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Innovative thermoformer technology

29 April 2019

GEA has launched new thermoforming technology in the UK that has been developed to help food processors to get products to market more quickly, while also helping to reduce the impact of film waste in the packaging process. 

The design of the PowerPak PLUS thermoformer, which was based on customer feedback from a survey conducted by GEA, can help shorten set-up and changeover times, while reducing film waste by up to 75%. The thermoformer can also be operated in tandem with Oxycheck, the non-invasive in-line quality control system for Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP).
Oxycheck is a measurement system that minimises the risk of product recalls, enhances food safety and limits food waste, while saving customers money. In conjunction with PowerPak PLUS, it offers a combination of quality, process transparency and traceability. 

Commenting on this, Greg Austin, product manager thermoforming at GEA UK, said: “We have been able to integrate Oxycheck into the thermoformer without slowing down or stopping the process. Unlike invasive oxygen measuring techniques that only inspect sample packages, our system inspects all packages produced without damaging the film or breaking the seal.

The machine is said to be able to comfortably handle different printed films and a variety of packing weights and product sizes, making it suitable for a wide range of foods – including meat, poultry and bakery products.
The design of the new thermoformer involved optimised PowerPak PLUS’s systems for both the top and bottom films which are now motor-driven and synchronised with the machine’s advancing cycle. Speeding up the process, combined with the machine’s innovative web tension, facilitates a secure film path preventing curling, while mis-alignment or curvature can be automatically adjusted. To accommodate the new film set-up, the sealing station structure has also been redesigned for easy access and is now protected by vertically adjustable and transparent safety doors which can be lowered quickly when required, eliminating the need for loose, protective hoods.

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