AZO at iba 2018
Until now, minor and micro components had to be weighed manually, thus entailing risks and potential errors. These grow with the number of components and batches, and with the required weighing and metering accuracy. This has an adverse effect on product safety and quality overall.
Manual operations may under certain circumstances require a large number of staff and demands a high degree of concentration from them during weighing processes. They are to some extent exposed to relatively high amounts of dust. Occasionally automatic dosing units are also employed, which meter the ingredients onto a weigh belt feeder. However these require substantial outlay for cleaning; neither can they prevent cross-contamination.
In order to resolve the problems described above, AZO is expanding its already extensive portfolio for automation of minor and micro quantities with the AZO COMPONENTER® Step. This system makes it possible to weigh minor and micro components automatically with gram accuracy, such as flavourings, baking agents, emulsifiers, colourings and other ingredients. It improves product safety while simultaneously boosting production efficiency by reducing individual manual production steps to a minimum.
Especially when it comes to sectors with stringent requirements for hygiene, batch purity and product separation, the AZO COMPONENTER® Step enables adherence to the strict regulations and requirements of specific branches.
Fully automated filling and transport within the plant result in high throughput rates while achieving considerable levels of accuracy. Tracking and tracing of all raw materials used guarantee maximum product safety. All process steps and weighing results are reproducible, which ensures consistent, strict adherence to recipes. Strict separation of batches prevents cross-contamination, e.g. between allergens and non-allergens. What is more, the AZO COMPONENTER® Step is extremely flexible when it comes to changing products over thanks to its modular design.
The system was especially designed to satisfy the high requirements for hygiene in the food industry. This is primarily achieved by having the products filled into receptacles and keeping exposure to dust to a minimum by using aspiration. The outlay for cleaning can be kept low by using storage and target containers for the specific product groups. If necessary, target containers can be provided with liners.
The system comprises two levels. The components are held ready in surge bins on the upper level. Prior to filling, the raw materials can be identified using the barcode and allocated to the correct hoppers. This keeps mix-ups of products to a minimum and ensures that raw materials can be traced back. The surge bins can be filled from sacks or big bags; pneumatic filling is also feasible.
The target containers are processed sequentially on the lower level below the metering points using a hydraulic carriage. There are separate scales provided for each component. Simultaneous weighing of components results in maximum time gain. Dosing screws combined with vibration bottoms underneath the surge bins ensure accurate metering of components being handled. A vibrating discharge chute can also be used for metering. Once all components are in the target container in accordance with the recipe, it is ejected at the end of the metering line and is ready for the next process.
The target containers are tracked using RFID technology and are thus monitored throughout the entire weighing and metering process. This means that the position, the weighed components and also the allocation of the target containers to a particular recipe are documented and are reproducible.
With the AZO COMPONENTER® Step, AZO is offering food producers a system that completely satisfies ever-stricter requirements regarding hygiene, batch tracing and product safety.