When it comes to packaging meat and sausage products, food manufacturers are increasingly opting for smaller self-service packaging, thus adapting to the growing number of single households. Due to demographic change, statistics show that around 60% of households in Germany alone are occupied by one person and the trend is on the increase.
However, smaller packaging units also mean a shift in a proportion of the production costs. The packaging is becoming more expensive than the product inside it.
For the packaging area this means that defective packaging must be avoided at all costs. If a larger number of defective packaging is found in one delivery, in certain circumstances the retailer may return the entire consignment.
Seen from this perspective and in view of the need for performance data, these days automated packaging without quality control of the goods is no longer an option. ITEC has recognised this problem and has made it possible to check the goods with an optical control system before they are packed.
Before the sausage products are labelled, their dimensions are checked to separate out any that may be underweight. The same thing happens with soiled or damaged casing in the visible area of the camera. These products don’t make it to the labelling machine. This already eliminates a proportion of potentially defective packaging.
Once the products have successfully passed through the first quality control test, they are conveyed to the labelling section. After this has been done, it is important to detect products with no label or a label that isn’t attached correctly or one which has no best-before date printed on it. If at least one of the aforementioned defective features is detected, the product is removed from the process, thereby avoiding defective packaging.
The products deemed to be good are then gathered and placed in the waiting open packaging on a deep-drawing machine using a robot and a specially developed vacuum gripper.
Thanks to the integration of optical quality control in the labelling and packaging process, a high incidence of defective packaging can be precluded.
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