Düsseldorf’s giant exhibition halls swallowed up more than 179,000 visitors over the seven days of Interpack, a monster, triennial processes and packaging bash. More than 2,700 exhibitors, including packaging and processing equipment manufacturers, used the event to launch their very latest models, boasting improved efficiency and sophisticated technology. Both traditional and "eco-friendly" packaging manufacturers also used Interpack as a springboard for their launches.

Unifiller launched its latest product, the Pro 2000. Designed to work over conveyors, the model can pick portions of cake mix of up to two litres. A Unifiller spokesman says it offers a great amount of flexibility and simplicity in a cake production depositor.

The Pro 2000 features a height-adjustable mobile frame and an XL PC depositing nozzle. Deposit range is from 59ml to 2,000ml and up to 60 deposits per minute depending on the product cylinder. The depositor has the flexibility to cope with hard ingredients of up to one-inch square.

A common theme among the launches was improved efficiency and ease of use. Baker Perkins, which makes the machines for basic confectionery, cereals and snack products, was showing off its latest launch, the twin-screw extruder SBX Master 65. Marketing manager Keith Graham explains the equipment, used to make snacks, eliminates the need for frying "and you can use a much smaller quantity of oil".

Improvements include a switch to an AC motor, because, he says, they are so much easier to look after than DC motors. "There’s no maintenance required and they are more reliable. We’ve changed the gearbox to give it a lot more torque, and greater throughput. It handles stiffer doughs," he adds.

The extruder’s frame design has been changed so that any mix that falls goes straight on to the ground and can be easily cleaned up. "The co-extrusion die now has 12 streams rather than six, for processing of fruit, cream or chocolate," Graham adds.

Packaging equipment manufacturer Ilapak has also aimed at improving efficiency and says its Carrera 4000 Eco horizontal flow-wrapping machine is its most environmentally friendly to date. The machine uses "less power to get the same effect", says Ilapak’s sales director Mike Butler. The design has been altered, too, to make it easier to clean.

Ilapak’s clients are plant bakers, sandwich and pizza manufacturers, and Butler says its equipment launches are tapping into product trends. "At the moment, the key trends are tortillas and wraps, café culture and pizza," Butler adds. Also at the fair was Sollich UK, which historically focused on supplying machinery from the German machinery giant and is now representing 11 other companies in the UK. It aims to provide a complete equipment solution for manufacturers, from raw ingredients processing to finished products. Many of the companies it represents launched new equipment at the show.

One of these, Italian dough mixing company Sancassiano, has launched a vertical mixer with a key point of difference from previous models. The tools move inside a fixed bowl, rather than the other way round. "This gives the flexibility of a vertical mixer with the best features of a horizontal one," says area manager Francesco Vietti.

Pizza manufacturer Alimec, which also falls under the Sollich UK umbrella, has launched a multi-spot and shower system for the application of pizza sauce. It has introduced a brushless motor for improved efficiency and lower maintenance needs.

An easy clean

Ease of cleaning was also uppermost in the minds of BVT’s designers, as the Netherlands-based company unveiled its latest in-line laminating system. Sales and marketing director Rogier Vos says BVT, supplied through Sollich, has introduced a "quick-release system for the belts so people can easily take it off and clean it".

Manufacturers will also benefit from Fritsch’s complete redesign of its multi-purpose filling unit, described as "an ideal addition to high-performance processing plants for, above all, filled croissants and pastry products of virtually all kinds". It can handle fillings of the smooth and flowable variety, as well as all kinds of chunky fillings, such as cheese, ham and meat, that can be applied continuously or as point strips with a maximum of 12 rows. Fritsch says the unit has been designed to satisfy the "highest standards of cleanliness: the filling unit is free of cracks, creases and troughs that would require frequent and involved cleaning operations, and all the filling guns can be taken apart without special tools for quick and easy cleaning".

The new launches covered by British Baker at Interpack offer just a taster of what’s on the market for manufacturers looking to improve efficiency, save costs and cut down on cleaning.


=== Benier tries out its pick-up lines ===

Benier UK’s latest equipment can automate a bakery from the baking tin right the way through to the wrapping section, according to managing director David Marsh. Part of the Kaak group, Benier can supply ’pick and place’ technology where it fully automates processes such as picking products from the divider moulder and placing them into the oven or from the oven onto conveyor coolers.

The Kaak Suction Depanner takes baked products from baking trays and transfers them to the cooling conveyor where they are then released. A vacuum head is positioned above the bread pans, with suction heads picking up the product and then placing it on the cooler. It is highly sensitive and breads of different weights and shapes can all be handled at the same time, making it ideal for artisan-style products.

The Kaak Needle Depanner has been developed to take delicate baked products such as brioches and soda bread from the trays. A head with extending needles is positioned above the baking trays. The needles are pushed at an angle into the product. Then they are picked from the trays and placed on to the cooling conveyor where the products are released. The Kaak Turn-over Depanner is another solution, suitable for slab cakes.