Krones pushes packaging technology
high-speed packing tray capable of running at up to 100 cycles per
minute and a new PET-Asept Filling System for cold aseptic filling
of high- and low-acid products in plastic containers.
Both products are to be unveiled at this year's Pack Expo International 2004 in Chicago USA, which runs 7 to 11 November 2004.
The new high-speed packing tray, called the Variopac 100 high-speed packing system, is a fully automated all in one packaging system that can pack a variety of containers into trays and onto pads before film-shrinking the package. The machine can handle a broad range of container sizes and materials, which offers processors rapid changeover capability.
In addition, the redesigned film cutting and over-wrapping module, provides a continuous motion tray-blank separation unit, and a shorter pitch between products. This allows the Variopac to run at up to 100 cycles per minute.
Krones claims that the Variopac 100 can handle as many as three multi-pack configurations simultaneously, for a maximum output of 300 cycles per minute. The Variopac 100 high-speed packer utilises servo drive technology for easy changeover.
"The Variopac 100 high-speed packer has a terrific new ergonomic design" said a company spokesperson. "We've reduced the frame interference, as well as modified the product flow through the machine, allowing easier access from the operator side. And we have moved the drive train to the non-operator side of the machine.
"This provides increased operator convenience and safety when it becomes necessary for the operator to reach inside the machine."
Krones is also launching a PET-Asept Filling System for cold aseptic filling of high- and low-acid products in plastic containers. The new system features Isolator technology, which creates an air-tight sealed tunnel system that surrounds only the bottle path.
The new technology was developed to ensure microbiological safety while providing simplified handling for the users. An Isolator is used instead of a conventional cleanroom, which Krones claims minimises the size and cost of the system.
The PET-Asept System includes a steriliser, rinser, filler, and capper in a BLOC configuration, all connected by neck-handling starwheels. A sterile atmosphere is maintained in the Isolator via HEPA filters, which remove the germs from the intake air.
The steriliser injector is a two-channel electro-pneumatically controlled cleaning machine, which sterilises bottles with disinfectant combined with steam. Connected to the injector, the electro-pneumatically controlled two-channel rinser rinses bottles with sterile air and sterile water.
The Krones VO-DM is an electro-pneumatically controlled volumetric pressureless filler with an inductive flow meter determining the fill volume. This filler provides contact free filling - the mouth of the container does not make contact with the filler valve so it cannot transfer contaminants. Prior to the capper, the caps are disinfected in an immersion bath and then rinsed with sterile water and sterile air.
Such technological breakthroughs have kept the German-based firm at the cutting edge of Europe's packaging and bottling industry. Earlier this year, the group reported increased order bookings, sales revenues and profits for the first quarter of 2004 despite gloomy prognoses for the German economy.
The group believes it has achieved economic stability through pushing forward new technology and diversifying its operations. Three recent large orders - one from the American brewing group Anheuser Busch, one from Danone for bottling Evian water, and one from Beer Thai in Thailand (one of the biggest orders in Krones' history) - exemplify a perceptible uptrend.
Krones has maintained its market position through keeping track of the trends that are shaping the food production sector. For example, with food manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic obliged by law to keep detailed records of the supply chain, Syskron, the IT subsidiary within the Krones group, has developed a range of software products to help manufacturers achieve traceability.
The Krones Group, headquartered in Neutraubling/Upper Palatinate, plans, develops and manufactures machines and complete lines for bottling, canning and packaging operations in the beverage, food, chemical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. It has plants in Neutraubling, Nittenau, Flensburg, Freising and Rosenheim.
Besides Krones, the group comprises the production subsidiaries Steinecker (brewing technology), Sander Hansen (pasteurisers), Syskron (process automation) and Kosme (machines for the lower speed range) plus more than 40 companies abroad. The group's turnover was €1.4 billion in 2003.