Do you want to know which are the key points to consider when defining your bagging line? In this article, you will learn more about it.
Developing and manufacturing premixes, correctors, and ingredients for the agri-food industry is not a simple task: in order to cover the vitamin-mineral deficiencies of different types of animals and to meet the demands of this market, a wide range of products with different characteristics and behaviours are produced.
Managing such a variety of products in a single plant is complex: not only does it affect the manufacturing or the mixing process, but also the packaging and the packaging process.
In this article we want to show you the main points you should take into account when defining your packaging line for animal feed ingredients: 5 KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEFINING THE BAGGING LINE
There are many aspects to consider when defining the technical solution that meets the needs of each manufacturer. Here are the ones you should take into account: 1. NUMBER OF PRODUCTS AND BATCHES
Vitamins, macro-correctors, micro-correctors, preservatives, pro-nutrients, enzymes, antioxidants, flavourings, ... The range of products that a manufacturer of agri-food ingredients can work with is very wide. Production is often micronised, resulting in many small batches
. This has a direct impact on the optimization of the production line, as every changeover costs time and labour
(hygiene, replacing consumables, ...) thus penalizing the total production.
If your company produces a lot of batches, you probably already know what we are talking about: the famous and dreadful downtime. So what you need is a bagging system that allows you to make quick and agile changeovers
and avoid cross-contamination
. You can achieve this with a purpose-built bagging machine with a hygienic design finish. As well as the application of the tool-less concept
: i.e. the machine can be cleaned without the need to use tools to access all parts of the bagging area. 2. PRODUCT PROPERTIES
Bagging pelleted animal feed is not the same as bagging a powdered vitamin corrector: the dosing system is not the same, nor is the complexity involved.
In an animal feed pellet production facility, the conventional approach is belt dosing and packaging in paper sacks with stitching or perhaps a more complete closure in certain cases. There are no major technical complications.
By contrast, in the case of powdery products, such as vitamins, premixes, additives, agri-food colourings, medical ingredients, etc., where the granulometry of the product is usually measured in µm, things change: It is necessary to ensure a certain degree of tightness in the packaging process
, as well as in the packaging itself; it is also necessary to provide for the aspiration of dust that may be released during the filling and bag handling process, or even to prevent the release of dust; The surfaces of the equipment must be prepared to be easily sanitised to avoid accumulations of dust that could result in sources of contamination; as aluminium bags are typically used, it is likely to be necessary to include some system for extracting air from the bag
, and even for defluidising the product to ensure the stability of the bags and pallets.
The above aspects directly affect the configuration of the bagging line and the technology required to ensure an optimal bagging process
in each case. 3. HYGIENE / ACCESSIBILITY
All food production facilities must maintain certain hygiene conditions
to guarantee the quality of the product, whether for human or animal consumption (while in the case of products intended for human consumption the requirements are generally higher).
To this end, it is important to keep the environment clean and free of dust, avoid any remains
in the ducts through which the product flows, and establish a cleaning protocol
that ensures the elimination of any product remains at each batch change
This brings us back to downtime: the longer spent on hygiene, the shorter the uptime of the bagging line, and the lower the profitability. This is why you need your bagging machinery to be as accessible as possible and designed in such a way that operators can clean it quickly. In other words, it has to meet the precepts of hygienic design
. 4. LOGISTICS
When defining technical solutions for end-of-line, logistical requirements must always be taken into account. To this end, certain questions have to be considered:
Does your product need an airtight bag
to maintain its properties for longer?
Are you going to transport your goods in containers?
Are you exporting your product to countries with strict packaging regulations
Do you need to ensure that your product arrives fully intact at its destination?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, you may want to consider investing in good packaging and protecting the pallet with more than just plastic to ensure that unexpected costs do not arise in the long run.
Make sure you choose a bag that can maintain the properties of the product, and that it is suitable for the bagging technology that permits the correct extraction of air from the bag
. If the vacuum is carried out correctly, palletised loads will also be more stable
. And if you also protect the pallet laterally with film and cardboard
, you will ensure that no breakages occur along the entire handling chain of your goods avoiding returns. 5. AVAILABLE SPACE
Whatever your product is and whatever bag you pack it in, there is one question you can't ignore before setting up your bagging line: How much space do you have for the end of the line?
Whether it is a new plant or an existing plant being renovated, it is important to consider the space that can be dedicated to packaging (including bagging, palletising, stretch wrapping, and handling and stocking of full pallets). And not only in terms of square meters but also in terms of height: A low building height can mean limitations for a defluidisation probe or a Cartesian palletiser.
Furthermore, unlike many might think, a fully automatic packaging installation can sometimes be more compact than a semi-automatic installation: bear in mind that the systems for closing bags, labelling, lying bags, etc. after bagging, also require space. Whereas an automatic bagging machine can contain all these processes in just 15m2 (depending on the machine model).
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