Our highlights at Interpack 2017

Automatic, highly accurate dosing, weighing, collecting and preparing of batches for mixer feeding
 
During the manufacture of food, pharmaceuticals, chemical and plastic products, precise adherence to the recipes is decisive for the product quality. As the producer, you must have absolute confidence in the exact supply of your raw materials. Each ingredient must be meticulously documented.
 
Reasons for the automation are:
  • High precision for small and large weight units
  • Product and operator protection through contamination-free solutions
  • Reliable batch traceability and permanent documentation
  • User-friendly control and visualisation
  • Great flexibility, meaning weighing various weights from 10 grams up to several hundred kilograms, variable design possible, simple to expand, easy to change recipes
  • Minimised non-productive times, e.g. through process-optimised collection of components results in high speed
  • Sustainable, economic solutions with high energy efficiency
  • Safety thanks to experience and fully developed technology
  • Global service
AZO - No. 1 in mixer feeding
We have the right solution for every requirement. The circular AZO COMPONENTER® is an affordable solution when there is a limited number of ingredients. This system is recommended whenever a small number of ingredients is to be weighed automatically. With this principle, the surge bins, such as feeding hoppers for sacks, receivers that are fed pneumatically or small silos, are arranged in a circle above the collecting vessel. There is separate discharging, dosing and weighing for each ingredient. This makes parallel weighing operations possible. The AZO vibration bottom ensures reliable discharge even where flow-resistant minor components are involved. The dosing screw with a locking device ensures high metering accuracy. The products are weighed exactly onto scales/torsion balances and discharged into a collecting vessel.Once all the ingredients have been weighed and the batch is complete, it is sucked pneumatically onto a conveying scales or, depending on the area of use, immediately transferred into a mixer. This type of AZO COMPONENTER® can be used when admixtures of related products are permitted.
 
AZO COMPONENTER®, circular design in temperature-controlled area
The version of the AZO COMPONENTER® with a linear arrangement is ideal when there are many ingredients. The surge bins with product feeding and the separate discharge and dosing units are arranged opposite each other in rows in this case. Special docking options make it quick to switch over from big bags and containers at any time. Depending on the formulation, the accumulation method is generally used to weigh raw materials into scales that are transported below the metering points. Once all the constituents are in the conveying scales, the batch can be discharged at one or more discharge points (e.g. mixer or pneumatic conveyor).
 
If there is a requirement for contaminant-free solutions, the ingredients can also be metered straight into a container on a mobile scales. The floor scales move fully automatically to the specified dosing points. There is an additional option of adding micro quantities with maximum accuracy by using AZODOS® negative weighing systems. Transfer of raw materials takes place without contact and there is little generation of dust thanks to a special gasket with aspiration in accordance with the raw material. As soon as the entire batch is complete, a batch report is generated and the container is transferred to the discharge point for further processing. The system works according to the accumulation method. It is more economical to carry out consecutive weighing processes than to weigh in parallel.
Precise weighing and collection of minor ingredients with AZO COMPONENTER® with mobile scale
Flexible bulk materials receptacles such as big bags have become firmly established for handling powders in a variety of branches. They have clear advantages over sacks when it comes to transporting and storing bulk materials. They are environmentally friendly, require less operating staff and storage space and reduce costs for transport and processes. 
AZO big bag discharge stations make it possible to discharge big bags without generating excess dust and to feed products reliably into the closed production plant. To improve efficiency and reduce costs even further, AZO has developed a modular concept for a big bag discharge station. The required components such as frame, support beams, chain hoist, discharging aids, big bag docking system, buffer bin and discharging unit can be chosen from a “construction set”, depending on the requirements. The entire discharge station can be configured to suit needs without outlay for design, which has a very positive effect on the price and delivery time. They are comparable with equipment from series production, however the modular station covers a much broader range of uses than a standard model, which makes it very flexible. Modular technology makes it possible to adapt the stations in use to changing production conditions with minimum outlay.
 
As part of a process for managing complexity, AZO will be optimising further equipment lines and meeting demand from customers for reductions in investment costs and shorter delivery times.
The modular concept saves money and delivery time
The modular concept saves money and delivery time

AZO has been supplying automatic systems for mixer feeding for decades. There is already a plethora of solutions for this. The goal of developments in the field of filling and packaging was to offer a flexible system for producers of speciality products in small to medium batch sizes. Especially at a time when batches of products are becoming ever smaller, fast and straightforward retooling from one receptacle to another is called for in plants. The modular station exhibited at Powtech by AZO allows gravimetric filling of products in small to medium-size batches. The focus here is on easy cleaning, a high level of versatility and fast retooling to accommodate different small containers like tubs, drums, boxes with inliners, bags and sacks.
 
