Automation in sausage production offers enormous advantages
The hanging lines of Poly-clip System GmbH & Co. KG allow a safe and continuous production for automatic hanging of products in sausage form. Regardless of volume, product dimensions or weight, the company headquartered in Hattersheim, Germany, provides the suitable hanging machinery.
For large production volumes with medium or long and heavy product dimensions, two automatic hanging machines are available (FCHL and FCHL-LS). Both machine types can be further automated with an automatic sausage loader the ASL-R. Depending on the caliber size or the required clip size for the closure at the sausage ends, the FCA 120 or the FCA 160 clipping machine can be combined with the hanging line. The high degree of automation of the FCA 120/160 enables continuous process monitoring; clip pressure and separator hole can be set automatically via a servo motor. Setting errors are avoided by detecting clip size, punch and die. R-ID clips produce a high closure force, and a vertical linear separator ensures that the sausage tails on portions are free of sausage meat. The clip and loop reels are monitored at the machine. To ensure a maximum of machine reliability and service life, the FCHL and FCHL-LS hanging lines are equipped with automatic central lubrication.
Automatic hanging also suitable for smaller product dimensions
For small and medium production volumes and product dimensions, the FCHM has been added to the range of automatic hanging lines. The FCHM is coupled with the FCA 100 clipping machine. This combination enables automated hanging on smoke sticks. Depending on requirements, the clipping machine can be uncoupled from the hanging line and products can be produced on the FCA 100 in stand-alone operation. This offers the customers a maximum of flexibility to produce with or without hanging and loops. On the FCA 100, the clip pressure is set via a handwheel. The adjustments at the separator hole are servo motorized. For maximum reliability and service life, the FCA 100 is equipped with automatic central lubrication.
Optimized automated processes for a reduced workload
The individual work steps of the FCHL-LS, FCHL and FCHM hanging machines are similar – the products are separated, spreaded and clipped at a filling level of 100%, including simultaneous loop setting. The loops are automatically guided and placed on the smoke sticks in a precise position. This means that several processes are handled by just one hanging line. In addition to the classic sausage products, such as raw or cooked sausages, processed cheeses or soups could also be processed on the automatic hanging lines. Depending on the application, the products are filled into fibrous, collagen or plastic casings.
Automation solutions for sausage-shaped products have the advantage of increasing throughput per work shift and relieving employees of heavy physical labor. As a result, this leads to savings in labor costs while maintaining product quality, a reduction in product waste, a safe and efficient material flow, and an improvement of the production process.
For the production and hanging of ring sausages or half ring sausages, Poly-clip System couples a Handtmann PCH hanging unit with an FCA 100 clipping machine, where the smoke stick is fed and removed manually. The FCA 100 + PCH hanging line needs to be supplied with product by using a Handtmann HVF 620 -634 or HVF 800 -848 vacuum filler.
On a line FCA 100 + PCH the products can be processed in fibrous, collagen, or plastic casings. Rings are produced as single products, half rings as a chain with double portions. After the filling and the clipping process at the FCA 100, the products are transferred to the PCH hanging unit. Via a hook chain, the products are transported to a manual removal position. A smoke stick is then fed by the machine operator and the products are removed from the hanging unit grouped along the length of the smoke sticks.
Standardized control management ensures safety
As a series machine manufacturer, Poly-clip uses the same machine control management system (Beckhoff control) for all new machine generations. Operator set-up and service levels are clearly separated and protected via passwords. The new machine management control system provides faster guidance through the individual menu levels and enables higher safety standards on the machines. As an example, all machines on the hanging lines are equipped with an outside safety brake as a standard safety measure for the protection of the machine operators. Machine operation without the safety brake is not possible. The operating manual is stored in the machine control system and can be directly accessed through the touch screen if necessary. All programs can be saved on a recipe management system as part of the machine control system. The recipes can also be saved via USB port on a storage medium (e.g., for data backup). The new control system also offers numerous advantages in terms of maintenance. For example, frequency converters no longer have to be preprogrammed. Replacement takes place directly on the machine. The unprogrammed frequency inverters are installed in the control cabinet and automatically configured via the control system on the machine.
Global customer support through optional remote access
To support customers worldwide from the headquarter in Germany, an optional remote maintenance module is offered for the fully automatic FCHL and FCHL-LS hanging lines. The module is built into the control cabinet of the machine. In order to communicate with the control system, a connection must be provided in the production room of the machine. Via a VPN connection, Poly-clip service is able to dial directly into the control system to support customers independently from their location. The hanging lines can also be connected to a master computer to collect production data. Therefore, Poly-clip System offers an Ethernet interface, which is defined according to WS-Food standard (Weihenstephan standard, according to Industry 4.0). The computer with an Ethernet interface (TCP /IP) can be connected to the machine (RJ-45 connector on the control unit) to control the product settings remotely. To gain a connection to the customers' network, the Ethernet address needs only to be paired with a port number. Combined with the automatic smoke trolley loading system ASL-R, the integrated FCHL or FCHL-LS hanging line offers full access to all product data via one touch screen. After a product is selected, all data is automatically communicated to the robot. With an active Intelligent Filler Connection (IFC-Interface), the synchronization also takes place in conjunction with a Handtmann VF800 series vacuum filler. As a result, all data is synchronized consistently throughout all parts of the line.
Lars Scheerer has been with Poly-clip System GmbH & Co. KG since 2012. Currently, the mechanical engineer works as a Project Manager responsible for "Viscopac and Automation".
Published in „Fleischwirtschaft International“, Edition 3/2022
Poly-clip System GmbH & Co. KG
65795 Hattersheim a. M.