Smart packaging

GEA claims ‘vertical excellence’ with upgraded SmartPacker TwinTube for grab-and-go snack packs

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

GEA’s updated SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine is suitable for packaging small-sized products such as snack bars, dried fruits and nuts, along with on-the-go snacks in pillow bags of different sizes.
GEA’s updated SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine is suitable for packaging small-sized products such as snack bars, dried fruits and nuts, along with on-the-go snacks in pillow bags of different sizes.

Related tags: Gea, Snacks, Packaging & labelling

The entire machine has been redesigned as a future-proof modular system with increased functional efficiency, promoting higher operational uptime and ease of use, while reducing operational costs and energy use, thanks to sealing technology advances.

The updated SmartPacker TwinTube vertical packaging machine – launched onto the UK market – is suitable for packaging small-sized products such as snack bars, dried fruits and nuts, along with on-the-go snacks in pillow bags of different sizes.

The TwinTube is a continuous motion vertical machine that fits neatly into a complete packaging process with upstream and downstream equipment operating in a dry manufacturing facility.

Plastic as well as functional paper can be used for bag production.

It operates with two parallel forming tubes, achieving combined speeds of up to 500 bags per minute (weighing between 10g-18g each). It is also possible to run a different film reel for each tube, meaning calorie packs of different widths or designs can be simultaneously filled.

Modular construction

GEA 18a-gea-smartpacker-twintube

A new feature is the Jumbo Roll, which allows film reels of up to 100 kg to be used for long production runs, which boosts operational efficiency.

Its modular construction also allows customers to upgrade the equipment with new options, thus prolonging the life span of the system.

Additionally, the new model boasts increased operator friendliness by introducing toolless adjustment features that helps achieve shorter change-over times and proven error free setup of the machine.

“This includes printers, labellers and the vertical sealing unit,”​ said Martijn van de Mortel, product manager, Vertical Packaging at GEA.

“With these new updates, GEA can meet customer demands in terms of automated process control, less operator dependence, more uptime and operational efficiency.”

Automatic correction

The SmartPacker TwinTube is equipped with automated web tracking. This means that if the film deviates from its path – due to variances in the film roll, for instance – the feature will automatically correct the direction of the film, without the need for manual adjustment.

This ultimately safeguards the quality of the resulting bags, whilst saving on downtime. 

It also features a jaw closing mechanism that offers over three times the sealing force of the previous model, as well as an optimised heating unit and a vertical rotational seal unit.

The jaw closing mechanism can apply 6000N, giving producers the opportunity to use thicker films, or films with more diverse characteristics in terms of sealing requirements.

A more stable suspension of the longitudinal seam unit and the reproducible and precise positioning by spindle and ruler also means shorter changeover times when switching formats or foils.

“With this development, producers will be able to work with more challenging films and thus be able to give retailers and consumers what they are looking for in terms of bag quality, with an even wider range of film materials,”​ added Van de Mortel.

An optional feature is a new, fully integrated GEA TiroLabel unit, which makes the machine even more compact on the factory floor.

The dedicated unit delivers a speed of up to 180 labels per minute at a width of 150mm.

Full access and easy maintenance are made possible via the machine’s hinged front-plate that opens fully.

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