March 22, 2021

Piab CheeseSlices400x275Through the use of suction cups and vacuum generators, Piab and CAMA Group have created a new packaging system that can handle and package 280 pouches of cheese slices per minute. The system allows for the automatic handling of pouches of different formats at high process speeds.

In a complete line for the packaging of cheese slice pouches, CAMA installed grippers made of plastic material using Piab’s piGRIP suction cups together with COAX vacuum generators, a high-efficiency vacuum ejector. The process can manage 10 product formats and about 15 box formats, with many possible combinations, leading up to more than 100 formats in total. Weights of up to 1 kg can be compiled with the system.

The companies said the first requirement was to minimize the replacement of the grippers resulting from format changes. CAMA Group said it developed two types of grippers, which can now handle all formats of cheese slices – one with two and one with three gripping units. Each unit includes four suction cups and four vacuum generators and grips one pouch of cheese slices at a time.

The system also needed to ensure high speed without damaging the flow packs, which would result in the possible creation of undesired wrinkles on the product.

Piab piGRIP closeup“We were looking for FDA-compliant suction cups  – which not all suppliers are able to deliver – that would allow us to handle different formats at high process speeds, without damaging the products,” said Massimo Monguzzi, the R&D manager at CAMA. “Before choosing Piab’s vacuum generators, we also tested some types of vacuum blowers. This technology failed because vacuum blowers have a response time that is too long, difficult in regulating vacuum, and finally can lead to damage to the products, with consequent high production waste.”

Monguzzi said they focused on Piab’s COAX technology, which allows the vacuum generator to be installed close to the gripping point. They opted for the use of four suction cups and deployed the piGRIP, with a diameter of 34 mm at every location of the gripper. “The reason is that this solution offers a solid grip, but leaves no marks on the pouches, and hence turned out to be the optimal solution for our process,” said Monguzzi.

More details are available via Piab’s website. You can also contact the company for more information here.