GEA has introduced its new thermoforming packaging machine, the GEA PowerPak PLUS, which it says guarantees greater process reliability and reduced resource consumption during the packaging of fresh products. The company will be showcasing the system on an international scale at IFFA in Frankfurt in May (Hall 8/Stand D06).

“Before developing the machine further, we undertook a customer survey. By doing so, we were able to incorporate our customers’ wishes to further improve process reliability and packaging quality as well as machine running times of our already proven thermoforming machines in the PowerPak product range,” says Volker Sassmannshausen, Product Manager Thermoforming.

“Based on their feedback, we chose to focus on film unwinding and feeding, hygiene and overall handling. Consequently, the sealing station and bottom film infeed of the PowerPak PLUS thermoformer were completely redesigned to facilitate process transparency and traceability – contributing to the greater sustainability of packaging processes in the food industry.

Optimised film handling reduces film consumption

The unwinding systems for both the top and bottom films have been optimised and are now motor-driven and synchronised with the machine’s advancing cycle. In combination with the innovative web tension system, they facilitate a controlled unwinding and a simplified and secure film path. Controlled unwinding in the bottom film infeed module prevents the bottom film from curling. Typical tolerances of the film reels like mis-alignment or curvature can be automatically adjusted.

As a result of the innovations in film unwinding and film run, the sealing station design has also been updated. The entire top film unwinding system is located in the area of the sealing station and easily accessed. In addition, the sealing station structure has also been fundamentally improved and is now protected by vertically adjustable and transparent safety doors, which can be lowered quickly and easily when required, eliminating the need for loose, protective hoods.

Other innovations in the sealing station include the motor-driven evacuation and gasification valves in combination with pressure sensors. They enable individual, reproducible as well as product- and packaging-dependent processes. In addition, under-, upper- and product vacuum are able to be controlled and monitored, ensuring the necessary process transparency.