Directionless finishing plays a crucial role in the food industry, particularly for companies involved in manufacturing machinery for food processing. It is imperative to ensure that machinery parts are perfectly flat and completely deburred and that surface roughness is eliminated. This meticulous attention to detail is essential in preventing any contamination or residue from compromising the quality and safety of food products. Timesavers rotary brush machines offer an invaluable solution for the food processing industry. These machines utilise brush technology to achieve the required directionless finishing, resulting in smooth and sanitary surfaces on machinery parts.
About GEA: GEA Food Solutions is one of the world’s largest systems suppliers for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors. Their portfolio includes machinery and plants as well as advanced process technology, components, and comprehensive services. Used across diverse industries, they enhance the sustainability and efficiency of production processes globally. The company employs over 18000 people and is located in 62 countries. At the Technology Centre in Weert, it is clear that high-speed packaging is no mean feat. But whether it is packaging chicken, nuts, lettuce, sweets, chips or lollipops; GEA offers a solution.
Achieving precision and hygiene in packaging machines
The world of packaging machine manufacturing is a realm of cutting-edge technology and precision. Allard van Haaften, overseeing supply chain & operations at GEA Food Solutions, watches intently as a technician fine-tunes a lollipop packaging machine. Van Haaften says:
“We are in the test phase and only have a fraction of the capacity. Nevertheless, the lollipop packaging machine shoots packed lollipops into a collection tray. And the machine is able to do it faster. We do between 800 and 1400 lollipops per minute. This number depends a little on the shape and size of the lollipops.”
Timesavers simply make directionless finish easy
So, how do they craft these remarkable machines in Weert?
The process begins with stainless steel sheet metal, which is meticulously handled through a laser cutting machine. After the sheets go through the laser cutting machines, they are further processed in a Timesavers 32 RB series. Van Haaften explains:
“The machines we make are largely made of stainless steel and anodised aluminium because they have to be easy to clean. You don’t want to find any residue from a machine in a food product. Parts have to be perfectly flat, completely deburred.”
In selecting the Timesavers 32 RB series, GEA Food Solutions exercised careful deliberation. This compact dry wide belt grinder excels at deburring, edge rounding, finishing, and laser oxide removal. Van Haaften emphasizes,
“We mainly looked for a machine that would allow us to finish as smoothly as possible,” says Van Haaften. “Products come out of the laser cutter, are tapped – when necessary – and are finished in the Timesavers machine. The finished products go through the belt onto the return table. The return table is proving to be very valuable because it allows us to ensure that the machine is employable by many people working around the machine. Further down the assembly line, the machines are assembled into full-fledged food packaging devices.”
Van Haaften underscores the significance of directionless finishing.
“A machine that you don’t finish directionless simply does not look nice. If you finish the sheet metal directionless, it doesn’t matter how you put the sheets in the Timesaver. Moreover, you do not want deep surface scratches because then the plate gets dirty faster and is harder to clean. This is a no-go if you work with food products.”
Impressive results after one year of operation
The Timesavers 32 RB series has been operational at GEA Food Solutions for a year now, and the results are impressive. Van Haaften continuous:
“Within a week, everyone was able to operate the machine flawlessly. Together with Timesavers, we examined how we could replace the existing machine with one that could both finish directionless and process very small parts. The promise was then made that we could finish a euro in terms of size. This was proved possible without any problems. We then went to the factory with lasered parts and did tests: how fast does the machine go, what grain size should we choose? This way, with Timesavers’ help, we chose the machine that suited us best.”
The expertise of Timesavers came to the forefront, particularly in brush selection and brush pressure. While GEA Food Solutions excels in packaging machines, deburring was uncharted territory. Van Haaften explains:
“We make a lot of single-piece operations and there is therefore a lot of variation. For us, the question was whether we could nevertheless use the same settings as much as possible. The sheets we process are generally between 1 mm and 3 mm thick. Sometimes we have pieces of 5 millimetres. We normally only use brushes for finishing and very occasionally a pre-grinding belt. You only need the pre-grinding belt if you need to remove a large burr. But rather not, because a grinding belt leaves marks anyway. And for us there is no debate: we want directionless.”
Do you manufacture machines for the food industry and want a directionless finish?
Contact our Timesavers experts today to learn more about our capabilities and how Headland Technology can benefit your business in the food supply sector.