A UK manufacturer of packaging machines will celebrate 18 years of developing continuous motion machines at this year’s PPMA Show.
Gainsborough-based GIC will be marking the anniversary of its continuous motion machines by displaying its latest GIC3100 model on its stand at the September show.
GIC, which will be on stand C50 at PPMA, introduced its first continuous motion machine in 2003, and while the engineering principles relating to the machine are largely the same today, the company has introduced several new features in recent years.
Today, GIC offers a range of four continuous motion vertical form fill and seal machines, comprising the GIC3000, GIC8000, GIC3100 and GIC8100. The 3000 and 8000 models are designed to pillow pack, while the higher specification, higher speed 3100 and 8100 offer doy, quod pack and servo gusseting capabilities.
“Over the last eighteen years we have developed a suite of machines to suit the needs of a wide variety of industries, from fresh produce and whole head crop handlers, who rely on bulletproof reliability, to frozen food factories and condiment manufacturers, who need high speed and high care versions,” says GIC managing director Andy Beal. “When we started to design our continuous motion machines, we decided that they would feature the fewest possible moving parts. By minimising the number of moving mechanical parts, we have ensured the GIC3000 and GIC8000s are incredibly efficient and reliable.
“Obviously, there have been several enhancements over the last 18 years. We have upgraded the electronics, introduced remote access to the machines, and we’ve made them faster by fitting them with new servo motion technology as it has become available.”
The most recent enhancement has been the introduction of Leaf Salad Assisted Drop and the integration of Ceetak’s QPH sealing technology.
Leaf Salad Assisted Drop is an innovative technique that increases the bagging speed of leaf salads and reduces both film use and contamination levels. It eliminates upstream choking by creating an area of low pressure in the product chute, which draws salad leaves down into the bag in one single slug. Without the feature, the product mass often elongates into several clumps of salad leaf, which increases the chances of causing contamination by being captured in the seal.
Integrating QPH sealing technology allows full calibration, control and diagnostics of the system via the GIC touchscreen. A dedicated Ceetak sealing page on the HMI enables the user to control all operating characteristics related to the sealing, cooling and release phases of the cycle. This page also allows the user to calibrate the system to ambient conditions, ensuring efficient use of the system, and diagnose potential faults and warnings through a descriptive dialogue box.
A further benefit to GIC machine users is that the company’s machines can now feature interchangeable jaws, allowing traditional heat seal methods or Ceetak’s high integrity QPH sealing technology to be fitted or removed quickly. This gives operators flexibility in specifying methods of heat-sealing polypropylene, polyethylene and laminates on the same VFFS machine.
Tests by Ceetak have shown that QPH sealing technology, which ensures a high integrity, completely fused hermetic seal, can produce up to a 10% reduction.
The relationship with Ceetak, also allows GIC to incorporate the TOSS HLS hot air sealer into its continuous motion machines. The leading hot air sealer can be specified to machines when they need to run at very high linear film speeds.
Over the last 18 years, GIC has commissioned several hundred machines in a wide range of industry sectors, including frozen and dried foods as well as fresh produce.
The first GIC continuous motion machine was supplied to E Park & Sons in Epworth and is still in use today. The machine, which is used to pack potatoes, did have a full service in the summer of 2014, 11 years after it was commissioned.
Today, the GIC8000 continuous motion machine is GIC’s best-selling model and is used by packers looking for a reliable, efficient and durable vertical fill form and seal machine.
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