GEA to exhibit upgraded packaging system at PackExpo

A key equipment upgrade of GEA’s  SmartPacker TwinTube system is set to be unveiled at the PackExpo event in Las Vegas, US.

The company will use the event, which takes place between September 23-25, to showcase its latest machine enhancement which has been redesigned as a modular line targeting increased efficiency,  higher operational uptime and ease of use.

Designed as a continuous motion vertical system, the TwinTube has been developed for  packaging small-sized, food products such as candy, nuts and dried fruits, as well as other on-the-go products in pillow bags of different sizes.

The machine is part of a complete packaging process with upstream and downstream equipment operating in a dry manufacturing facility. It operates with two parallel forming tubes, achieving combined speeds of up to 500 bags per minute (weighing 10 to 18 g each). It is also possible to run a different film reel for each tube, meaning calorie packs of different widths or designs can be simultaneously filled. A new feature to the machine is the Jumbo Roll, which allows film reels of up to 100 kg to be used for long production runs, which boosts operational efficiency.

“The new TwinTube has a modular construction which allows customers to easily add new options and upgrade their machine, thus prolonging the life span of the system. In addition, we’ve increased operator friendliness by introducing toolless adjustment features which helps achieve shorter change-over times and proven/error free setup of the machine – this includes printers, labellers and the vertical sealing unit,” explains Martijn van de Mortel, Product Manager Vertical Packaging at GEA. “With these new updates, we’re able to meet our customers’ demands in terms of automated process control, less operator dependence, more uptime and operational efficiency,” he adds.

The new machine is also equipped with automated web tracking. This means that if the film deviates from its path, due to – for example – variances in the film roll, the feature will correct the direction of the film automatically, without the need of manual adjustment. Ultimately this safeguards the quality of the resulting bags, while saving on downtime.

In addition, the equipment  features a new jaw closing mechanism, optimised heating unit and a vertical rotational seal unit, promoting robust packing performance and excellent tightness of the pack seals. The jaw closing mechanism offers more than triple sealing force as the previous one and can apply 6000N. This gives the opportunity to use thicker films or films with more diverse characteristics in terms of sealing requirements.
Due to the more stable suspension of the longitudinal seam unit and the reproducible and precise positioning by spindle and ruler, shorter changeover times are possible when switching formats or foils. “With this development producers will be able to work with more challenging films thus able to give retailers and consumers what they are looking for in terms of bag quality with even wider range of film materials.” states van de Mortel.

The new GEA TwinTube is optionally equipped with a new, fully integrated GEA TiroLabel unit, which makes the machine even more compact on the factory floor. The dedicated labeling unit delivers a speed of up to 180 labels per minute at a width of 150 mm and achieves millimeter precision during labeling. The label roll has a quick-release operation, which means it can be changed in seconds with minimal downtime.

It also features an innovative open design with double-hinged doors for easy access and see-through panels providing maximum visibility of the sealing area. Full access and easy maintenance are made possible via the machine’s hinged front-plate – to which the sealing arms and vertical seal are attached – and which can be fully opened. This ensures all items requiring maintenance can be easily reached.

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