Pouches do the job

PacMoore, Hammond, IN, is a contract manufacturer for food powder packaging and processing, specializing in such services as consumer packaging, spray drying dry blending, re-packing, sifting and bulk unloading, among many others. The company processes and packages various well-known brands, including General Mills, Kraft/Nabisco and Pinnacle Foods. In addition to its headquarters facility in Hammond, the company also has a plant in Mooresvill, IN.
 

"The PacMoore team and facilities have the expertise, equipment and resources to provide external manufacturing solutions for our customers," says CEO Bill Moore. "Our two facilities feature high-performance equipment and diverse capabilities, giving PacMoore the ability to operate 24 hours a day, five days a week and Saturdays as needed."


The Hammond facility has both horizontal form/fill/seal and vertical form/fill seal operations. Only the hf/f/s machine was running during Packaging Digest's visit.

 

Servo-driven hf/f/s

PacMoore purchased a used Bartelt hf/f/s machine and sent it to Advantage Control Systems (ACS), to be rebuilt. ACS, which specializes in rebuilding used Bartelt machines, stripped and sand blasted the machine, and then reassembled it with all new bushings, bearings and main shaft. ACS also installed Allen-Bradley servo drives and a HMI from Rockwell Automation. The servo drives are used for the main line shaft; the film-draw roller; the film-tension roller and the chain with the pouch clamps.

 

A roll of film from American Packaging Corp. is mounted on the end of the machine and is pulled into the machine by powered draw and unwind rollers. The film passes over a series of dancer rolls between the two powered rollers, A zipper application system can be installed at this point, although PacMoore has not done that. 


The film passes over a plow that folds it in half with the fold at the bottom, after which it passes vertical heating bars that create the vertical seals. These are followed by vertical cutters that separate the individual pouches.
At this point, the pouches are grasped by double-armed pouch clamps that grip them on both sides. The clamps are mounted on parallel conveyors that transport the pouches through the filling operations. The pouch clamps pivot inward, suction cups open the pouches and air jets completely expand the pouches to prepare for filling.

 

Different style fillers

PacMoore has three fillers mounted in a row above the hf/f/s-a 10-head rotary scale from CombiScale, a cup filler from Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery Inc. and a servo-driven auger filler that was supplied by ACS. All are integrated and controlled by the hf/f/s machine's HMI.


During PD's visit, the hf/f/s line was running a mixture of carrots and raisins in 90-gm (3.17-oz) pouches for one of its customers. The carrots were filled by the CombiScale, while the raisins were filled by the Spee-Dee unit. The auger filler was not required. 


Product was delivered to all of the fillers from hoppers on the second floor.


For the CombiScale, product discharges into a central hopper from which it is distributed to 10 vibratory feed hoppers located around the top of the unit. The feed hoppers in turn deliver product to the weigh buckets that are mounted below them. Each vibratory hopper adjusts the strength and duration of vibration to ensure an ample supply to the bucket. 


The weigher's microprocessor selects a combination of buckets (generally three or four) that cumulatively equal the closest weight to the total pouch weight without being under that weight. The selected buckets then open and discharge their contents down the discharge chute into the pouch, which is waiting on the conveyor below.


Each product discharge (weighment) is displayed on the scale's computer monitor, showing the fill weight, speed, which buckets released product and statistical data. The weighing system automatically calibrates itself for bulk product as it passes through the system, tracks the product and continuously compensates and updates itself for optimal sensitivity.


At the end of the fill cycle, the pouch conveyor moves the pouch to the volumetric cup filler, which consists of a rotary indexing disc containing six cups to dispense product. Product discharges into a cup until it is full, at which time the disc rotates to the discharge position the next cup is filled. 


The auger filler, which was not in operation for this product mix, essentially adjusts the number of revolutions of the auger to discharge the set amount of product.

 

PLC controls hf/f/s and fillers

After the auger filler, the pouch conveyor moves the pouch to the discharge station, where the pouch clamps pivot outward to pull the top of the pouch tight to provide a wrinkle-free surface. Reciprocating seal bars clamp and seal the tops, after which a cooling bar chills the seals to give the package top a firm, straight shape. Finally, the clamps release pouches onto the discharge conveyor.


The PLC for the system, which was installed and programmed by ACS, controls the hf/f/s and all of the fillers. It maintains the recipes and the operating parameters of the products for all of equipment all in memory, and the operator can recall them at a touch. The unit automatically sets the operating parameters, including the sealer temperatures and the servo drives that, among other things, set bag length. The screen can also be actuated to display the settings currently in use, causes of operating problems and maintenance requirements.

 

Pouches leaving the hf/f/s machine are check weighed by a Model KCW 6000 check weigher from Loma Systems that features an easy-to- use full color PC-based graphical touch screen, which is icon driven for rapid setup. The unit includes diagnostics, statistical recording, static weighing mode and histograms. Thru-put speeds and weight trends are highly visible, which helps to monitor and control product give-away.


Pouches then travel through a Fortress Technology Inc. Phantom metal detector that utilizes digital signal processing technology to ensure complete product integrity, accuracy and ease-of-use. The detector features high sensitivity levels to detect the smallest metal contaminants and includes automatic calibration at the touch of a button and an intuitive user interface with dedicated shortcut keys.


The pouches are hand-packed into shippers, which are closed by a 3M top-and bottom taper.

 


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Spee-Dee® Packaging Machinery, Inc. is an industry leading supplier of powder fillers, auger fillers and dry product filling system solutions for the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries. Since the 1940s, companies from around the world have turned to Spee-Dee for greatly improved efficiency and productivity. For more information about our dry product auger fillers, visit Spee-Dee’s web site at www.spee-dee.com or call 877-375-2121.