New auger filling innovations help enable fast changeovers (to reduce downtime), easy cleaning (to ensure food safety) and product savings (to improve profitability). This trio of improvements from Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery was seen at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2015.
1. Split hopper: Getting inside the hopper of an auger filler to switch out the screw or make sure it is properly cleaned has been difficult at best in days past. Now, a new split-hopper design gives you easy access to critical areas. Not only is it easier to reach these areas for cleaning, but you can now see them to visually confirm that they are, indeed, clean—something that was nearly impossible to do before.
Timm Johnson, Spee-Dee’s vp sales and marketing, demonstrates in the video above just how quick and easy it is to open the two-piece hopper.
Made of FDA-compliant, food-grade molded urethane, the split hopper is lightweight—about one-third the weight of the company’s previous stainless steel hopper. This makes it easier to handle and install. The urethane can be molded in any color to complement or match brand colors of existing or new equipment (such as form-fill-sealers).
A safety interlock switch prevents the system from running when the hopper is opened. Additionally, the hopper can open to the left or right, depending on what’s best for your specific operation and packaging line layout.
Silicone gaskets are chemically attached to the top and bottom of the hopper to provide secure sealing and easy wipe-down cleaning.
2. Quick disconnect on the screw: A sliding key acts like a quick-disconnect seen on many hardware tools such as drills. This tool-less feature lets you easily remove the auger for better cleaning or to change the screw for another product set-up.
3. Vacuum tooling: You might think drips or stringing between auger revolutions is just something you have to put up with in powder filling. But now you can stop the mess and the product giveaway to help improve your operation’s profitability.
With this vacuum tooling, which is engaged automatically at the end of the filling cycle, product flow is cut off cleanly.
It works this way: A central funnel fits inside an outer vacuum funnel. This dual-funnel system has a sintered mesh stainless steel multi-layer screen in the central funnel at the bottom of the auger. Vacuum is activated through this screen, which densifies the product and stops its flow.
Watch a video clip of the vacuum tooling in action here.
See a host of new ideas in packaging machinery, materials and more at SouthPack 2015, Nov. 18-19, in Orlando, FL.