The latest meat packaging developments

Multivac’s Centrifuge Feeder is an automated and hygienic solution for sausage loading and packing, Cibapac’s new barrier pouch provides optimum meat protection and maximum shelf appeal, while Ishida’s new x-ray inspection systems help meat processors to comply with global safety standards.

Multivac introduces a new wors in sausage packaging

The human touch is an asset in many industries, but not in sausage packaging. For this reason, Multivac, one of the world’s leading providers of packaging solutions for food products of all types, has developed an automated, efficient and hygienic solution for sausage loading and packing, which keeps operator contact with the product to a minimum.

The Multivac centrifuge feeder (MCF) is suitable for straight and uniform sausages, whether the links are to be packed in single or double layer and no matter what their orientation in the pack or the number to be packed.

Multivac’s Joalet Reyneke describes the additional benefits of the MCF: ‘It can be integrated seamlessly into packaging lines and saves up to 60% on handling costs compared to manual loading. It is also very gentle, which is essential for a delicate product.’

The system comprises five high-performance components. The sausages are transported on an inclined conveyor to the centrifuge plate, which is constantly turning. There they are orientated at the outside edge of the plate by the centrifugal force and are taken up individually from the centrifuge ring. A v-conveyor transports them to a downstream compartment conveyor that carries each product, individually and precisely aligned in a separate compartment, to the handling module. There the gripper picks up the desired number of sausages and loads it into the pack cavity.

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Golden anniversary for Seal Chemistry

For five decades, Seal Chemistry has taken the building blocks of global technology and reinvented them to meet local application techniques and equipment and, critically, climatic conditions. Gill Loubser tells the story.

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Taking charge of quality plate production

Stallion Repro is driving premium flexographic platemaking with Flint’s new-generation nyloflex FTF Digital.

OPERATING at the centre of the local reprographic market is Durban-based Stallion Repro, headed by Jeff Cutler and his wife, Sally. And, with a reputation for personal service and competitive pricing, this family concern continues to go from strength to strength.

In tandem with Stallion’s personal service philosophy is the objective to provide premium quality products and processes. The team has recently concluded trials with Flint Flexographic Products and local supplier, Kemtek Imaging Systems, testing the benefits of Flint’s advanced nyloflex FTF digital plate and establishing printing standards with some of South Africa’s leading flexible packaging converters. At a special open house in October, Jeff and the team, accompanied by Flint and Kemtek, officially launched FTF to their varied and valued customers. ‘It’s not very often in our industry that we come across a new product that completely “wows” us,’ remarks Jeff. ‘Flint’s FTF flat-top dot plate with its textured micro-cell surface is one of the first products we have tested that is challenging the traditional boundaries of gravure or offset printing.’

Efficiency and consistency

Designed for the flexible packaging sector, FTF provides flat-top dots by simply processing like any standard digital plate – no change and no additional equipment or processing step or consumable item is required. A special, textured plate surface eliminates the need for time-consuming surface screening and the texture of the plate provides an even ink laydown, increasing solid ink density with just a standard resolution of 2 400 or 2 540dpi. Tried and tested worldwide, this impressive technology is already assisting converters in achieving increased efficiency and consistency in the prepress and platemaking process.

‘We can produce FTF digital plates without having to invest in new equipment, which isn’t always the case with new products that come on to the market,’ he adds. ‘Joining the new flat-top dot technology with our existing high-definition imaging on our Esko CDI really is taking Stallion Repro to the next level. We believe it’s our job to keep our customers informed about any new technologies, and by doing this we can add that extra touch of service and keep our customers at the top of their game,’ Jeff continues.

‘As we say, the proof is in the pudding, and it doesn’t take long on press before we have converted another printer into using the FTF plate on all high-end jobs. From the first pull through on the machine, customers and brand owners are immediately noticing the brighter colours and sharper images.’

Quality colour made easy

According to Jeff, the biggest advantages that converters are realising include a larger colour range in process work – as a result of the minimal dot gain on the plates – plus a clear ink density increase (at least 10%), meaning brighter colours and the flexibility to produce many spot colours using the four process colours. ‘Printers are now able to release the pressure on the press, giving them more control and consistency throughout the print run,’ he advises.

‘The FTF plate is also more rigid than standard plates, resulting in more resistance to wear and tear that some substrates cause. This in turn offers longer print runs. What really impressed us is how efficiently the job runs with very few adjustments needing to be done to the press. This has eliminated all the guesswork and helped us in creating a standard that we will use going forward.’

