Pre-cooked sauces are convenient for the consumer but pose a challenge for the bottlers and their machines. In addition to filling, the mixing of the many ingredients also plays a central role in the production process. The range of varieties are almost unlimited. Various ingredients with different viscosities or chunky materials must all be dosed, mixed and filled.
A project undertaken by ViscoTec Dosiertechnik, filled liquid sauces and spice mixtures with mushrooms, onion pieces, cucumber slices or candied fruit for catering companies with just one machine. The filling quantity varied between 125 ml and 500 ml. Thanks to the proven technology, pieces of up to 25 mm could be filled.
Gentle filling technology is required to make premium products available to the end consumer in high quality and undamaged. Thanks to a special product displacement process used by modern packaging machine manufacturers, sensitive products can be packed air-free in tubular bags. Due to the continuous operation of the vertical forming, filling and closing machines, an uninterrupted addition of packaging material can be combined with endless or continuously dosing filling devices.
The advantage of continuously working machines
A low reject rate is just as important as high throughput times and continuous performance. Not only for manufacturers who want to increase their productivity by maximizing the utilization of their packaging lines. Particular attention is paid to the tubular bag filling process. In order to achieve a high production cycle rate, it is important to link the individual process steps as briefly and fluidly as possible. Precise and complex fine tuning of the individual components is absolutely essential for this. Especially with smaller packaging sizes (e.g. 10 ml), the interruptions that are necessary for the tube feed and the sealing of the tube take up valuable cycle time. This clearly shows the advantage of the continuously operating tubular bag filling machines: Compared to intermittent machines, both the filling process and the sealing process can be switched simultaneously rather than one after the other.
Advantages of continuous filling using endless piston technology
ViscoTec s dosing pumps with their progressive cavity pump technology are perfectly tailored to this continuous mode of operation. With the endless piston technology of the dosing technology specialist, the products belong to the group of rotating positive displacement pumps. The function is comparable to that of an endless piston, which conveys the product from the suction side to the discharge side. And a pressure difference is built up in the process. At the heart of every application is a volumetric dosing pump. The interaction of an eccentrically moving rotor and stator results in a delivery and dosing characteristic that corresponds to that of an endlessly moving piston.
This endless piston principle is particularly suitable for conveying and filling abrasive and solids-laden, i.e. lumpy, material. A decisive benefit of this technology lies in the resulting conveying chamber, whose volume remains constant during the movement. This feature makes it possible to fill a wide range of sauces gently, with high-precision and repeatable. From smooth to chunky sauces. And from small sample packs of 5 ml to large packs of several litres.
Gentle product filling without compromising the dosing materials
The solids in their carrier fluid are conveyed particularly gently through the chambers between the rotor (stainless steel) and the stator (elastomer). The shape, color and consistency of the solids are not affected. An even particle distribution is guaranteed, and the desired product properties are perfectly retained. Even large pieces of up to 25 mm with excellent particle integrity can be dosed with a repeat accuracy of over 99 percent.
For the precise filling of small quantities of viscous, abrasive or solids-laden products such as a hot chili sauce, conventional filling technologies such as piston or peristaltic pumps reach their limits. Products containing solids or abrasive products are particularly critical for these pump types: Mechanical damage to the moving parts often occurs here. Filling pumps based on the endless piston principle are particularly suitable for these applications. Advantages of this technology are, for example, a variable and, if required, customer-specific material selection of the dosing components, the particularly low-shear dosing and a laminar flow within the rotor-stator construction.
Dispenser in hygienic design for high hygiene requirements
Liquid and pasty products place very high demands on hygiene during the packaging process. Due to their special design, ViscoTec dosing pumps meet all requirements. The pump housing, designed according to EHEDG guidelines, is optimized for dead space in order to avoid any product deposits. From a design point of view, attention has been paid to easy and quick disassembly. This not only facilitates automatic cleaning but also manual cleaning after disassembly. In order to meet the high quality and hygiene regulations of the customers.
ViscoTec develops optimal filling solutions for chunky sauces - with competitive and guaranteed performance promises. Customer-specific requirements are met. On the consumer side, this concept helps to meet the growing needs of retailers, restaurants, industrial customers and end-users.
The advantages at a glance:
- Filling with 99 percent repeat accuracy
- Maximum product protection through low-shear and pulsation-free dosing
- No dripping due to adjustable suck back
- Observance of the guidelines: EHEDG, FDA, 3.1, GMP-compliant construction
- Developed for optimum cleaning results with CIP
Picture: The ViscoTec endless piston principle dispenses lumpy materials particularly gently through the chambers between rotor (stainless steel) and stator (elastomer). The material properties are perfectly retained. (Image: ViscoTec GmbH)