Mince firm uses its loaf

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Finnish meat company Snellman has increased its minced meat packaging output by 32.5% with the help of a new packaging line.

The Ishida-devised line includes tray supply, a portion-to-pack system, traysealing, labelling, pack and label inspection and robotic placing of the packs into crates. The finished minced meat is formed into a continuous 'loaf', which is fed onto backing paper and guillotined into portions. Each one passes over a checkweigher and, when it reaches the end of the belt, is carried by its own impetus into a tray which arrives on a belt just underneath.

Electronic signalling and a tray pause-and-release mechanism ensure correct timing, while a novel vacuum system under the conveyor belt holds the light plastic trays in place, which contributes significantly to the high speed of the line.

A diverger splits the tray stream into two and the twin streams pass into an Ishida QX-1100 Traysealer.

After sealing under modified atmosphere, the trays are converged into one stream and top-labelled before inspection.

The new line has reduced manpower from five to two and crate packing is now done by an automatic pick-and-place system.

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