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Filling, feeding system has yogurt yodeling

The Mastercup GHM 162 aseptically fi lls cups from 80 to 500 g with 100-plus different yogurt products, dispensing with moving seals.

One of Italy's largest and well-known yogurt producers, Milchhof Sterzing (or Latteria Vipiteno in Italian), located in Vipiteno/Sterzing, Italy, in the Alps south of Tyrolia, recently installed aseptic filling and cup-feeding systems for yogurt that have jump-started its productivity by 80 percent. When production bottlenecks began to occur, that prompted the company to think about expanding its fleet of packaging equipment. Recently, the dairy producer began using a new Mastercup system from Oystar Gasti (www.oystar.gasti.de). Oystar A+F (www.afautomation.com) also delivered a SetLine cup-feeding system as well as several end-of-line systems to complete the new line in Vipiteno/Sterzing. The result: Sterzing was able to greatly boost production, which better allows it to meet the growing demand for products under its Sterzinger brand, strengthening Sterzing's position in the Italian yogurt market. The new machinery came from the Gasti facility in Schwäbisch-Hall, Germany and the A+F plant in Kirchlengern, Germany.
More than 100 different products
Onstream in 2007, the Mastercup and Setline provide enough flexibility to accommodate roughly 100 different products within the Sterzinger line as well as about 40 other retail products, in cup sizes ranging from 80-g for airline foodservice to a 125-g size for retail products and a 500-g family-size cup. Sterzing's selection of the Mastercup GHM 162, a 16-pump aseptic cup filling/sealing model, was largely driven by the machine's reliability and sterility, based on what Sterzing calls “a comprehensive, hygienic concept.” Featuring a patented chain encapsulation, individual servo drives for each machine motion, package sterilization and product-flexible, maintenance-free aseptic filling units without moving seals, the system has a patented integral cup-leakage monitor.

Sterzing’s new yogurt cup-feeding/tray-packing system includes an array of stations that unitize cups transported directly from the new aspetic filler/sealer.

Easy to retool and clean without much interruption, the equipment has a filling and a foil lid-sealing station that handle the Sterzing's entire container line without the need to replace any package-specific parts. Changing from one cup size to another is quick and easy, PD was told, and can be done during cleaning to minimize downtime.

Able to fill up to 43,000 premade, 125-g PET cups or 35,000, 500-g family-size cups/hr, the Mastercup can dispense pudding, desserts, cream and other similar products.

One of six lines running in the Sterzing facility, the new line also includes all A+F end-of-line packaging equipment, from a tray/case erector to the palletizer, as well as the conveying equipment needed for line integration, PD is told.

Gasti and A+F are two of 17 Oystar manufacturing companies. The Gasti unit is located in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, and supplies food packagers worldwide with hygienic and aseptic packaging systems for liquid and pasty products for filling and sealing cups and tubs. A+F in Kirchlengern, has evolved into a sought-after specialist for designing and manufacturing secondary and end-of-line packaging systems and cartoners, film-wrapping machinery, palletizers, wraparound packers and case-forming, loading and closing systems.

Sophisticated operation 


Oyster A+F describes the comprehensive, SetLine system as a genuinely high-tech machine. Built with special-purpose grippers that work with most primary container configurations, the machine takes the filled, sealed yogurt cups and wraps two of them together before loading the wrapped units in a chosen pattern of trays or another type of secondary container. The modular, multistation machine is compact enough to fit into tight spaces. The PLC-equipped feeder unitizes single cups or sets of 2, 4, 6 and 8 cups into mulitpacks of various shapes and sizes, prior to packing them into shipping cases—a big reason why Sterzing favored it. The multifaceted feeder can also layer containers into stacks and inserts the yogurt cups into secondary trays or sleeves. A+F also supplied components needed for the packoff process, such as automatic format-flexible traymaking machines and palletizing systems.

All together, it's a most sophisticated operation, summarizes Milchhof Sterzing production manager Walter Wiser. “We considered it to be a great advantage that the entire line would be coming from the same group. In fact, it has helped us solve problems much faster.”


More information is available:
Oystar Gasti, 49 791 402 0. www.oystar.gasti.de.
Oystar A+F (A+F Automation USA), 732/536-8770. www.afautomation.com.
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