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Sachet line speeds instant noodle packing
January 29, 2014
5 Min Read
Nong Shim, a South Korean noodle and snack specialist, can trace its origins back to 1965, when Lotte Industrial Co., Nong Shim's parent company, was established. In 1978, Lotte changed its name to Nong Shim, and in recent years, the company has experienced rapid growth. The products manufactured in the company's eight plants in South Korea and China are currently exported to more than 80 countries. Among its accolades, Nong Shim was the official instant noodle provider to the 1988 Seoul Olympics and to the 1998 World Cup in France.
Although known for a variety of snacks, including shrimp crackers, onion rings and potato chips, Nong Shim is best known for its Shin Ramyun beef-flavored instant noodle product, which was developed in 1986. Since its introduction, Shin Ramyun has become one of the best-selling instant noodle products worldwide in a market where, in 2000, more than 150 million packs were sold in China alone.
Instant noodles are enjoying an increasing level of global popularity for a variety of reasons. They are cheap, convenient and quick and easy to prepare, and they can be packaged with a myriad of flavorings. Shin Ramyun is a particular favorite, due to its unique hot and spicy taste. Although sold globally, its strongest markets are South Korea, Japan, the U.S., Hong Kong and Taiwan, and in China, where it is a best-seller.
The growing worldwide consumption of instant noodles, plus Nong Shim's desire to pursue the global market, prompted the company to increase its production capacity and to modernize its packaging department. In order to consolidate its leading position, Nong Shim had to find the most efficient, effective answer without compromising the price of the noodles. Sigpack Systems (www.sigpacksystems.com) was able to offer a high-speed, efficient solution to meet this challenge.
In 2006, Sigpack Systems celebrated its centenial. Because of this, Nong Shim says it knew that Sigpack, with more than 100 years of experience, could be relied upon to provide the results it needed. According to Sigpack, many of the most famous food brands around the world are packaged on its machines and systems, which offer optimum protection and practical, easy-opening and resealing features to packaged goods.
The noodles and sachets are packed by two flowrapper pillow-pack machines producing a total of up to 640 heat-sealed, OPP packs/min.
The solution at Nong Shim uses three machines from Sigpack that complement each other, to provide the company with an efficient, high-speed production line. The first is the DAC compact buffer, a compact, high-speed machine featuring gondolas that can be removed for cleaning during operation. Guaranteeing optimal cooling in a minimum of space, the gondolas are located in a cooling tunnel, with guarding located on the right, left and over and under the gondolas. The next machine is the FVV sachet feeder, a multi-application unit featuring smart handling that ensures correct positioning of the sachets.
The third machine, the HBM horizontal pillow packer, is an ergonomically designed, robust servo machine that has been engineered for multishift operations packaging food and nonfood items. The HBM is built to ensure easy access to all machine parts, says Sigpack, while its ergonomic operating height guarantees comfortable operation, fast conversion to new sizes and shapes, and easy changing of the packaging material reels. Shuttering provides security and noise protection, while crumb trays catch any falling product debris.
The noodle processing line at Nong Shim produces 52 rows/min of 10-noodle “nests,” each measuring 5.118 in. dia. The individual rows are aligned, and any irregular nests are automatically rejected. The noodles, with a temperature of 230 deg F, and are then fed into the DAC compact buffer, which has a capacity of up to seven minutes of line storage. The integrated cooling in the buffer section reduces the temperature to 95 deg F. Two lines are fed at the same time, with a maximum outfeed of 64 rows/min. A weigh station checks the product before it passes on to a Sigpack FBF in-line infeed with string belts, so that crumbs fall directly into catch-trays to prevent waste buildup.
An outstanding detail of the system is the simultaneous packaging of up to three sachets containing the powdered flavoring, dried vegetables and oil. This is performed using the FVV sachet feeder. The sachets, which are fed in on one track and controlled by a vacuum belt, are cut, placed on top of the noodles and then on top of each other. The feeding speed of the sachet loader corresponds exactly to that of the chain that transports the noodles, thus preventing the sachets from slipping. The pusher is constructed in such a way that it is able to transport the sachets and the noodle nests gently to the packaging station.
The noodles are then packed by two HBM flowrapper pillow-pack machines producing a total of up to 640 heat-sealed, oriented polypropylene packs per minute. Nong Shim provides its own packaging film to which the equipment has been adapted, so that higher speeds and shorter sealing times can be achieved.
Nong Shim's output has doubled since installing the new system, and the effici.ency of the packaging line is 98.5 percent—a figure that is even higher than that guaranteed by Sigpack. The entire system has a small footprint and a slim line layout, saving space and providing ease of maintenance. Only three people are required to run the system, and their tasks are limited to monitoring, reel changes and minor maintenance work.
Nong Shim is extremely satisfied, not only with the results, it says, but also with the support Sigpack provided throughout the planning, construction and commissioning stages of the project.
More information is available:
Sigpack Systems AG, a Bosch Packaging Technology Co., 41(52) 674 7456. www.sigpacksystems.com.
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