The base station can be supplemented with a DA-type cyclone screener, which may be used simultaneously for dosing, and/or with metal detectors for final inspection of the product. Various modules for sealing sacks, for example bonding and sack sewing machines, are also available. The filling heads for docking the most diverse receptacles without generating dust range from inflatable rings to inflatable collars and foam ring seals. AZO’s filling station enables our customers to switch over receptacles within two minutes.
 
The integrated weighing device can be calibrated, it has a weighing range of 50kg and has a division of 10g increments. Actual dosing accuracy depends on the size of the dosing unit and the flow properties of the bulk material in use. Typical values here are +/- 10 g to +/- 50 g. Capacity of the filling station: depending on the form and size of the receptacle as well as on the number of operators, it is possible to fill and close the receptacle in 1-2 minutes. A standard throughput rate for the system is 1 receptacle per min. The roller conveyor serves as a support surface and for horizontal transport of the receptacles to the filling point, and from there onto the next module – on our exhibition stand, this is a module for bonding sacks. It is also possible to implement partial automation of filling.

In introducing this system, we are responding to trends for ever smaller batches of products, applications that can be calibrated, rapid changeover from one product to another as well as from one type of receptacle to another.

Filling of small containers with integrated weighing device
Filling of small containers with integrated weighing device
The hygienic design hopper serves to feed bulk solids in powdered and granular form into closed materials handling systems, especially in areas calling for the highest standards in hygiene. Products can be fed from sacks, boxes, barrels or similar receptacles.
 
The feeding hopper is available in two different grades of stainless steel and, depending on the surface finish, has surface roughness of < 0.6 µm or < 0.8 µm. The radii on the inside of the feeding hopper are greater than 50 mm and can be cleaned leaving no residue at all. Wet cleaning is done via an integral spray head. The gasket used for the lid can easily be replaced when needed, as it is not attached with adhesive. It is composed of silicone and is metal detectable. The feeding hopper is suitable for use in areas in zones 22 and 2 where there is a risk of explosion.
 
To avoid dust escaping when sacks are discharged, an aspiration process can be connected that starts when the lid of the feeding hopper is opened. The lid switch complies with safety requirements for applications up to performance level D.
Wet cleaning via an integral spray head
AZO feeding hopper in hygienic design
AZO cyclone screeners combine operationally safe technology with high performance and easy maintenance and cleaning. The screeners can easily be integrated into existing systems thanks to their compact design.
 
Safe products thanks to AZO cyclone screening technology
  • complies with IFS and HACCP
  • automatic elimination of foreign matter
  • clean and safe finished product
 
End-to-end HACCP concepts in the food and dairy industries specify control screening and separation of metals as mandatory. This means any raw materials and semi-finished products are conveyed to the highly efficient, ultra-sensitive safety devices, such as metal receivers and control screeners, right upon delivery and in the production line immediately prior to filling into sacks, big bags or bulk tankers or silaging as semi-finished products. The networked control system notifies and logs incidents constantly at the critical checkpoints in the HACCP concept.
 
The patented cyclone screener type DA360 N with applications including control and protective screening, fractionation, separation of foreign matter, breaking up lumps and aerating products, does not required an additional dosing unit. This is why it has a low overall height and can thus be integrated into existing systems without any difficulties. Further advantages are easy opening of the machine without tools and the extraction and swiveling devices for the screen and the dosing screw, enabling easy inspection and cleaning of the screen basket and the screw. Dead space in the machine is kept to a minimum, which further improves simplicity of cleaning. The screen basket can be replaced quite simply with a "quick change" screening system.

The tried-and-tested, inexpensive cyclone screener type E is available both in painted version and in stainless steel.
 
Typical areas of application include:
  • control screening before and during processing to ensure that no impurities, e.g. bag fibres, lumps and scraps of paper, get into production.
  • control screening together with a metal detector prior to filling and packaging to ensure that no foreign matter remains in the finished product.
  • breaking up lumps and aeration of flours in the baking industry.
  • breaking up agglomerates that can occur in bagged goods or hygroscopic bulk solids. The lumps are carefully broken up without any loss of product.
  • separation of agglomerates following drying processes.
  • screening out and returning fine particles, e.g. following granulation in the pharmaceuticals industry.
  • fractionation of bulk solids in powder form into assorted fractions according to particle size.

 
Easy to clean cyclone screener type DA 650 with extraction device
Easy to clean cyclone screener type DA 650 with extraction device
AZO cyclone screening with ultrasonic assistance
Sonic pulsing of the screen mesh can be used or fitted retroactively in the AZO type E, DA, FA and RA cyclone screeners.
 
