance costs in the long and short term. When machinery is kept in good working order, clean and well-adjusted, its mechanical parts and components do not suffer as much wear and tear and maintain the performance for which they were made for longer. Thus, preventive maintenance is a very effective way of ensuring the proper operation of the critical points of the production line and extending its useful life.

 

SO WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE?

A well-structured and carried out preventive maintenance plan can be very advantageous for your company, because it...

INCREASES

  • The availability of machinery and bagging lines, allowing you to meet ratios and customer orders.
  • Equipment reliability, allowing you to make better production forecasts and reduce delays.
  • Production throughput, which also provides a better return on investment (ROI).
  • Safety and comfort for operators, because you reduce the likelihood of accidents, as well as noise and dusty environments that can be annoying and even harmful to workers.

REDUCES

  • Expenses for corrective maintenance and major repairs, which are often emergency repairs (with all the added costs that this means).
  • Costs generated by spontaneous breakdowns, including opportunity costs.
  • Unexpected production stoppages, which can jeopardise contracts and agreements with your customers.
  • Product losses, which in case of high-value products may also result in economic losses.
  • Employee overtime: there is no need to compensate for lost hours, if production ratios match the target.

 

Back to the introduction: No manufacturer wants to be in an emergency situation where the factory is down at the least expected moment. That is why it is particularly interesting to adopt a methodology that reduces the percentage of spontaneous breakdowns and downtime and increases the actual availability of the machinery, while at the same time enhancing the safety of the plant.

We want to help you achieve all the benefits of preventive maintenance, so here are some tips to help you make your plan effective:

 

8 TIPS FOR PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE IN YOUR PLANT

 

1. Plan

In order to carry out preventive maintenance in a meaningful way, the first thing you need is a PLAN. To draw it up, you must take into account the available resources (human and budgetary) and all the critical parts of the line. To this end, you can create a criticality matrix, helping you determine which assets to focus on. If you have a TMI bagging line, you can use the preventive maintenance chart included in the documentation, which details the frequency at which all the parts that make up the machines must be checked, greased, adjusted and cleaned (weekly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or yearly).

Keep in mind that, if the preventive maintenance plan is correct, you will spend only 10% of your maintenance time on reactive actions. Therefore, generating a realistic plan and sticking to it will save you time in the future.

 

2. Use checklists

A checklist can help you to ensure that all parts, assemblies and sub-assemblies of your bagging and palletising machines are properly maintained and keep an overview. You can use it as a maintenance guide and at the same time as a record of what has been observed so that you can take immediate action or take it into account for the next check-up.

TMI technicians who carry out preventive maintenance are provided with an inspection checklist for each machine. Depending on what they notice during maintenance, they will highlight those parts or components that need to be replaced, and give it to the customer so that these parts can be stocked and subsequent maintenance can be carried out.

 

3. Optimise your stocks

To make preventive maintenance interventions and reactive repairs as efficient as possible, you should make sure that you have in stock those parts that are most likely to need to be replaced. In addition, keeping the necessary spare parts available in advance of maintenance interventions is a good idea, especially if an external technician is coming in. This will help you save costs on additional interventions.

Stocking critical parts and pre-assembled modules can make a shutdown that could last for days, waiting for a part from the manufacturer, last only hours or even minutes

TMI's Spare Parts Service can help you keep your spare parts inventory up to date so you never have to wait for parts to arrive for maintenance or repairs.. 

 

4. Make decisions based on real information

Use the information provided by the OEE module to make decisions. OEE represents the amount of time a line is actually productive. Keep in mind that generally 85% is considered a very good percentage of availability, performance and quality, and that below 60% corrective action should be taken. The goal, however, is always to reach 100%.

UsingTMI's OEE module s a way to maximise the availability of your bagging line, as it provides you with data on bags produced and alarms in real time. This helps you to anticipate operation and maintenance actions.

 

5. Optimise work recipes

Many of the faults that reduce the availability of a machine are problems in the configuration of the working recipes. If your bagger is not handling bags correctly, or the palletiser delivers unstable loads, it may be due to program maladjustments that often occur at shift changeovers. These malfunctions can end up resulting in breakdowns later on and that is why it is important to include program updates in your maintenance plan.

TMI's Telecare service can help you keep your bagging, palletising and stretch wrapping line programs up to date: The PV Service team connects remotely to the bagging line and can upload upgrades and fix faults with no need to physically come to your site. 

 

6. Identify critical parts and give them priority

By focusing on machine-specific failure modules, you can detect machine malfunctions early and carry out repairs before they affect the performance.

If your bagging and palletizing line is a TMI one, you can request lists of recommended spare parts and critical spare parts from the Spare Parts Service. You can use the information they will provide you with to identify the critical parts and spare parts you need to keep them in good working order.

