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Responsible solutions were on show at Anuga Foodtec

16 May 2024

This year Anuga FoodTec put a focus on 'responsibility' providing a venue to showcase new technologies and concepts for sustainable management of natural resources along the entire value creation chain. The event hosted 1,307 exhibitors and nearly 40,000 visitors from 133 countries.

"At this year's Anuga FoodTec, it became clear that true responsibility extends beyond daily business; it is the driving force for sustainable and long-term growth. In every discussion, every presentation and every new product, we saw how important it is to make brave decisions today for our common future,” said Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse.?

The equipment and solutions on display set out to help the food and beverage industry minimise food losses and the treatment of waste water. In addition, procedures such as high pressure processing, which helps keeps food fresh longer without preservatives, were on show.

Another area of focus was on the reduction of the use of plastic and the use of alternative packaging materials. Progress in the production of plant-based foods, which serve as pioneering solutions for more sustainable diets, was also presented.

A point of focus was the 'Environment & Energy' exhibition area which was dedicated to progressive energy solutions. The focus was on technologies such as solarthermics, heat pumps, biogas and biomass, which can contribute to reducing CO2 emissions and increasing energy efficiency.? 

Real-time monitoring
GEA used the event to launch a real-time monitoring solution for food processing technology. GEA InsightPartner is a cloud-based web application which uses machine data to provide flexible responses to production challenges.

The solution can be retrofitted to existing machines or can be ordered with new machinery. By providing immediate access to historic and real-time processing and packaging equipment data, the solution is said to enable better production management through advanced analytics and insights from continuous monitoring. It helps identify performance improvements and extend asset longevity. It ensures that performance can be tracked against key performance indicators (KPIs) and can also provide alerts relating to maintenance needs, using trend analysis to prevent potential unexpected downtimes.

GEA's suite of digital solutions now includes InsightPartner, RemotePartner, and the GEA Cloud, to provide a holistic approach to supporting equipment throughout its lifecycle. These offerings are said to prioritise security and transparency, ensuring that data is securely stored and analysed.

Filling line digitalisation
KHS employed its ConnectApp portfolio at the exhibition – the latest addition to its range of digital services – to help demonstrate its ‘smart operations’ offerings. The first new ConnectApp supports maintenance and servicing in the operation of filling lines.

The company added an edge device as standard onto its production line offerings last year, in the form of an industrial PC, to enable a link to the KHS cloud to be established. This means that production lines are Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ready. If digital solutions in the form of KHS ConnectApps are procured, the edge device can be quickly activated remotely to provide greater connectivity and intelligence to lines. KHS has now taken a big step further in this direction. “Activation of the device creates a reliable interface to the KHS cloud – while meeting high security requirements. It allows us to offer beverage producers a wide range of software applications or apps in the future,” said Deniz Ulutürk, product manager for digital products at KHS.

A dashboard function can already be accessed through the KHS Connect customer portal to show the machine state, performance indicators and when maintenance is next due. 

The aim is to create a networked environment that improves the customer experience throughout the line’s entire life cycle, helping to improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).  

The first app available is ConnectApp Guide. Its three core functions are to supply information on servicing, detect disruptions and keep a log book. It provides machine-specific maintenance instructions preconfigured by KHS as digital Cleaning, Inspection, Lubrication, Tightening (CILT) lists, which allow tasks to be scheduled, performed and checked off. As an option, machines can be connected up to the KHS cloud in order to initiate tasks as required, according to the number of operating hours.

Food-contact lubricant
The latest addition to the Klüber Lubrication product portfolio was highlighted at the event – the Klüberfood 4DC (4 direct contact) series – which offers lubricant alternatives for applications with direct food contact and can replace products suspected of causing MOSH/MOAH contamination. The range consists of food-grade ingredients of plant origin and are free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and allergens.

The Klüberfood 4DC range currently comprises eight processing aids for the food industry that can perform different functions. they can be used, for example, as release agents, for corrosion protection, as lubricants, as metal forming fluids, as barrier fluids in mechanical seals and as non-stick and cleaning agents. 

Another focus on the Klüber stand was a range of digital solutions designed to support Total Productive Management (TPM), which enables continuous analysis of systems to create more efficient maintenance processes. 

Schaeffler used the event to demonstrate the latest products and services for the entire process chain in the food industry for the first time – from the processing and packaging of food through to the monitoring of entire production lines – always with a focus on the conservation of resources and the reduction of operating costs and downtimes.

Schaeffler can offer a variety of electric cylinders which are said to be particularly suitable for applications in wet and dusty environments. Electric cylinders are widely used in food processing applications as adjustment drives and for actuating flaps, sliders and sealing elements. For very stringent hygiene requirements, Schaeffler can also offer series-CASM electric cylinders in a stainless-steel version. 

