Optimizing High-Speed Shrink Wrapping of Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizza remains one of the most omnipresent foods in the distinctive american family. Convenience, low price and a continually growing assortment of Palermo's shrink wrapped pizza options have made frozen pizza a favorite heat-and-serve option for households constrained by prison term and budgets. According to the American Frozen Food Institute ( AFFI ), McLean, Va., 66 % of households in the United States consumed freeze pizza in 2010. With sum sales reaching $ 3.2 billion in that class, this accounts for about 10 % of U.S. mass-market freeze food sales. In fact, the United States is the largest flash-frozen pizza market in the world, representing approximately 43 % of ball-shaped commercialize value.

Shrink wrapping challenge

Keeping up with the demand for this identical popular consumer product can be a challenge for food processors. not merely because of the high throughputs required, but because freeze pizza can be a difficult product to package. few frozen food products require more careful treat through the packaging serve than pizza. And nowhere in the packaging cycle is this more critical than in shrink wrap.

Automated shrink wrap of frozen pizza has long presented significant challenges for food processors. Delicate handle of these freeze pizza pies is required to keep the sauce and lax toppings like pepperoni, mushrooms, blimp and cheese intact during wrapping. These ingredients tend to shift around and fall to the buttocks of the shrink bag before sealing.
additionally, freeze pizza being a low profile merchandise has a high capability for shingling while traveling back-to-back on the infeed conveyer belt before entering the negligee. Shingling prompts poor infeed registration, resulting in miss flights, double product bag and broken crust. When running at high speeds, such as 100 pizzas per moment, most infeed systems can not systematically maintain accurate index with the shrivel negligee. The conventional machinery employed for high-speed shrivel wrapping of freeze pizzas—at the rate of 100-150 pizza per minute—typically uses lap seal technology for sealing the psychiatrist bulge. The lap seal method wraps the film around the pizza as it goes through a form horseshoe, then it overlaps the film on the penetrate of the pizza, electrostatic sealing it before going into the flinch tunnel. A key problem with this sealing method is that pizza toppings will frequently fall underneath where the seal is being made and compromise the integrity of the sealing wax. When the wrapped pizza comes out of the burrow, the lap cachet can be loosen or open, but it is very hard to detect. Usually it is the customer who discovers that the pizza they purchased has not been securely sealed. To achieve a better quality seal on freeze pizza, food processors have utilized continuous movement side-seal shrink wrappers. These systems allow a continuous incoming pour of pizza through the negligee while a side-seal is generated, followed by an end navy seal that separates each package before entering the shrink tunnel. Because the seal is being formed on the edge of the pizza rather than across the bottom, the danger of unleash toppings contaminating the varnish area is eliminated, resulting in a much more faithfully seal package.
conventional continuous side-seal wrappers, however have a limited accelerate range. They are utilitarian up to about 100 pizzas per hour throughput—above that and their quality output signal diminishes. consequently, many frozen pizza producers have opted for lap seal wrappers to achieve the higher throughput, despite the loss in sealing wax quality .

Palermo’s Pizza’s high-speed, side-seal wrapper line

now, a new generation of continuous motion side-seal shrink wrap for freeze pizza provides the benefits of a procure seal combined with a high-throughput capability. Palermo ’ s Pizza is one freeze pizza manufacturer that is utilizing this latest continuous side-sealing engineering. Based in Milwaukee, Wis., Palermo ’ s Pizza was started by sicilian immigrants Gaspare and Zina Fallucca, who opened an italian bakery on Milwaukee ’ s east slope in 1964. The bakery expanded into a full-service restaurant known for its pizza, and by 1979, they began to manufacture and sell freeze pizzas based on their family ’ second traditional sicilian recipes. Palermo ‘s is an pioneer in the freeze pizza class, creating what is said to be the diligence ‘s first base self-rising freeze pizza and its first base ultra-thin crust product. It manufactures a kin of freeze pizza under the Palermo ’ s brand, including products such as Primo Thin, Naturally Rising, Stone Baked and Classics by Palermo ’ s. The company continues to research and develop newly products and flavors that cater to consumer needs, such as its recent insertion, Palermo ’ randomness Hand Tossed Style, which features “ family-favorite flavors ” on a middle-thickness crust. The popularity of these brands has made Palermo ’ s one of the fastest growing manufacturers of freeze pizza in the United States. To meet the demand for its products, the company recently expanded its headquarters and manufacturing facility. Opened in 2011, its new 250,000-square-foot state-of-the-art, USDA-certified fabricate plant is a collector’s item of packaging technology, operating four packaging lines for handling its frozen pizza. But, central to Palermo ’ s box operation is its main promotion credit line for handling its top-selling 12-inch freeze pizza. anterior to reaching that box note, sauce and toppings are deposited onto boodle to form the pizza, which are then put through an ammonia-based gyrate deep-freeze. Exiting the deep-freeze, the now freeze pizza are conveyed through the shrink negligee and shrink burrow, then on to labeling and cartoning. The product is then cased, palletized and sent off to shipping or deep freeze storage. “ We have been experiencing proceed emergence at a double-digit rate every class, ” says Mike Walz, frailty president of operations. “ As we grew and the demand for product went up, it generated a need for us to operate at a higher level of speed to meet the demand. ” “ The challenge that we were facing as we tried to push our line speeds up was the ability of our existing lap seal wrappers to run at the higher rate of speed and provide a reliable seal, ” adds Walz. “ The lap sealers use a electrostatic seal process. It is an overlap on the bottom of the pizza. sometimes, we would lose that sealing wax, and in the shrink tunnel that would open up. That tended to be a restrict factor when running at higher speeds. ”

