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Tasty labour savings from new rusk processing line

By Mike Stones , 25-Nov-2008

Zero labour costs and improved quality are the benefits claimed for a new automated rusk feeding line installed by Italian engineering company Premec for bread product manufacturer Grissinbon in Parma.

The system is automated from the exit point of the rusks from the oven to the wrapping machines which removes the need for a production team of four to five people,” Premec’s Eraldo Chinnici told FoodProductionDaily.com.

“The recently introduced process, which is unique in the world to our knowledge, has been running at an efficiency rate of about 99.6 per cent,” he added.

Suction cups

The rusks are transferred directly from the toasting oven by four robotized bridges or arms fitted with suction cups that attach to the rusks. The arm deposits the rusks into a wrapper chain in stacks of one or two which are then viewed for quality control.

Rusks are transferred to pillow-pack wrappers which wrap one or two stacks of rusks in each pack.

The four bridges, plus a spare one to compensate for any stoppages, provides the system with a capacity of 2400 rusks per minute. Each bridge handles 600 rusks per minute,” said Chinnici.

Total capacity is 1200 packs per minute or 600 packs when working with a twin stack format.

The toasting oven is fed from the loaf slicing machine with Premec’s own slice spreader that assures alignment of slices over the oven mesh.

Manual handling

Automated handling, relying on the use of suction cups, avoids the breakages and the dust that can result from manually handling products, according to the company.

Operator involvement, other than maintenance, is confined to switching the four wrappers on at the beginning of the first shift and switching off at the end of the third shift.

Premec designed, constructed and installed the patented equipment for its client Grissinbon. Mechanical design of the equipment alone took several thousand hours, said Chinnici.

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