 

7. Anticipate

If you already have your preventive maintenance plan in place, you know which days and weeks you are going to dedicate to each area/machine in your plant. This way, you can also foresee the human and tool resources that will be necessary to carry out the maintenance work. Don't wait until the last minute to decide which operator will be assigned to a task: if you plan ahead, your resources will be better distributed.

 

8. Watch and listen to the TMI technicians performing the inspections

Nobody knows a TMI machine better than its technicians. Take advantage of the interventions of the technicians to get to know your machines better. You will then be able to use this knowledge not only in maintenance, but also in the daily use of the machinery. The visit of a TMI technician is the perfect moment to solve your specific doubts: how should x be checked, how can x be adjusted, ...?

 

TMI'S PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE

TMI's Preventive Maintenance service not only offers you the support of an official technician once or twice a year (or as many times as stipulated in your contract) to check all the critical parts of the machine. Each intervention will also provide you with much more than electrical and mechanical checks, software updates, cleaning, adjustments, ... Because the TMI technician always advises you on how to improve the use of the machinery and takes advantage of this maintenance to extend the training of your technicians on the machines, advising your staff and correcting any misuse that is detected. It will also remind the operation of bagging machines, palletisers and wrapping machines to all workers who require it, resolving any doubts on the spot.

If you would like more information on how to contract TMI's preventive maintenance, you can request it using the After-sales contact form: we will be delighted to help you!


BAGGING AGRI-FOOD INGREDIENTS - THE KEYS TO SETTING UP YOUR OPTIMAL BAGGING LINE

July 23, 2021

Do you want to know which are the key points to consider when defining your bagging line? In this article, you will learn more about it

Developing and manufacturing premixes, correctors, and ingredients for the agri-food industry is not a simple task: in order to cover the vitamin-mineral deficiencies of different types of animals and to meet the demands of this market, a wide range of products with different characteristics and behaviours are produced.

Managing such a variety of products in a single plant is complex: not only does it affect the manufacturing or the mixing process, but also the packaging and the packaging process.

In this article we want to show you the main points you should take into account when defining your packaging line for animal feed ingredients:

 

5 KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEFINING THE BAGGING LINE

There are many aspects to consider when defining the technical solution that meets the needs of each manufacturer. Here are the ones you should take into account:

 

1. NUMBER OF PRODUCTS AND BATCHES

Vitamins, macro-correctors, micro-correctors, preservatives, pro-nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, flavourings, ... The range of products that a manufacturer of agri-food ingredients can work with is very wide. Production is often micronised, resulting in many small batches. This has a direct impact on the optimization of the production line, as every changeover costs time and labour (hygiene, replacing consumables, ...) thus penalizing the total production.

If your company produces a lot of batches, you probably already know what we are talking about: the famous and dreadful downtime. So what you need is a bagging system that allows you to make quick and agile changeovers and avoid cross-contamination. You can achieve this with a purpose-built bagging machine with a hygienic design finish. As well as the application of the tool-less concept: i.e. the machine can be cleaned without the need to use tools to access all parts of the bagging area.

 

2. PRODUCT PROPERTIES

Bagging pelleted animal feed is not the same as bagging a powdered vitamin corrector: the dosing system is not the same, nor is the complexity involved.

In an animal feed pellet production facility, the conventional approach is belt dosing and packaging in paper sacks with stitching or perhaps a more complete closure in certain cases. There are no major technical complications.

By contrast, in the case of powdery products, such as vitamins, premixes, additives, agri-food colourings, medical ingredients, etc., where the granulometry of the product is usually measured in µm, things change: It is necessary to ensure a certain degree of tightness in the packaging process, as well as in the packaging itself; it is also necessary to provide for the aspiration of dust that may be released during the filling and bag handling process, or even to prevent the release of dust; The surfaces of the equipment must be prepared to be easily sanitised to avoid accumulations of dust that could result in sources of contamination; as aluminium bags are typically used, it is likely to be necessary to include some system for extracting air from the bag, and even for defluidising the product to ensure the stability of the bags and pallets.

The above aspects directly affect the configuration of the bagging line and the technology required to ensure an optimal bagging process in each case.  

 

3. HYGIENE / ACCESSIBILITY

All food production facilities must maintain certain hygiene conditions to guarantee the quality of the product, whether for human or animal consumption (while in the case of products intended for human consumption the requirements are generally higher).

To this end, it is important to keep the environment clean and free of dust, avoid any remains in the ducts through which the product flows, and establish a cleaning protocol that ensures the elimination of any product remains at each batch change.