“ On our main packaging production line, we were using a lick sealant that was operating at less than 90 12-inch pizza per minute, ” says Walz. “ So, we embarked on a stick out to increase the note rate on that line first. After reviewing respective shrink wrap designs, we settled on one system that could be custom configured to meet our particular needs rather of adapting to an existing format. ” The system that Palermo ’ south selected is a high-speed, continuous-motion, servo-controlled side-seal shrink wrapper from Texwrap, a Washington, Mo.-based architect and manufacturer of fully-automatic psychiatrist wrapping systems. What makes this arrangement so alone is its use of multiple technologies that are integrated into one system architecture, enabling high-speed throughput of up to 150 freeze pizza per moment with consistent high-quality seals and without wrong to the delicate pizza products. The throughput speed of the wrapping is achieved by the sealing head, which is a patent servo orbital-motion technology. It eliminates the need for the head to move with the merchandise while the seal is being made. The sealing oral sex moves in an ellipse, without the binding and away gesture of distinctive sealing heads, which dramatically increases the throughput speed of the wrap. The orbital head is controlled by fast and precise servomechanical motors, as is the entire negligee and infeed. The system is built with Generation 3 servo technology, meaning that it was designed from the land up to integrate servomechanical engineering, PLC control and the mechanical elements of the organization. The system ’ sulfur 10-axis servo controls provide highly accurate registration, minimizing the amount of film used for wrapping and reducing the motivation for care. Palermo ’ s negligee is equipped with a merchandise protection arrangement, which ensures that the orbital head will not close down on any pizza. A detector maps the situation of each pizza as it enters the orbital head operating quad and knows when a pizza is misplaced, skipping that seal cycle. “ We tested the negligee at 180 pizzas per infinitesimal, ” Walz says. “ This is identical fast throughput. But, it performed as expected with accurate registration and secure seals and no product damage. On a continual basis, we normally operate the system at 120-140 pizza per minute, well faster than the maximum 90 pizza per infinitesimal with our prior lap sealant. ” Sealing film securely at such extreme speeds requires a very particular side-seal design. The side seal on this system uses the patent Green Machine engineering invented by Shrink Packaging Systems Corp., Nashua, N.H. During sealing, belts grip the film securely over a long distance allowing the sealing wax to be made on the pizza and the trim to be flawlessly separated. A particular heat element seals and separates the movie between them. The system is self-compensating. As negligee travel rapidly increases, the film stays in contact with the heat element long, eliminating the need for constant adjustment. Because the film-gripping belts allow the tension on the film to be isolated from the sealing process, the resultant role is reproducible seals using the absolute minimal film width. The early advantage of green Machine technology is that its ease virtually eliminates the care associated with most side-seal designs. The infeed is optimized vitamin a well for maximized throughput and careful merchandise treatment. A Texwrap-designed lane-combining system takes three lanes of pizza exiting the deep-freeze and consolidates them into one lane. then, a servo-driven flying nose stripe is programmed to not only place the pizza inline at a hardening spacing without touching each other, but besides to automatically adjust the focal ratio of the entire line to match incoming output. This ensures that pizza do not shingle, keeping toppings and crusts intact, which is critically important at throughput rates of 150 pizzas per minute. Following, a lugworm conveyer mechanically inserts a cardboard circle underneath the pizza and indexes the merchandise into the wrap. The negligee ’ sulfur infeed is a wholly integrated system that self-adjusts to incoming production. As the pizza slow down or speed up, sol does the entire wind system. To support the shrink wrap, Palermo ’ south installed a Texwrap triple-chamber forced air convection tunnel, equipped with digital temperature controls, high speed fans, person top and bottomland controls for air direction and variable-speed conveyors. These features control the correct sum of inflame to be put in the right places over the right amount of fourth dimension to produce coherent shrink results. The heating system burrow incorporates a feature called Seams Down, which ensures that the side-seal seams do not put over the print round tag on top of the pizza. When shrink wrapping pizza, the seam can potentially climb up past the center top of the pizza and obscure the label on the peak. By directing the air inside of the burrow to make the film on the bottom of the pizza shrivel before the film on top, this condition is avoided. Palermo ’ south entire infeed and shrink wrap system is designed to be sanitary-friendly. Rated for heavy washdown, the corrosion-resistant, welded stainless-steel design eliminates crevices and areas where food could collect. The conveyors incorporate quick-disconnect removable sections for easily clean and fall-through design so food debris will not get trapped .

Performance

“ Knowing the implicit in design of both the static lap sealing wax and the continuous motion side-seal, the travel rapidly and the quality of the seal is enormously improved with the continuous system, ” says Walz. “ We were able to get a shrink wrap system on our primary line that not lone met our design specifications, but exceeded it. ”

In the highly competitive frozen pizza commercialize, high volume production with dear zero defect rates in packaging is critical to profitableness. Those manufacturers that embrace advanced psychiatrist wrapping engineering to streamline packaging throughput will be in a better position to run effective fabrication plants and reduce engage costs. For more information, contact Texwrap at 800-886-7421 or go to www.texwrap.com .