Key advantages
  • Increase in screening capacity
  • Improvement in selectivity
  • Longer times between cleaning
  • Straightforward retrofitting in existing machines
  • Converter is outside the screener and hence outside the flow of powder.
 
The use of ultrasound causes the stainless steel screen to vibrate at high frequency. These minute vibrations prevent near-size particles from sticking in the mesh of the screen fabric. The screen mesh stays clear for longer, which in turn noticeably improves selectivity. This may result in an increase in screen capacity. The screen basket needs to be removed for cleaning far less often and this significantly increases the useful life of the machine.
Cyclone screener with mounted ultrasonic converter
Cyclone screener type E360 with ultrasonic pulsing of screen mesh
The hopper serves to feed bulk solids in powdered and granular form into closed materials handling systems, such as pneumatic conveying systems. Products can be fed from sacks, boxes, barrels or similar receptacles. As different branches will have very diverse requirements regarding quality and hygiene, the feeding hoppers are available in a variety of materials and surface finishes.
 
After opening the lid to the feeding hopper, the aspiration process of the interior starts, thus preventing dust from escaping while the product is poured in. Depending on the requirements, dust filtration can be implemented either via an attached individual filter with built-in filter cleaning or via a central filter station. To assist discharge of bulk materials with poor flow properties, the feeding hoppers have been fitted with rappers, vibrators, bin activators or aeration jets. The design can be adapted to downstream equipment such as rotary valves or dosing screws by using appropriate flanges for an optimum fit. Installation is carried out according to customer requirements using support brackets, consoles or in a separate frame.
 
An integral vibrating perforated sheet prevents packaging residue and other unwanted coarse material from entering production. The layout of the vibration motors and vibration elements and their direction of rotation cause the product to flow in a defined direction on the screen. Coarse particles that are larger than the screen mesh size are conveyed to the coarse material outlet and evacuated there. The inclination and intensity of the vibration motors can be varied to adapt them to accommodate each product. The circular screens are available with a polyester/plastic fabric in mesh sizes of 2 to 5 mm or with special metal screens in a range of mesh sizes with a maximum actual screening area and with no risk of wire rupture.
 
All operations at the new feeding hopper, such as filling, screen inspection, removal of coarse materials and screen replacement, are carried out from one side. It is quick and easy to replace screens using standard tools.
 
Throughput rate varies depending on the product and mesh size. The following throughput rates can be used for reference purposes: 4500 kg/h wheat flour with a mesh size of 3mm, 1700 kg/h powdered milk with a mesh size of 5 mm.
Feeding hopper with integrated vibrating perforated sheet and automatic evacuation of coarse materials
Feeding hopper with integrated vibrating perforated sheet and automatic evacuation of coarse materials

Everything in one place – the new information platform from AZO gives you important information about your machines and systems. Use an RFID or a QR Code reader to identify the component you need, and you will get all the relevant data in a single app: operating and maintenance instructions, installation videos, certifications and other important documents, online shop for spare parts, electrical wiring diagrams and more.
 
It is sadly still often the case in many manufacturing companies that operating instructions and plant documentation live out a lonely existence in a cupboard somewhere. Other documents, such as the spare parts catalogue, might be in the procurement department – locked up and out of sight. And installation videos? No chance! As a result, the need for maintenance personnel to access these important documents at any time is often unintentionally denied.
 
AZO is coming to the rescue with its new information platform, AZO®Plus. Each component has a unique identifier which can be stored on an RFID chip or in a QR Code. If the operator identifies a component in the plant, they can use a mobile device to view all the existing information relating to this part: exploded drawings and 3D models, parts lists, documentation including certifications and attestations, material numbers for ordering spare parts, maintenance schedules etc. What's more, there are videos explaining how to replace worn parts, for example.
 
For safe operation of the plant, it is immensely important that industrial machines are fitted with the right tools. The identifier can be used to ensure that the plant can only be put into operation when it has the right equipment. Essential replacement parts (screens, mixers, screws etc.) will authorise production only after correct identification. This is another step on the path to safe, reliable production.
 
The entire history of the machine or component can be recorded with no gaps. When was which wearing part or component replaced? How long is the service life of a particular spare part, when should it be reordered? This prevents production downtimes and facilitates scheduling of maintenance works.
 
From operator to plant director, every relevant employee has access to the same pool of information, which is always up to date even following expansions to the plant. It is possible to set up different user levels using the permissions management tool. For example, if it is established that the maintenance employee can order the necessary spare part directly, this can be done from a mobile device while inspecting the machine.
 
Looking to Industry 4.0, the AZO®Plus platform presents even more opportunities. For example, with an interface to plant control, production data for the plant can be displayed in real time. The information platform will be continually developed and updated, just like AZO's machines.

