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Catch up on the latest packaging and processing developments

16 September 2019

PPMA Total Show 2019 will open its doors at the NEC, Birmingham, from 1 – 3 October, to showcase the latest innovations in smart manufacturing, processing and packaging solutions for the food and beverage industry. 

The event offers an opportunity to find out more about the latest solutions in processing equipment and packaging machinery, with many of the 450 exhibitors demonstrating advanced technologies and innovative solutions. The event will also offer a chance for visitors to find out more about technology advances such as digitalisation, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and the integration of vision equipment and robotics into existing production lines. 

The Enterprise Zone will include a free to attend, issue-led conference programme that will focus on the key issues facing modern manufacturing – including Brexit, serialisation, AI, plastic packaging, food waste, sustainability and the circular economy. 

Case studies and presentations in this area will provide visitors with real examples of best practice manufacturing and excellence in processing and packaging production.

At 1.00pm on Tuesday, Kieran Edge MPhys MIET of AMRC, will give a presentation entitled AMRC Factory 2050 – Empowering the UK for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He will argue that the adoption of advanced technology is vital to keeping manufacturing capability within the UK. Increasing early adoption of emerging technology and understanding how separate industries tackle similar problems will allow a company to grow more rapidly and increase profitability. During this talk, visitors will hear how the AMRC works with UK companies to ease and de-risk integration of advanced technology and techniques to aid UK-based manufacturing.

Conference highlights for food industry visitors might include a presentation from Chris Holland of Holmach. At 3.00 on Tuesday, he will discuss the role of shelf life extension in food waste reduction.

Short shelf life extension, using existing and novel technologies, has the ability to increase the choice at point-of-sale while reducing the waste generated by use-by dates. Holland will discuss issues around product types with simple solutions that do not destroy nutrients or flavour. He will also cover a novel type of process designed to reduce the usage of CPET trays in recipe.

On Wednesday at 10.00am speakers from Campden BRI and partner Institutes will address challenges to food safety for today and tomorrow. They will focus on the challenges to thermal process validation presented by existing, new and emerging technologies for food thermal processing. The session will address the challenges presented by heating methods such as microwave and radio-frequency heating and the difficulties presented in measuring heat treatments when pasteurising low and intermediate moisture products. 

Omron is using the event to debut its flexible production system. It will showcase an end-to-end flexible automated manufacturing process – including roboticised arm, connected camera and mobile capabilities – which will offer visitors an in-depth look at how technology is enabling more customisable, personalised manufacturing with the multipurpose mobile robots able to perform different tasks as needed.

Providing a model of a fully-automated factory using technology solutions that exist today the automated production system includes component retrieval, assembly and quality inspection performed entirely by autonomous robotic technologies. The system is completely digitised, allowing all data produced to be displayed on a dashboard and closely monitored by a supervisory system.

Visitors to the stand will be able to interact with the system, designing their own specification, placing an order and watching as the solution assembles their product in real time. Through an onsite dashboard, it is possible to customise a product at every stage of the production process, from order entry to delivery, modelling the flexible production lines of the future.

Carlo Gavazzi will demonstrate how advances in technology can aid operational excellence by providing insight into systems to reduce unscheduled downtime while improving productivity and energy usage. It will be discussing the latest innovations and advantages of IO-Link Sensors; illustrating increased availability of data, standardised wiring, remote configuration and monitoring as well as, simple device replacement. Also, on the stand will be the latest wireless handheld IO-Link smart configurator which is said to make previously a laborious tasks quick and easy.

On the SICK stand visitors will be offered a behind-the-scenes insight into the company’s own Industry 4.0 smart sensor production facility in Germany. Using interactive links, visitors will be able to learn about SICK’s real-world experiences of establishing a facility from scratch according to classic Industry 4.0 principles.

The Industry 4.0 theme will continue across the SICK stand with a range of products showcasing smart sensors, including an expanding number of Smart Tasks and edge processes that can communicate directly with the Cloud.

The company’s range of PRIME photoelectric and contrast sensors will be among the solutions targeted at packaging machinery applications. The new 4Sight Automated Print Inspection System developed in collaboration packaging automation specialists Autocoding Systems will also be on show.   