This brings us back to downtime: the longer spent on hygiene, the shorter the uptime of the bagging line, and the lower the profitability. This is why you need your bagging machinery to be as accessible as possible and designed in such a way that operators can clean it quickly. In other words, it has to meet the precepts of hygienic design.

 

4. LOGISTICS

When defining technical solutions for end-of-line, logistical requirements must always be taken into account. To this end, certain questions have to be considered:

Does your product need an airtight bag to maintain its properties for longer?

Are you going to transport your goods in containers?

Are you exporting your product to countries with strict packaging regulations?

Do you need to ensure that your product arrives fully intact at its destination?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you may want to consider investing in good packaging and protecting the pallet with more than just plastic to ensure that unexpected costs do not arise in the long run.

Make sure you choose a bag that can maintain the properties of the product, and that it is suitable for the bagging technology that permits the correct extraction of air from the bag. If the vacuum is carried out correctly, palletised loads will also be more stable. And if you also protect the pallet laterally with film and cardboard, you will ensure that no breakages occur along the entire handling chain of your goods avoiding returns.

 

5. AVAILABLE SPACE

Whatever your product is and whatever bag you pack it in, there is one question you can't ignore before setting up your bagging line: How much space do you have for the end of the line?

Whether it is a new plant or an existing plant being renovated, it is important to consider the space that can be dedicated to packaging (including bagging, palletising, stretch wrapping, and handling and stocking of full pallets). And not only in terms of square meters but also in terms of height: A low building height can mean limitations for a defluidisation probe or a Cartesian palletiser.

Furthermore, unlike many might think, a fully automatic packaging installation can sometimes be more compact than a semi-automatic installation: bear in mind that the systems for closing bags, labelling, lying bags, etc. after bagging, also require space. Whereas an automatic bagging machine can contain all these processes in just 15m2 (depending on the machine model).

 

A CASE STUDY

All the above factors must be analysed one by one, to finally define the appropriate technical solution in each case. TMI can help you with this so that the implementation of your automatic or semi-automatic bagging line is a complete success.  Just to give you an example, we tell you how we designed the line that you can see at the following link video:

https://youtu.be/-oCm0dfeNRA

This producer manufactures additives and blends for animal feed. The particle size of its products ranges between 190 and 212 µm, with densities between 0-5 and 1,3 gr/cm3.  In other words, powdery products that are a potential source of contamination in the plant, if not properly treated.

Initially, these mixtures and additives were manually bagged in aluminium and PE bags, from which the air was partially extracted manually, and a Goglio degassing valve allowed the evacuation of the remaining air. But this system, despite being practical in terms of hygiene, given the easy accessibility of the manual bagging machine, entailed certain disadvantages: labour, special bags, the reduced shelf life of the product, ... Not to mention the difficulty of making higher pallets.

The need to automate this process was obvious. So this was the reason why this client consulted TMI.

TMI carried out a laboratory study of the different products, concerning densities and behaviour. As a result, it was possible to define the appropriate dosing system for a wide range of products as well as the bag size for each of the ranges that could be distinguished.

From here, a bagging and palletising line was designed to cover all the customer's packaging needs, consisting of the following machines: ILERSAC HCBSD automatic bagging machine for heat-sealable open-mouth bags, ILERPAL H hybrid layer palletiser, ILERGIR automatic stretch wrapper, and ILERBOX corrugated cardboard side protection module.

This installation has a small footprint, given that the processes of bagging, air extraction, heat sealing of the bag, weight control, rejection of non-conforming bags, palletising, wrapping, top cover with film, and side protection of the pallet with corrugated cardboard are carried out in a surface area of approximately 75m2.

Moreover, the conventional ILERSAC H has been redesigned to include a hygienic design, becoming the new ILERSAC HC, with the aim of making it a more accessible, easy-to-clean, and dust-free machine. Among others, the new improvements consist of:

  • Prevent any dust emission during the bagging process, using a new mobile, flexible and airtight bagging spout.
  • Apply hygienic finishes throughout the product flow path as well as in the design of the machine surrounding the parts in contact.
  • Extend the distance between sections within the bagging machine to make it more accessible.
  • Prevent dust accumulation and contamination with hygienic cabling integrated into the chassis.

The customer can therefore carry out batch changes much more quickly, optimising time and resources.

Further optimisation has been achieved by the customer at a logistical level: With the new ILERPAL H automatic bag palletiser, it can produce pallets up to 2.7 m high. This is clearly a logistical advantage, as it allows full use of the capacity of the HQ containers that are used for sea export. In addition, thanks to the ILERBOX module, side protection with cardboard has been automated, ensuring that the bags arrive unbroken at their destination.

As you can see, TMI offers very specific solutions to meet the requirements for end-of-line bagging.

What are yours? Tell us about them via the contact form and we will prepare a custom-made proposal for you.


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