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High-tech for the High Care sector

Date: 12.11.2020Source: Optima Consumer

Optima Consumer has developed a solution concept for the fully automated evacuation, gassing and seaming of infant formula containers. OPTIMA EGS is the innovative machine concept that makes processes safer and more efficient. This newly-developed system is the result of extensive market research, and takes into account the growing demand for reliable manufacturing and product quality in the infant formula industry.

Sensitive products like infant formula demand completely safe manufacturing processes. Optima Consumer responded to increased awareness about product safety by conducting extensive product-based market research. These demands by the market were translated into a new machine concept, the OPTIMA EGS, a machine designed for the fully automatic evacuation, gassing and seaming of infant formula products.

Says Christoph Held, Managing Director of OPTIMA consumer GmbH: “The OPTIMA FS filling machine and the OPTIMA EGS enable us to supply the centrepiece of infant formula production lines from a single source. The OPTIMA EGS is our response to today’s market demands.”

When developing it, the company focused on maximum production reliability, resulting in high product quality and the conservation of resources. The first OPTIMA EGS was put into operation in mid-2019 at the Mittelelbe dairy plant, also known as Elb-Milch.

Added Uwe Bedau, Managing Director of Elb-Milch: “The OPTIMA EGS is a perfectly adapted system that combines high operating speeds and maximum safety and quality levels.”

As well as the machine’s small footprint, users also benefit from the clear traceability of all the containers. With the OPTIMA EGS, it is possible to assign important production data to each container in a clear and traceable way via the processing procedures. This also includes documentation of all process parameters, for instance the negative pressure stages for meeting the residual oxygen values which are required for each individual can at every step in the process. This is possible because each can is evacuated, gassed and seamed individually.

Production data can be stored using the line management system developed by Optima, and critical key figures are clearly displayed. It also means that entire production lines can be networked with machines made by different manufacturers, so optimising overall equipment effectiveness in a targeted way. When they are used in combination with software tools, for example for predictive maintenance to increase machine availability, Optima Smart Services make production processes even more reliable and efficient.

In the past, foreign bodies found in the product have resulted in recall measures being taken, so protecting unsealed cans is vital. This need is met by the patented function lid. The cans are not transported open once the product has been added. They are closed with a function lid during evacuation and gassing. This eliminates the need for the laborious additional function of clinching, so reducing the risk of imploding cans.

Challenging products, some of which contain new ingredients, demand increased product protection. The aim is to achieve reduced residual oxygen levels. This need has been met by an evacuation process which has been specially developed for infant formula. The product is “brought to the boil” in the process via different pressure stages without the need for valves and the oxygen contained in the product is released. Depending on the product, a residual oxygen content of 0.5 percent is achieved with an output of up to 250 cans per minute. For more visit optima-packaging.com/infant-formula-en

David Cox / IDM

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