Innovation Meets Tradition in Centralized Vacuum for Thermoforming Machines in Food Packaging
Freshly packed Salzbrenner specialties: “Traditional Kohlwurst” sausages. Source: Busch Vacuum Solutions
The food packaging processThe mincing process is carried out in a shredder or colloid mill, after which the mixture is filled into skins. Bratwurst sausages are boiled immediately, whereas other varieties such as Knackwurst, Wiener Würstchen and Krakauer are reddened, dried and smoked before boiling. All varieties are cooled immediately after the boiling process, then separated and packed.
In 2006 a new building making optimal use of the available space was inaugurated at the site. The original vacuum supply for the four thermoforming machines and a dual chamber machine included the pumps for rough vacuum located in a separate room above the production area. This was done to prevent waste heat from the pumps entering the cooled production area, causing increased air conditioning costs.
The rotary lobe vacuum pumps remained as boosters beside the thermoforming machines, as did the smaller rotary vane vacuum pumps used for forming foil into trays. However, this arrangement proved to have a disadvantage: the vacuum pumps were started with the packaging machines, and ran almost continuously throughout the working day.
Centralization of the vacuum supplyIn order to reduce energy costs and improve system reliability, production manager Christian Heitmann decided last year to centralize the vacuum supply.
Busch vacuum specialists were contacted, who designed a central vacuum system for installation in the same room as the previously used rotary vane vacuum pumps.
This arrangement has the advantage that vacuum is available immediately at the start of the evacuation cycle. The rotary lobe boosters installed directly to the packaging machines increase the rough vacuum instantly to the level required for packaging, permitting extremely short cycle times. Part of the central vacuum system runs independently to supply vacuum for tray forming at about 150 mbar.
In addition, only four rotary vane vacuum pumps and two rotary lobe boosters are installed in the central system. A fifth rotary vane vacuum pump acts as a reserve, and can also be connected to the system if production is expanded and another packaging machine added.
The previous decentralized system had a rotary vane vacuum pump for each of the four thermoforming machines and the dual chamber packaging machine, and a smaller rotary vane pump for each of the tray thermoformers.
Busch central vacuum system, supplying four thermoforming machines and a dual chamber packaging machine. Source: Busch Vacuum Solutions
The new system creates substantial energy savings by reducing:
- The operating hours of individual vacuum pumps
- The number of vacuum pumps in operation
- Air conditioning energy consumption by eliminating waste heat emissions in the packaging room
This contract allows Salzbrenner to plan operating costs in advance, and provides professional and punctual execution of all maintenance work by a Busch service technician.
The traditional company Salzbrenner KG manufactures 15 to 30 tons of boiled sausage products daily. Production focuses on proven recipes, natural spices and locally sourced fresh meat. In contrast, the processing technology used by Salzbrenner is highly modern. Vacuum for the packaging machines is supplied by an efficient centralized vacuum system made by Busch. Salzbrenner uses the latest technology to manufacture and pack top quality products economically and to the highest hygiene standards.