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From Alpha to Omega, Sealchecker checking out fine for '05 launch.

Now being put through its final paces in test runs by major vegetable processing companies is a new machine designed to inspect the seams of flexible, gas-flushed bags of foodstuffs for leaks as they pass through factory production lines at speeds of up to 100 units per minute.

Built by Case Packing Systems (CPS), the Sealchecker Omega has been so named not because it is the last in a series. The name is derived from the flow configuration of packages passing through a vertical roundabout belt system which resembles the 24th letter of the Greek alphabet. On this belt moves a smaller synthetic joint belt that transports arriving bags into the Omega system, which features two measuring stations equipped with pressure conveyors to determine bag thickness.

The first measuring post is integrated in the horizontal bag feed-in conveyor, while the second is situated in the feed-out conveyor together with an air-blast system that rejects leaking bags. The measuring units have high-precision encoders placed outside the pressure circuit.

"Up until now there has been no automated equipment like this available," said Jan W. Egging, sales manager of the Stramproy, Holland-headquartered company. "It has been designed to check pre-packed salad products without the need to make time-consuming readjustments."

He further explained that the degree of pressure and time of pressure on the bags may vary depending on the weight of product inside, bag speed and length. The bags, which can range in length and width sizes from 100 x 100mm to 300 x 400mm, arrive from the first measuring station into the feed-in section of the Sealchecker Omega. Next, they enter an upper and lower belt system and move upward through a curved turning section. All the belts with bags between them run through an equalizing system which exerts minimal force. The downward slope bag transport section is equipped with identical components as is the upward going section.

After the prototype is thoroughly tested and fine-tuned early this year it will be introduced to the market. Producers of modified atmosphere packed products can't risk putting leaky bags into the food distribution pipeline, for consumer safety reasons. As such, the Sealchecker should be of interest to makers of fresh-cut vegetables and salads, as well as to packers of shredded cheese, potato crisps and other snack foods with short shelf lives. Automated case packing means that slow, manual visual inspection will no longer be required.

A lot of the technology that went into the Omega was developed by CPS on the basis of requirements and experiences with companies in the frozen food industry, some of which are now diversifying their assortments by offering chilled products packed under protective atmospheric conditions.

"There is growing demand for vertical packaging, as more retailers want it in order to better display both frozen and non-frozen food products to increase store sales," said Egging, an engineer by training who will soon retire after spending more than 30 years in the packaging machinery business.

Henri Veltmans, who joined CPS as marketing and export manager almost two years ago, is responsible for developing business in Europe and beyond. He has been actively building a network of sales agents to assist in tiffs ongoing endeavor.

"We expect the Sealchecker Omega to sell well among producers of pre-packaged fresh salads," said Veltmans. "At the same time, there is good demand within the frozen vegetable and french fry sector for our CP 201 Gravity Casepacker."

What's a BlueCube, anyway? Everfreeze Explains It All!

First there was the insulated box. Now there's the BlueCube[TM] Container from EverFreeze[R], said to be the first product marketed to ship frozen goods without hazardous dry ice or gel packs.

The BlueCube is a passive thermal shipping system, which means that no other agents are used to keep the products frozen. EverFreeze has a patent pending on the combination of materials, coatings and closures that keep products frozen for overnight shipping.

The container is designed for food processors to ship frozen samples to their retail and foodservice customers. It is the first in a family of containers that will be marketed by EverFreeze. In addition to the food industry, there are applications for the EverFreeze Container in pharmaceutical, animal husbandry, medical, metals and chemical markets.

What can it do?

The EverFreeze BlueCube Container has been tested at a major university packaging school and by two laboratories certified to the standards of the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA). Tests replicated the changing conditions of a typical summertime overnight shipment and the container has been tested in high heat and humidity conditions for periods well in excess of normal shipping times. Frozen protein products (breaded chicken and fish nuggets) and vegetables packed at -10[degrees] F stayed well below freezing in all tests. Frozen juice never rose above 22[degrees] F.

The combination of design features, coatings, materials and construction is still proprietary to EverFreeze researchers, but all the materials are proven products that have been used in other applications. There is nothing to inflate, no motors or chemicals, nothing more than a simple packing process in a commercial freezer that has fewer steps than the extra work and cost of dry ice and gel packs.

The inner container is shipped flat for easy handling and storage. The insulating materials and the shipping container are pre-assembled for quick packing and closure, For further information, contact the company at 678 Front St. NW, Suite 159, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, USA; telephone 1-866-863-9351; fax: 1-616-4519180.
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Title Annotation:Case Packing Systems (CPS); Sealchecker Omega
Comment:From Alpha to Omega, Sealchecker checking out fine for '05 launch.(Case Packing Systems (CPS))(Sealchecker Omega)
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
Words:914
Previous Article:FMC FoodTech out to eclipse conveyor rivals.
Next Article:Pleased with sales results in marketplace, CFS looks forward to opportunities in '05.
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