Media and Press Coverage

De-Aeration

One of the downfalls of other systems is their inability to easily change from one product to another and back again. Trials showed that it is necessary to alter the method and amount of deairation as the product various, if the filled bag weigh alters and for each type of product. The Innopak system uses simple PLC control, via an operator interface. Up to 10 different ‘recipes’ or sequences can be stored and recalled (by product name/weight etc) to offer quick adjustment and changeover.

The Theory:
A more efficient method of deairation was also required. Vibration as is traditionally used is slow, inefficient, noisy, often unreliable. Traditional methods have been also known to cause bags to fall over, bases to compact down, resulting in spillage, product loss, production loss, reduced bag volume and the associated operator frustration.
The Innopak system successfully overcame all of these issues.

A Solution:
The solution had to have a number of key attributes, among these:
• Retrofittable into the existing line.
• Exceptional reliability.
• Time to fit to be a minimum to minimise production disruption.
• Easy to change between products i.e. operator friendly.
• Cost effective.

The modular device designed could be set up and totally tested prior to going to site. This approach meant it was easy and quick to install.
An operator interface (MMI) was provided in which recipes for each product (by product name to save confusion) could be stored and readily recalled.
The system installed is user friendly and was readily embraced and understood by plant operators / maintenance and management personal.


The Results:
The goals were met and exceeded.
• Product quality has been maintained or improved.
• Product quality has not been sacrificed as a result of the increased deairation.
• Only minor annual maintenance has been required over the past two years of operation.

Fine tuning and learning is constantly taking place.
The ease of use allows the line manager to ‘experiment’ with different settings to further optimise the process.

Air entrapment has been dramatically reduced.
This has been so dramatic that bags of powder can be made ‘too compact’ resulting in difficulty in making the bag flat enough for palletising. i.e. the powder forms a small ‘bulb’ in the bottom of the bag! Per above, some experimentation in ’balancing the system’ to get the desired optimum is usually required and easily done. Part of this is often improvements to bag flattening devices prior to the palletiser. Until everything is balanced and set up optimally, at times the Innopak device is slightly ‘detuned’ from its optimum to allow some air to remain in the bag aiding the existing flattening devices.

Method of Operation.
The device is essentially a bag base vibrator housed beneath the conveyor belt, directly under the neck stretcher. The sequence is initiated once the neck stretcher ‘arms’ stretch the bag top. Once stretched, the neck stretcher sequence is effectively ‘stalled out’ while the vibration takes place. This does not effect the line output. It does however ‘hold’ the bag top upright and stops it from collapsing. Eliminating these two problems overcomes a number of issues encountered on previous attempts to remove more air.
The Innopak system differs from all previous systems in that the vibration cycle utilises multiple frequencies, at times simultaneously, and at others individually. The exact sequence is a function of the powder and bag weight.
When the desired amount of deairation (vibration) has been achieved, the vibration shuts off and the neck stretcher cycle continues as per normal.

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