Food Equipment Suppliers Bring Their Best to PACK EXPO

Compact processing systems for baked snacks, sorters for nuts and dried fruits, and an innovative levitating material handling system are some of the highlights editors found at PACK EXPO Las Vegas and featured on this Take Five with ProFood World video.

Quick hits:

  • PPM Technologies showcased two compact units geared toward the snack sector—a plug-and-play rotary fryer that outputs 100-500 kg/hr and its FlavorWright seasoning and flavoring system that is easy to clean and maintain.
  • The Tomra 5C is a state-of-the-art sorting system for nuts and dried fruits that combines sensors with machine learning and big data analysis.
  • The XPlanar material handling system from Beckhoff Automation uses levitating movers for free 2D movement.

Related to this episode:

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Read article   Read the transcript below:

Aaron Hand: Hi, I’m Aaron Hand, editor-in-chief of ProFood World. Welcome to Take 5 with ProFood World.

There were so many interesting things going on at PACK EXPO Las Vegas this year, I wanted to take one more opportunity to highlight some of the content from the show. Our editors were out in droves, visiting with industry suppliers, kicking the tires, and taking videos of their newest equipment. Today is just a very small sampling of those interactions.

I’ll start with a couple videos from Lilián Robayo, editor of Mundo PMMI, who visited with Neil Anderson at PPM Technologies, learning about their compact systems geared toward the baked snack industry. After that, contributing editor Melissa Griffen checks in with Parker Fales at Tomra to hear about their latest sorting system for nuts and dried fruits.

Neil Anderson: This fryer is very unique, it’s very compact, it has a rotary mechanism that will push the product through the oil. The oil is heated from a gas burner which is fitted to the side of the machine. And you can cook up to 500 kg of product in this fryer. It’s extremely compact, it has a very small footprint, and is ideal for extruded snacks or puffed snacks. A cook time of between 10 seconds and 45 seconds is ideal, and the unit is at a very cost-effective price.

This unit is our FlavorWright system. It is a compact seasoning unit ideal for a variety of foods—predominantly snack foods or baked snacks. It has an oil application and a dry powder application. It is completely self-automated. It has an in-feed conveyor, it has an oil spray applicator, and it has a seasoning applicator. Everything is compactly designed into this one unit. It’s a modular design, so everything is capable of easy cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance.

Parker Fales: One of the big things that we’ve focused on with this machine is easy sanitation for all of our customers. With gull-wing doors on both sides of the unit, you’re able to easily access the machine and clean out any product during sanitation or cleaning cycles.

So without any further ado, we’ll run some product… This product stream here, you can see, is the reject. So this is where any foreign material—shell, hull, apricot pits, peach pits—will come out from the main product stream.

OK, so what we can see here is a very clean reject stream with a lot of defects and very little good products. If we look at the good product stream, the primary goal is always to have a very clean accept stream with no defects.

Aaron Hand: Our final video comes from David Greenfield, editor-in-chief of Automation World, who spoke with Jeff Johnson about Beckhoff Automation’s XPlanar material handling system. It uses levitating movers and is well suited to food and beverage manufacturing.

Jeff Johnson: This is our XPlanar. It’s a new product for us. We’ve been doing beta-type applications for a little over three years. We released it to production at the beginning of this year. It’s based on magnetic levitation, so in the movers themselves we have a permanent magnet array; it’s a passive mover. Inside the bumper, we have an ID. So on power-up, we’ll read the position of the movers and we can also uniquely identify one, so we have a complete track and trace, even through a power cycle. So when we power up, we know where the movers are. When we power down, if someone moves a mover, we can detect that it’s out of position and move it back into position and resume production. 

In the tiles themselves—the second part is the tiles. They’re 240 mm square and there’s all the electronics for generating the magnetic fields. What that allows us to do is we can raise the mover 0-5 mm above the surface, we can move in X and Y up to 2 m/s with a 1 G acceleration, we can tilt in X and Y so now that gives us anti-sloshing capabilities as we’re transporting open liquids. We can also rotate the mover ±5 degrees as we’re moving in the X/Y direction. And then when we get to a fixed location like we do over at this station here, we can rotate continuously 360 degrees, up to 600 RPMs. When you do leave that 360-degree rotation, you do have to be one of the 90-degree increments, but they can come in, index 90 degrees, and drive out to the next station.

One of the big benefits we’re seeing with the XPlanar now is it gives us this free 2D movement. Contactless design, so since the movers are levitating, there’s no mechanics to wear. And from a hygienic standpoint, we can cover the tile surface. Here, we’ve got a vinyl overlay, or you could put a 0.5 mm thick sheet of stainless over it. And we also have stainless movers, so then you’ve got a completely hygienic system.

Aaron Hand: Thank you for joining us today. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to narrow down the choices of equipment I showed you here today. What I can tell you is that if you go to, you can find a huge number of videos and articles about the developments that came out of this year’s show.

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