Flexible screw feed variety of bulk products to form/fill/seal packaging lines
Meeting the needs of institutional customers is getting simpler and more efficient at Atlanta-based Georgia Spice. With its newest equipment installation 14 months ago, the nationwide marketer of seasonings is adding considerable capability and more than a touch of flexibility to its flexible packaging.
"We've always been able to provide the highest quality products to our institutional customers, but now we are also capable of supplying smaller sizes for greater convenience to them," says Georgia Spice president Robert Shapiro. "And, judging from their responses since we began offering the new packages, they really like it."
In the company's GSC Packaging plant where the company has just about every type of form/fill/seal machinery, Shapiro allows, the new installation steps into a needed niche to spice up the company's output. This is the packaging of seasonings and spices in 2-g quantities in 2x2-in. pouch sizes for restaurant customers, ranging up to 24-oz amounts for such products as parmesan cheese or cake mix in 9x12-in. standup pouches.
The new horizontal form/fill/seal machine, Model PM912 from Ames Engineering, brings considerable capability in its 12 stations. Quietly averaging 140 pouches/min, it provides vertical perforating between the two filling stations, so a single web is utilized.
Its servo unwind assists in achieving a very uniform web tension, with post-fill sealing by knife cutoff. Two features Shapiro especially cites are the integral programmable logic controller that "makes changeover a very simple job," and its management of the blind embossing station for product identification that eliminates the need for labeling, since secondary packaging fully divulges content.
Most significantly, the new equipment functions with what Shapiro describes as "a wide variety of customer-driven" webs in forming straight side-seal pouches through more complex structures. He declines to discuss these in detail.
To make certain that product blends feed uniformly and consistently to the form/fill/seal machine, Shapiro uses a pair of flexible screw conveyors feeding from floor-level hoppers. Building the internal mechanical hoppers with an independent pair of rotating paddles to keep the product from bridging, Flexicon supplies the lines with its medium-capacity Model 1450 flexible screw conveyors.
As the two systems are completely enclosed in conveying tubes, no filters are needed. Moreover, the screws self-center as they rotate in the tubes, for ample clearance to avoid product damage. And, they're removed easily for cleaning during product changes.
Most important, from Shapiro's perspective, is that "the screw conveyors assure delivery of the product to the fillers' surge hoppers smoothly for consistent fills."
He notes, "We have been using these flexible screw conveyors on all of our form/fill/seal machinery and are very pleased with the results. Packaging equipment is a tool for growth. So it makes sense to choose the best there is."
Published in Packaging Digest, copyright Cahners Business Information.