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Anuga FoodTec 2024 preview: Digitalization and automation for sustainable food processing and packing

#Anuga FoodTec 2024 preview: Digitalization and automation for sustainable food processing and packing


Visitors entering trade show building.
(Image credit: Anuga FoodTec).

15 Mar 2024 — Anuga FoodTec is opening its doors to visitors in Cologne, Germany, next week (March 19–22). Exhibitors will showcase their latest solutions addressing this year’s main theme: How can food production be geared toward bringing sustainable change?

The event is considered an important information platform for the international F&B industry covering all aspects of production, including filling and packaging technology. Anuga FoodTec is expecting more than 40,000 trade visitors from 150 countries and over 1,600 exhibitors.

GEA is launching a real-time monitoring solution for food processing technology, a cloud-based web application for food processing and packaging lines at the show. GEA InsightPartner for the food processing industry is the latest addition to its digital product family and uses machine data to provide flexible responses to production challenges.

GEA InsightPartner supports food processing and packaging plants in achieving key production goals: maximize machine availability, minimize downtime, prevent unplanned shutdowns and manage resources efficiently.

The service enhances efficiency and productivity, reduces costs and lowers the Total Cost of Ownership for plant equipment. By providing immediate access to historic and real-time equipment data, InsightPartner improves production management through advanced analytics and insights from continuous monitoring. It also helps identify performance improvements and extend asset longevity.

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Feeding machine.Schubert’s TLM Comfort Feeder for resource-saving feeding tech (Image credit: Schubert).Digital innovations are transforming the food industry, increasing production while reducing energy consumption and waste. GEA supports customers with its high-performance systems, advanced sensor technologies, cloud connectivity and sophisticated analytics to help clients produce more efficiently and achieve environmental sustainability goals.

Latest feeding and filling
Gerhard Schubert will present its high-performance, resource-saving packaging solutions to visitors. A main highlight at the stand is the TLM Comfort Feeder — a new, efficient, resource-saving solution for feeding carton blanks directly from the pallet.

The Schubert experts will also introduce two fully recyclable and glue-free packaging concepts: Dotlock carton packaging and a carton-monofilm hybrid solution. Schubert will advise on its extensive portfolio for automated and environmentally friendly F&B packaging.

Meanwhile, Syntegon company Ampack is innovating in liquid food filling technology. The company is completing its modular portfolio with the flexible FBL filling machine for preformed HDPE, PP and PET bottles. In addition to baby food and clinical nutrition, the newly developed machine can also be used to gently fill milk- and plant-based drinks, dairy products and soups.

“The FBL enables flexible and hygienic production,” says Oguz Karcier, product manager at Ampack. Plastic bottles.Syntegon’s FBL fills different bottle formats and materials without damaging the product (Image credit: Syntegon).

“The basis for this is a neck-handling system adapted to the FBL for fast bottle format changeovers, as well as an innovative hygiene and maintenance concept.”

Liquid and viscous foods face different packaging requirements and the preformed bottles available to manufacturers are equally versatile. With the FBL, Ampack is launching a multifunctional machine that fills bottles of all three materials with volumes between 50 mL and 1,500 mL in a time-saving manner.

Ampack has further developed a neck-handling system for the FBL to ensure faster bottle format changeovers. The bottles, which have been set up and checked for leaks in advance, are fed into the carrier plates via a gripper. The device grips the bottles by the neck and can quickly insert different bottle types into the carrier plates.

“The system can be adapted to different bottle formats in just a few steps, enabling efficient transportation,” explains Karcier. A simple maintenance concept significantly enhances productivity: movable dosing stations support efficient inspection and maintenance of critical components.

Ampack has also redesigned the dosing stations. In addition to several fillers for highly sensitive and easy-to-dose products, the FBL offers gentle product filling. “Some liquid foods, such as clinical nutrition, foam a lot during filling. We have developed a special dosing process to prevent this — the result is low-foaming filling for the highest possible output,” says Karcier.

Sealing machine.Sealpac’s Amax-series traysealers are characterized by their low-maintenance design (Image credit: Sealpac).Fresh produce safety
Sealpac will present its traysealers and thermoformers at Anuga FoodTec. The company’s A6max traysealer enables the packaging of fresh produce in a safe and resource-saving way.

Based on a Sealpac A6max, visitors will see that the trays are reliably sealed under MAP at high speeds. The sealing is achieved using “ultra-light” trays in an optimized format of 190 x 144 mm. The weight of these trays has been reduced by up to 20% compared to conventional plastic trays.

The solution saves materials and offers logistical advantages due to its standardized format. The ultra-light trays can be easily stacked and present products in an appetizing and attractive way on the retail shelves while keeping shelves tidy.

The Amax-series traysealers are characterized by their particularly low-wear and low-maintenance design. They are driven by high-quality servo motors that allow for extremely smooth production runs. All Amax traysealers are equipped with the EnergyManager module, which minimizes energy consumption.

The machines are also suitable for producing hybrid packaging concepts with reduced plastic and high cardboard content, such as eTray, FlatMap or FlatSkin.

Packaging Insights will be reporting live from the show floor next week.

By Natalie Schwertheim

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