AZO®Plus – the new information platform from AZO
AZO®Plus – the new information platform from AZO

Technical solutions for liquid and semi-solid products

Solids meets Liquids
  • Precise dispersal of powders
  • Continuous metering of solid materials into liquid products
 
No compromises should be made in production processes, especially where the complex tasks in manufacturing liquid and semi-solid foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals are concerned.
 
AZO LIQUIDS exploits synergies within the AZO Group to the maximum, with the three specialist firms AZO SOLIDS, AZO CONTROLS and AZO LIQUIDS. At the exhibition stand, the two affiliated companies, AZO SOLIDS and AZO LIQUIDS, are exhibiting many examples of how AZO LIQUIDS’ solutions for processes can be integrated simply and intelligently on different scales for various areas of application.
 
AZO LIQUIDS’ customers in the food and pharmaceuticals industries rely above all on the dependable and reproducible production processes of our plants. Maximum flexibility, efficient use of energy, fully automatic controls and consistent quality features are what set products from AZO LIQUIDS apart. Added to these advantages is our comprehensive industry expertise in all aspects of raw materials handling, from deliveries of raw materials to output and metering, mixing and controlling. AZO covers all areas of food production and develops bespoke solutions for its customers.
 
The vacuum processing plants in our portfolio range from 10 l pilot plants through to 12,000 l production plants; and from 100 l/h up to 5000 l/h in the case of plants for continuous production processes.
 
Above and beyond this, you can expect AZO LIQUIDS to provide professional plant engineering, taking full account of your particular requirements, and to collaborate closely with you in developing solutions for your process.
 
The AZO Group, with the three specialist firms AZO SOLIDS, AZO CONTROLS and AZO LIQUIDS, designs and builds complete turnkey plants for fully automated processes with solid and liquid materials. Thanks to its wide-ranging experience of the food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics industries, the company has acquired very extensive knowledge in the field of raw materials handling.
 
Solids meets Liquids: Continuous production of spreads for bread bespoke solution for processes in the food industry
Solids meets Liquids: Continuous production of spreads for bread bespoke solution for processes in the food industry
Examples of plants we have built
 
Food industry
  • Continuous production of spreads for bread
  • fully automatic production of batter for waffles
     
Chemicals
  • semi-continuous production of laundry liquids with continuous fine metering of granulates
 
Cosmetics
  • continuous production of tooth paste products
  • continuous production of hair care products
 
AZO LIQUIDS is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of processing plants for the food and pharmaceuticals industries for processing liquid and semi-solid substances. In 2008 the company was founded in Neuenburg am Rhein, Germany, as zoatec GmbH by engineers with many years of accumulated experience in the field of liquid and semi-solid processes.
Making production more dynamic
Manufacturing Execution Systems are becoming more important than ever with the advent of the Industrial Internet of Things. An in-depth analysis of the current situation will highlight the improvement potential to achieve greater transparency and efficiency. Experience shows that the requirements for MES projects may vary widely. This is why AZO CONTROLS concentrate on MES solutions that are designed for the sector, in line with the focus of our in-house KASTOR process control and instrumentation system.
The outcome is that today we can already offer a broad range of MES base functionalities, which have been integrated into our Kastor process instrumentation and control system, and we can provide added value by satisfying the requirements of our target customers in the food, nutraceuticals, chemicals and polymers sectors.
 
KASTOR MES functions
  • integral planning mechanisms
  • order management along the entire production chain
  • stock management
  • tracking & tracing
  • allergen management
  • cleaning management
  • interface to ERP systems
  • reporting
 
The magic formula is added value.
A well-integrated MES improves transparency in manufacturing and is the cornerstone for greater responsiveness and flexibility as a basic requirement for competitive, sustainable production. It is based on horizontal, vertical and functional integration of processes and systems along the value chain. The key advantages of an MES application can be summed up as follows:
  • Manufacturing costs are kept as low as possible.
  • A fixed standard of quality is ensured throughout.
  • Statutory and/or corporate guidelines are adhered to.
  • It allows active and proactive controlling of production.
 
The underlying principle is to record all product and process data that relate to quality and manufacture. These are compiled on various storage media, depending on the source of the data, and are made available in the most user-friendly manner possible in order to answer different queries from users. For this is the only way to merge the data needed for managing processes across the limits of individual plants and processes and user acceptance is growing, as the data offer a real advantage in everyday production. The Kastor DataCockpit links the data sources and bridges the gap for the user.
 
The future
Kastor – the assistance system with its functions for production and the additional potential of an integrated MES system represents the first step towards a new kind of manufacturing – digitisation helps people to fully exploit the potential of their production plant.

 
 

 
Control room
Kastor process control and instrumentation and MES system