Lamb Weston® retrofits Ceetak’s Quick Pulse Heat (QPH) sealing technology in Wisbech factory
Lamb Weston is a world leading brand in high quality potato products, and is sold in over 100 countries around the world. Supplying frozen potato products to customers in the Food Service, Quick Service, Industry and Retail market segments. The company operates six factories in; The Netherlands, Russia, United Kingdom and Austria.
Due to great success with other frozen food manufacturers, Ceetak approached Lamb Weston with their Quick Pulse Heat (QPH) sealing technology; a cyclic system which can be used on all thermoplastic films, and incorporates a unique seal bar and anvil design to create a narrow width, patterned seal for material savings with superior performance characteristics.
The first stage of the QPH sealing system is the cut and seal phase. The jaws close on the film and the desired temperature of the heated bar is reached and maintained by a designated temperature controller. This is held for the required duration and then removed.
The second stage is the cooling phase of the process. The temperature of the patterned sealed area (again monitored by the temperature controller) is cooled rapidly by a stream of water through the sealing bar provided by the thermal regulator unit of the system. The rapid heating and cooling process takes only milliseconds and this facilitates fast cycling times and increases output.
By reducing the temperature of the sealed area, the system ensures that the weld is not weakened during handling (as is possible if left to cool naturally). This seal is typically 1-1.5mm wide, showing a film material saving of approximately 10% against traditional crimp seals on the cross seal alone. The QPH sealing system ensures that heat and pressure are applied evenly across the sealing surface creating a completely fused, hermetic seal.
Ceetak provided Lamb Weston with a free on site survey and installed a free trial of the QPH seal technology; it was installed on one packaging machine to evaluate performance over a designated time period. Due to outstanding results, within months Lamb Weston had invested in the retrofit of QPH sealing technology on the remaining bagging machines across their whole packaging production line, and saw a significant percentage decrease in film use immediately.
Vikki D’Averc, Continuous Improvement Specialist at Lamb Weston, said “We have been extremely pleased with the results we have seen from Ceetak’s QPH sealing technology. Since the retrofit on our machines we’ve seen a decrease in film costs and spares. The quality of the seals and overall appearance of the packs has been impressive and we have seen a significant reduction in the amount of reworks required. Our operatives have reported positive feedback on the ease of use of the technology and we have seen increased productivity due to minimal maintenance and reduced downtime.”
Alongside the superior seal characteristics of the QPH seal technology, the unique blade and anvil design minimises cleaning and maintenance – the special cutter design has no areas where product or film can escape or gather and therefore demonstrates exceptional standards of hygiene.
The heat of the blade is carefully maintained and controlled; therefore film material is rarely burnt onto the equipment (as is common with crimp sealing jaws). This leads to longer service life, reduced maintenance costs and associated downtime on the production floor, as well as reduced costs associated with spares and consumable parts.
The system also has improved Health & Safety features in comparison with traditional sealing methods; with no sharp cutting knives, and no hot bars to touch, it is safer for operators on the production floor.
Phil Hyde, QPH Business Development Account Manager said; “The Quick Pulse Heat sealing system offers manufacturers and retailers a cost effective way to reduce the amount of film packaging waste associated with their products without compromising the quality of the seal. With an estimated 1.2 million tonnes of plastic film arising every year in the UK waste stream alone (with around two-thirds of this post-consumer); our technology could make a huge difference to supporting individual manufacturer’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in regards to waste. Alongside this, the additional improvements in processes, and cost reductions from the production floor are extremely attractive benefits of the technology that are hard for manufacturers to ignore.”