SICK will also reveal further developments in its AppSpace platform to develop and pool software applications for smart, programmable devices like the Inspector P 2D, and the Trispector1000 3D, vision sensors.  This will include SICK’s new Presence Inspection 2D quality inspection SensorApp developed in AppSpace for Inspector P smart cameras.

3D camera techniques
A wide variety of new vision technologies will be displayed by Multipix Imaging. Visitors will be able to learn about different 3D camera techniques and which to use for certain applications. The Photoneo MotionCam 3D camera will demonstrate how robustly and consistently it captures 3D point cloud information from moving items to create 3D automated solutions.   

New Basler Embedded Vision kits will also be on display. The range consists of a variety of modular components to evaluate a solution leading to a successful embedded vision solution through the Basler dart board level camera and embedded processing board. Multipix will be demonstrating how Basler pylon SDK camera software supports Linux OS. Visitors to the stand will also be able to find out more about how Deep Learning software tools can take artificial intelligence to new levels. MVTec’s HALCON Imaging Software now enables users to execute the deep learning inference on Arm-based CPUs, allowing for the deployment of deep learning applications on embedded devices without the need of further dedicated hardware. 

Loma will be showing a range of inspection solutions including the compact X5 Spacesaver X-ray Inspection machine which incorporates the company’s Adaptive Array Technology (AAT) to help balance detection performance against line speed. Available in belt widths ranging from 300mm up to 500mm, the X5 Spacesaver can operate at line speeds up to 75 metres per minute.
The company’s X5C X-ray inspection unit offers an entry level solution that reduces the cost of ownership of X-ray technology by 30% when compared to other models. Capable of handling products up to 100mm (height) and 300mm (width) but weighing no more than 3kg, the X5C is suited to inspection of ready meals, small packaged goods and convenience food.

Mettler-Toledo will showcase its latest product inspection and industrial weighing solutions which are designed to help ensure product quality and conformity. The new C35 dual lane checkweigher, for example, is said to contribute to product integrity by preventing over- or underfill, in addition to ensuring compliance with weights & measures. It has the ability to check two lines at once in real time. 

In addition to being contaminant free and consistently portioned, accurate labelling and perfect packaging are key aspects of product integrity. The V35 Round Line is a compact, turnkey vision inspection solution from Mettler Toledo designed for round, non-oriented containers that will fit on crowded production lines. The V35 performs 360° checks of label quality, text, or other graphic identification. It also verifies 1D and 2D barcodes, alpha-numeric text presence and print quality on the label.

Alongside this will be the latest in metal detection technology for free flow, packaged and conveyor applications, including the latest Auto Test System which helps to support product integrity, improve efficiency and contributes to overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). Completing the product inspection display will be Mettler-Toledo’s ProdX data management software tool. 
Macsa ID UK will be demonstrating its coding and marking equipment including the compact ICON 2 small character laser coder which offers permanent, consistent and durable marking. It boasts a metal enclosure and is available in either 10 Watt or 30 Watt versions. It is supplied with network connectivity as standard.
ICON 2 can mark on most substrates, including labels, cartons, plastics, glass, wood and textiles. It can print both linear and 2D barcodes and static barcoding is available as standard and dynamic barcoding is optional.
The idTIJ small character thermal inkjet printer will also be on display – the company’s first thermal inkjet coder aimed at fast, high resolution printing applications. It incorporates a 10in colour touch screen which has been developed to facilitate easy installation, operation and maintenance, as well as helping to improve user experience.  The idTIJ is capable of high-speed printing up to 150m/min and 600 dpi. 

Endoline Robotics, formed by Endoline Machinery to project manage the supply and installation of FANUC robot palletising systems, will be officially launched at the exhibition. On the stand the company will showcase a fully automatic palletising system which will be palletising and de-palletising plastic crates. The system will incorporate a 6-axis FANUC M-710iC series industrial robot and the plastic crates will be in various sizes and colours to demonstrate the ability to manage mixed pallets. 

GIC will show its latest generation vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) machines, the GIC3100 and GIC4100, a continuous motion machine for high-speed bag styles up to 250mm wide, such as pillow, gusseted and block bottom. It can accommodate quad, doy and zip applications and can package a variety of products including fresh produce, snacks, confectionery, pet food, powders, pulses, pasta, liquids and non-foods.
The intermittent servo driven GIC4100 is suited to use with larger bag sizes up to 400mm wide. It can produce standard pillow packs, but also boasts a fully servo controlled tucking mechanism for production of gusseted and block bottom packs. 

