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Snack manufacturer smooths its process flow

02 May 2016

Snack manufacturer, Maravilla, has increased production capacity by 25% since replacing an outdated manual process with an automated conveying system and new control solution. 

Maravilla produces produces potato-based snacks and light corn-based extruded snacks in a variety of sizes and flavours. It wanted to boost production capacity to ensure it stayed competitive within the growing Algerian snack product sector.

Working with tna, the company has integrated nine tna roflo high throw vibratory conveyors, alongside three mini feeders into its potato/corn pellet line and has also updated its control system.

Maravilla needed a flexible conveying solution that could be easily integrated alongside existing systems for a smoother distribution process. The roflo VM 3 is a vibratory conveyor with a unique throw pattern. It incorporates an innovative reaction base design combined with an intelligent microprocessor, for a greater stroke length at a lower frequency. This feature enabled Maravilla to improve throughput by 25% and achieve a smoother transfer of products throughout the process.

Due to increasingly stringent food safety regulations in the Algeria, Maravilla also needed a design with smooth surfaces and no blind spots or areas where product and microorganisms could build up – to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Roflo VM 3 has no metal-to-metal bacteria build up areas and all conveyor trays are fully welded or scalloped, helping to reduce contamination risks. All conveying equipment in the new system is also made from food grade stainless steel and has few moving parts where food can become trapped. This facilitates the cleaning process and keeps downtime to a minimum.

In an effort to take efficiency to the next level, Maravilla also wanted a product transfer solution to link from its conveying system to its fryer. tna supplied three mini-feeders to do this. Via optical sensors, mini feeders monitor pellet levels for quality management in the hopper. When a low level of raw pellets is detected, the control system will immediately alerts plant managers.

Commenting on the solution, Mohamed Abdesselam, managing director at Maravilla, said: “We are delighted with the results of the installation. The incorporation of multiple tna roflo VM 3 and customised mini feeders fit perfectly with our existing production line. It has enabled us to reduce downtime by 25%, as well as increase our production line speeds by 25%. A fantastic outcome for us.”

One of the key requirements for an efficient line is communication between all equipment. Line integration is the first step towards operational efficiency as it ensures each component communicates effectively with the others. In the case of Maravilla, it was important that the new conveyors were synchronised with the current line so that all individual components can operate simultaneously at their highest level of performance.

tna installed a fully integrated control system across the production line. Via a combination of PLC systems and sensors, operators can now accurately control the speed at which the product is transferred from the feeder into the fryer and the optimum frying temperature, as well as having control of the operation of the seasoning system. This ensures the process only begins once the product is inside the drum and avoids unnecessary waste. With a PLC at the heart of the control system and a clear, concise Human Machine Interface (HMI) system providing machine status and production data, Maravilla has achieved better workforce efficiency, improved product quality and enhanced product safety. Installation of the automation systems allows operators to monitor any unusual activity and react quickly and efficiently, before any further processes are affected.

In conclusion, Abdesselam said: “With the support of tna and the installation of its complete integration systems on our production line, we have been able to reduce process inefficiencies and simplify our operations, while maximising productivity.”

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