M.H. Material Handling, technologies on show at Cibus Tec

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MH has chosen to present at the upcoming Cibus Tec the product line that has absorbed most of the research and development effort in recent times.

The month of October 2023 marks the return of Cibus Tec after the pandemic, an event that over the years has carved out an important space for itself within the sector’s trade fairs, and which will represent MH’s first participation. The choice of machinery to present fell on the product line which in recent times has absorbed most of the effort in terms of research and development.

The main need of the food and packaging market, in recent years, is to respond to the increasingly stringent needs in terms of food safety and reduction of environmental impact, two issues that often do not go exactly hand in hand and which have required a lot creativity in the development of new types of food packaging. In this sense, it is interesting to focus particularly on markets where things become complicated, such as the fresh products sector.

The need to put a fresh and not frozen product on the shelf, which therefore should be packaged in modified atmosphere, clashes with the fact that the packaging materials suitable for this type of packaging cannot be biodegradable or compostable (at least at present), while some compromises can be achieved with vacuum. Whether you choose compostable materials or stick to plastic, as long as it is recyclable, with the push for maximum reduction in the quantity of material used, the result from the point of view of the manufacturer of processing or packaging machines is the same: you will find yourself having to handle more delicate, fragile or at least very deformable products.

Although the results are extremely brilliant, both from the point of view of reducing the quantity of packaging material in an absolute sense, and with regard to the type of materials used and their disposal; the direct consequence, however, is that the new packages are extremely challenging from the point of view of management on conveyors and machines. The first sore point concerns the performance of existing machines: lighter and thinner materials or with different characteristics may require a lowering of the line speed, provided that the machine has this flexibility.

The worst case scenario is of course that the machine has to be completely replaced. The second problem, which has greater impact for those like M.H. Material Handling makes conveyor belts, the possibility of product accumulation is reduced or even disappears. In light of this consideration, it is necessary to exploit different technologies that still allow certain product manipulations to be carried out while maintaining an uninterrupted workflow, avoiding accumulations and engaging the packages in such a way as to preserve their integrity.

SANI-FLEX Conveyor system   

In terms of food safety we have chosen to develop a completely new transport system. SANI-FLEX is our new standard for bare product applications, specifically designed to meet the most demanding guidelines and clearly inspired by USDA and 3-A. In addition to the obvious use of materials certified for direct contact with food, the designers concentrated on designing a structure that was as open and light as possible: the components have no cavities, all the threads are covered, the fastening elements and spacers are all equipped with gaskets. The system is also designed for simplified disassembly, without the need to use tools, in order to simplify and speed up washing and sanitizing activities as much as possible, reducing the consumption of water and detergent chemicals.

Intralox Sorter – AIM          

The new packages, increasingly lighter and thinner, require new methods to handle, unify and sort them, all operations that may be frequently required in automatic lines. The Intralox Active Integrated Motion™ (AIM™) system allows you to create sorters, 1 in 2 switches and 2 in 1 and 3 in 1 unifiers, with an innovative technology that moves the products by engaging them from the bottom and therefore allowing you to manage even very thin packages which with traditional devices would be subject to risks of jamming. AIM allows you to replace traditional plate systems, which are mechanically very complex and not ideal from the point of view of cleaning and sanitization, with a technology that requires fewer components, in the total absence of lubrication and with much more open and accessible structures, using in at the same time materials compatible with direct contact with food.

Ambaflex SVn Lightweight Spiral – Bare 

Although freeing up space in the factory is certainly not a new issue and directly connected with environmental sustainability trends, the need to create operator passages and open passage paths to bring packaging materials to the machines more easily, while at the same time increasing the ergonomics of the line and improving the passive safety of the plant is a form of sustainability that many take for granted these days, but which always requires careful planning of the layout of the lines. Attention to the well-being of line operators pushed us to look for a solution for lifting and lowering products leaving primary packaging. Thanks to the collaboration with Ambaflex we can now offer the light SVn-Bare spiral: it is a fixed pitch spiral with chain widths of 100 or 140 mm, particularly suitable for creating the type of passages and openings we have talked about, keeping the investment at extremely competitive levels. The agreement reached with the well-known Dutch company allows us to apply customizations on lateral guides, head passages and motorization; In this way we hope to make layout solutions that were available to a few rich companies economically accessible even to smaller companies with lower spending capacity, without giving up quality products and high operational capabilities.

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