Secondary packaging company TrakRap will be demonstrating its low carbon approach to packaging. The system eliminates the use of heat from the packaging process, reducing energy consumption by up to 90% and materials usage, including plastic, by as much as 70% compared to shrink film systems. 

The system is also said to deliver cost savings by enabling step change improvements in productivity, flexibility and sustainability, while TrakRap’s 100% recyclable green film ensures its packaging solutions deliver the lowest carbon footprint versus any corrugate box or shrink wrap option. 

Industrial Washing Machines (IWM) will be showing the T400 tray washer, the CW13 EX BT general-purpose cabinet utensil washer and the new range of boot washers. 
The T400 single-lane continuous-wash tray washer is suited for smaller to medium throughputs, or where operational space is at a premium. The T400 can accommodate up to 400 trays, crates or boxes per hour. It is typically supplied in a continuous straight-through tunnel configuration but overhead feed for one-person operation is also available, as are twin-tank versions for high care applications. The CW13 EX BT cabinet washer is designed for a range of items, including trays, machine components/change parts, weigh pans, buckets and utensils. It features an internal self-cleaning function and the interior of the machine being completely rounded with no right angles.
Flexible bottling solution
AVE UK will use the exhibition to launch its new range of bottling equipment in either Monobloc (filler/capper) or Unibloc (rinser/filler/capper) versions, capable of handling a variety of different materials within a single machine – from plastics and glass to aluminium and biodegradables. The company’s flexible range of rinser/filler/cappers are suited for a variety of applications and can handle multiple substrates – both plastic and non-plastic. They also come with a range of end-of-arm tools to suit your particular capping requirement.

The Monobloc and Unibloc rinser/filler/cappers offer solutions between 12 and 80-head fillers and have cleaning-in-place (CIP) as standard. They are suitable for operations of all sizes and range from semi-automatic to speeds in excess of 60,000 bottles per hour.  The machines can be designed to cope with a variety of closure options, including plastic, roll-on pilfer proof (ROPP), twist-off, sports caps, stopper corks, corks and crown caps; all of which can be changed over within minutes.

ILAPAK will preview the Vegatronic 6400 – a new continuous motion bagger designed for frozen meat products such as nuggets, burgers, chicken pieces and sausages. The open frame design, IP66 rated electrical components, removable forming tube and a cantilever film reel shaft are features of the machine.

Sanitary design has been achieved by using high quality stainless steel for the majority of parts and minimising flat surfaces and recesses where dust and debris can accumulate. All parts on the main frame of the bagger are made from rounded components, the splicing table and forming tube support are inclined, the top of the electrical cabinet is sloped and the protective plate above the bagger is apex shaped. The Vegatronic 6400 is a full washdown bagger – all electronic and electrical parts are sealed to IP66 or higher and open frame architecture allows ready access for cleaning.

While the bagger is targeted to the needs of the IQF protein market, it is said to be equally well suited to frozen produce and cheese and many other markets which have stringent hygiene requirements. 

Rotech will demonstrate the latest inks used in TIJ (thermal inket) coding technologies. Visitors to the stand will see new ways to code sleeves, films and cartons which are inherently cleaner, less damaging to the environment, energy efficient and more reconcilable with natural, clean label product concepts. The new coding technology can code recycled fibrous cards with less ink bleeding, as well as biodegradable films including cornstarch and sugar cane polymers. A cartridge-based coding technology won’t give off any odours, whereas with CIJ (continuous ink jet), print-related odours can pose a problem due to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted during the coding process. Some products, notably chocolates, fresh desserts and baked goods, are susceptible to odour absorption to the extent that exposure will impact on taste. 
APEX Dynamics UK will use the event to showcase its range of stainless-steel planetary servo gearboxes which are capable of backlash accuracy down to less than one arc minute as well as being designed for easy cleaning and sterilising in an environment involving food grade materials. The gearboxes are available in in-line, right angle and a wide range of frame sizes and ratios.

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