The high throughput of food processing machines requires fast, fully-automated pick-and-place-solutions when handling and packaging. The challenge here is to implement multi-axis systems with standard components if possible. For rotary motion, Schaeffler can offer the RT1 and RT2-series precision strain wave gears and PSC-series precision planetary gearboxes. These are designed for demanding automation solutions and can also be supplied specifically configured for the customer as a complete drive with drive motors. 

Finally, Schaeffler’s OPTIME C1 lubricator offers an intelligent lubrication solution. The C1 lubricator and OPTIME vibration sensors connect to each other and the gateway autonomously to form a mesh network and are configured and ready for operation in just a few minutes. With the OPTIME mobile app, the maintenance team has an overview of the condition of all machines, such as pumps, mills, fans, gearbox motors and units, and every lubricator of type OPTIME C1. Apart from the savings in terms of inspections and manual measurements, this solution can help reduce costly, unplanned production stoppages.

Cool HMMA extrusion solution
Coperion demonstrated the new MEGAtex S7 cooling die, which is designed for manufacturing plant-based High Moisture Meat Analogue (HMMA) meat substitutes. Mounted at the discharge of the ZSK food extruder, this texturising unit gives plant protein mass a dense, fibrous structure that closely resembles animal flesh.

The new cooling die allows for variable widths and strengths as well as various textures for meat substitutes. It also has features that simplify handling and make recipe and configuration changes possible with just a few quick adjustments. 

The HMMA manufacturing process sees protein-rich raw materials mixed with water and worked into a homogeneous mass in a ZSK extruder. This mass is then pressed through the MEGAtex cooling die, where the meat-like texture is formed and a solid strand is discharged for further processing.

The MEGAtex S7 can achieve throughputs of 5 to 50kg/hr and can currently be combined with the ZSK Food Extruder sizes 18, 27 and 34. The cooling die consists of individual segments which can be combined as needed, depending upon the requirements of the raw materials and the desired product structure. 
It comes with interchangeable inlays that provide the flexibility to vary strand widths between 35 and 70mm and the length between 10 and 15mm. 

High-speed cooking solution
DC Norris showcased one of its new food processing solutions, the ‘Cook Quench Chill Adapt’ which amalgamates high-speed cooking technology with a modular design.

The solution is said to offer an array of advantages. It provides flexibility, enabling installation over high care/low-risk barriers or as a singular unit that can be expanded at any point to accommodate increased capacity and throughput. The installation process is facilitated by the attachment of modules, followed by the connection to essential services.

Products ranging from pasta and rice to pulses and vegetables undergo continuous, expedited cooking or blanching thanks to the integration of patented direct steam heat systems. Product integrity is maintained through the utilisation of the Variable Wave Agitation System, which is said to ensure damage-free processing while preventing product clumping.

The system has also been designed to maximise water conservation. Smaller tank capacities and customisable water levels cater to various batch sizes, helping to minimise waste and the inclusion of a starch removal system allows for the re-use of the same water in subsequent batches. 

Grinding fresh or frozen products
K+G Wetter demonstrated its new WW 200 angle grinder which has the ability to process not only fresh products but also frozen meat blocks without pre-cutting. This is said to make it well suited to food companies that work with a mix of fresh and frozen meat. The grinder has an asymmetrical shape which ensures that meat and other ingredients are fed evenly to the feeder worm after loading. The special frozen meat feeder worm with cutting edge cuts up the blocks during transportation to the meat worm: the meat is cut precisely from the block and is not squashed. The temperature increase is also minimal due to the low product stress. This ensures a clear cut of the finished minced product.

The hand-polished stainless-steel surfaces of the grinder are easy to keep clean, and the angled arrangement allows cleaning water to run off without forming puddles. The feeder and meat worms can be removed and replaced in a few simple steps without the need for tools. This also facilitates hygienically safe cleaning. The single-stage folding step makes the WW 200's grinder hopper quickly and safely accessible with minimal space requirements. 

The cleaning chamber prevents a typical hygiene risk due to hidden contamination inside the machine behind the seals of the drive shaft and feeder worm. Daily cleaning is carried out from the outside by simply holding the standard cleaning lances or spray nozzles against the easily accessible rinsing ports. The seals that come into contact with the product are cleaned on both sides and do not provide a breeding ground for microorganisms.

Efficient filling
During live demonstrations on the VEMAG stand, visitors were able to experience its machinery range and their production possibilities – such as filling into cans and cups, grinding, forming and exact portioning of doughs and masses. The machine solutions can be easily integrated into complex production lines, says the company.

Depending on the required end product, quickly interchangeable forming nozzles and knives are available. 

The machines on display were there to bring visitors product ideas to life. The VEMAG double screws and the low-pressure forming of burger patties or balls made from meat or plant-based masses, for example. Other demonstrations on the stand included the forming of energy bars on several lanes using a filling flow divider, the dividing of doughs with different dough yields and the production of unusual sausages with a special pattern.

The next Anuga FoodTec trade fair will take place in Cologne from 23-26 February 2027. 

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