With the help of Flint’s FTF plates, Stallion Repro is also able to assist in producing an accurate and colour correct digital chromalin that will match the printed sample. This also eliminates any guesswork and exceeds the customer or brand owner’s expectations. ‘Our team at Stallion Repro is proud to be using the new Flint FTF plate. And with the full support of our dedicated supplier, Kemtek Imaging Systems, we look forward to continued success in the flexo industry,’ concludes Jeff.

Quality assurance goes modular

BST Eltromat’s IPQ-Center is minimising waste and optimising productivity and quality for South Africa’s foremost flexible packaging printers.

SARELTECH, local representative for BST Eltromat International, has assisted Constantia Afripack Flexibles Mahogany Ridge and other leading flexible packaging printers to standardise their quality assurance with the modular IPQ-Center system.

Sarel Oosthuizen, Sareltech MD, reports a number of enquiries about this system from local flexographic and gravure printers at K2016 in Düsseldorf.

The iPQ-Center consists of four modules: iPQWorkflow, which integrates the three quality assurance systems – iPQ-Check for 100% print inspection, iPQ-View for video web inspection, and iPQ-Spectral for inline spectral colour measurement – in a closed quality assurance process with a uniform operating concept.

‘The modular structure enables printers to integrate the individual modules into their processes successively,’ Sarel explains. ‘For instance, many converters start with the iPQ-View video web inspection module, subsequently adding the other modules in line with the development of demands – all the way to a complete iPQ-Center.’

Any combination is possible, and the modules are available as entry-level Eco versions or Pro versions for higher demands.

Sarel goes on to outline the main benefits of the iPQ-Center as detecting and logging defects, allowing printers to reliably eject defective products that don’t comply with quality standards. ‘Moreover, defect logs and real-time data collected during production form a sound basis for continuous, long-term process improvement – as they permit reliable conclusions to be drawn about where parameters are going astray,’ he adds.

‘In addition, operators can intervene to correct settings quickly and at an early stage. These interventions ensure the press meets the specified printing tolerances, and that waste is avoided/ minimised from the outset,’ Sarel states.

Modules for different tasks

iPQ-View, the first module, displays live images of the printing process, enabling operators to assess print quality and influence it within a short response time.

Key features are its high-resolution digital cameras, optical zoom functions for adapting the field of view without any loss of display quality, and diverse lighting options to ensure uniform, optimum illumination of the printing area on all common materials.

‘Particularly convenient is the monitor’s split-screen function, enabling operators to compare live images from the production process, either with reference images or live images from a second camera,’ says Sarel. ‘They can choose whether to split the screen horizontally or vertically, or view a picture-in-picture display.’

These features are completed by supporting functions, such as barcode verification or Haze Guard for detecting low contrast printing errors, he adds.

iPQ-Check, the second module, is for 100% print inspection of web widths up to 2 800mm and machine speeds up to 1 000m/min. High-performance line scan cameras deliver detailed colour image data across the entire print format, and production results are logged from the first revolution of the impression cylinders.

Mature technologies and algorithms guarantee complete control so that process-related and sporadic error defect sources can be quickly located and eliminated.

In addition to direct lighting, the iPQ-Check has diffuse lighting for highly reflective materials, guaranteeing outstanding inspection results.

iPQ-Spectral, module three, performs real-time, inline measurement of solid and half-tone colour data with a high-resolution spectrophotometer on the press, comparing it against given reference values.

‘It has a spectral measuring range of 380nm to 730nm and a maximum measuring frequency of 30 measurements per second. The measuring field can have a minimum size of 5mm x 5mm and be positioned at any desired point within the printed image,’ Sarel explains.

‘If the system detects deviations, it displays them as statistics, diagrams and images, enabling operators to see at a glance where they need to intervene to avoid waste.’ iPQ-Spectral has been developed in co-operation with X-Rite, guaranteeing the comparability of data measured offline and inline via the XRGA standard.

Measuring within the press means colour images are captured permanently throughout the entire print job. Sarel notes this as a decisive advantage compared to hand-held measuring instruments, which only permit a few measurements per print job – usually at the beginning of a new reel.

The fourth module, iPQ-Workflow, seamlessly interconnects the three systems into a uniform, closed quality assurance process. ‘The user interface provides a clearly arranged display of all interactive set-up and operating menus, along with all inspection results – including live images from the printing press – on a multi-touch monitor, in which context intuitive operation with gesture control offers operators maximum convenience,’ Sarel says.

In his view, a decisive attribute of the iPQ-Workflow module is its openness to production-assisting systems from other vendors. The iPQ-Center’s inspection systems feature interfaces to Color Cert, AxonGraphix, PantoneLIVE and Colorware PressView, among others.

The latest addition is the bidirectional interface to Esko’s Automation Engine. This interface provides new possibilities for further reducing set-up times – for instance, by conveniently setting targets for the individual iPQ-Center modules.

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