With production lines that can process and portion more than just one sausage type, food manufacturers gain the ability to create tastier product varieties. However, the flexibility of a wide range of products must not be at the expense of overall line availability - especially not due to time-consuming set-up times. The sausage processing at Edeka Südwest Fleisch demonstrates how flexibility and productivity can be perfectly combined.
The result is convincing - both in taste and appearance. At Edeka Südwest Fleisch production, they refer to a "buffet" when in one line three different sausage specialties are twice overlapped to create a shingled cut appearance. It is the distinctive feature of the slicer being used that enables the slicing ofall three types of sausage in one process, despite their signifcant differences in consistency. Edeka found the optimum solution for this challenge in a line concept from Weber Maschinenbau with TEXTOR Slicer TS700. There are multiple reasons for this new line's efficiency. Looking at it from a distance, it is the optimal and coordinated combination of the different line components in particular that provides the high performance. The necessary engineering for this was led by the project sales department of Weber Maschinenbau, the leading supplier of industrial slicer solutions. Due to many years of experience, this team of experts can deliver such a complex project with precision. project. The provided services ranged from the general design and integration of the necessary machine modules to commissioning. They also included factory acceptance within the scope of a FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) to the SAT (Site Acceptance Test) on site including handover to the customer.
Black pudding Blood sausage, liver roll, and head cheese are three typical cooked sausage specialties that are frequently sold in variety packs. Edeka Südwest Fleisch in Rheinstetten near Karlsruhe, Germany processes these three types of sausage in one production cycle. The new line is therefore equipped with a TEXTOR TS700 slicer. which uses a specially configured involute blade, that is able to simultaneously slice three varieties fast and precisely, despite their different textures and properties. Like all TEXTOR and Weber slicer blades, the Durablade involute blade used here is developed and manufactured in-house. According to Matthias Köster, Area Sales Manager at Weber Maschinenbau, the slicer is "specialized for processing boiled and cooked sausage as caliber goods. There is not a more powerful, flexible, hygienic and compact solution on the market." While the slicer's compact design makes for a small footprint, a large slicing chute and very short reloading time ensures high output. Performance and productivity thus the throughput are often crucial in a particularly fierce and competitive sausage market. High price pressure defines day-to-day business. In addition to product quality, every cent and every packaging counts. That is why the choice of equipment that provides top slicing results and high performance with functional and essential design features is crucial. All this is combined in the TEXTOR Slicer TS700, as the company stands for smart, simple and, above all, powerful solutions.
As the TS700 is suitable for a wide range of applications and is easy to modify, it is particularly suitable for food companies that are faced with rapidly changing food retail requirements and a growing need to produce more individual, smaller batches - in other words, the perfect choice for Edeka Südwest Fleisch. 18 different applications are pre-configured in the plant control. Due to the excellent presets in the automation, a product change is completed in just a few steps, and with the help of a module checklist that visually displays and confirms each work step for the operator. The set-up times for the same product type are less than 15 minutes. If the format changes on the packaging machine are more extensive and involve a blade replacement, "it can take half an hour," explains Christopher Benz, Operations Manager for sausage production at Edeka Südwest Fleisch. With its approximately 1,400 employees the plant, which was completed in Rheinstetten in 2011, supplies more than 1,100 supermarkets in southwest Germany from Lake Constance to the Saarland region. Considering quality and taste, Edeka is increasingly focusing on locally sourced products, animal welfare and sustainability. That is why Edeka is closely cooperating with around 800 regional farmers and also marketing of premium products. The meat originates from animals consistent with the German animal-welfare grade standards for farming 2 to 4.
So called meat loaf is an example of a popular cooler isle product fromustainable farming, which is also cut into fine slices by the TEXTOR slicer. While during the first order of the day the line still sliced and packaged three different boiled sausage specialties in double overlapping portions, the later processing of meat loaf looks somewhat different. The product infeed no longer feeds the TEXTOR slicer three times, but two times due to the larger product dimensions. For this application production, it was sufficient to adapt a few guides and vario parts relevant for slicing. There is also a slightly modified task for The TEXTOR overlapper is also slighly modified. Instead of three shingled layers on top of each other with double overlap, it only runs only two tracks with one overlap. In the end, 100 grams of two times three shingled slices overlapped make their way fully automated into the deep-drawn packaging. In times of material price increases l, the efficient and precise production of the Weber line with guaranteed minimum give-away and maximum yield area particular value add.
Both production examples illustrate how crucialshort set-up times areto ensure for high productivity. "The time required for a product changeover plays a major role," emphasizes Sven Kreiser from technical project management at Edeka Südwest Fleisch. Together with his colleague Christopher Benz, Sven Kreiser was deeply involved in the line conception and implementation of the project. "The communication with Mr Kasek, Mr Köster and the other members of the Weber project team was always straight forward, transparent and on equal footing. This was extremely important to us, because direct communication channels and the ability for fast decision-making can be pivotal to complete a project fast and successfully," emphasizes Sven Kreiser. At the end of the day or rather after successful release, what a line can be produce depends on the capability to find solutions. This is based on customer requests with the limitation of "what accessories are necessary for this project and how complex the whole thing may become", reports Weber project manager Dennis Kasek. In the case of the line in Rheinstetten, "complex" was especially true for the wide range of overlapping applications. Dennis Kasek: "This can be double, triple or even quadruple. We are extremely flexible and solution-oriented, depending on the customer's requirements."
Less complex, but all the more challenging, is the challenge: how can speed, variance and precision can be accommodated in a small footprint. "We saved a lot on the length of the plant layout," says Dennis Kasek. "Very few companies are blessed with space and there are always structural restrictions. But even in such cases, our diverse portfolio offers the necessary options to find the perfect solutions." Indeed, at Edeka, there are support beams that mark a virtual red line as to how wide the line may become. To accomodate the space, the Weber solution with theTEXTOR equipment does not contain generously dimensioned protective covers, among other things. This is not only a clear plus in terms of space savings, but also for easier cleanability. During the cleaning process, protective covers are usually in the way. In this case, the unique, open hygienic design of the TEXTOR slicer, which is equipped with robust technology in a high protection class, pays off, again. "The open design initially caused some skepticism with regard to operational safety, but the system runs reliably. Especiallywhen it comes to theslicer's inside, all functions are veryvisible and the whole thing can be cleaned thoroughly and easily. This truly was a good decision," said a happy Christopher Benz.
Machines are a means of operation - not an end in itself. It follows that production plants should ideally meet the expectations of the customer and their production staff. What sounds obvious, however, has its limits in real life implementation. "We generally want to receive what we ordered. That isn't necessarily the case with every manufacturer," notes Sven Kreiser. With this experience in mind, the investment decision-makers at Edeka Südwest Fleisch not only consider the hardware to be ordered, but in particular the working relationship along the way, the engineering expertise, and the service that it comes with. "We see a project through until it is really up and running. The personal contact also makes a big difference," emphasizes Matthias Köster, who is the first point of contact for Edeka Südwest Fleisch as the responsible sales representative.
According to Christopher Benz, Edeka is very satisfied with the service: "We have few partners with whom we work so well - even if there can be challenges in demanding projects. How we find a solution together is what counts. And it is exactly these types of challenges that ultimately tell the customer whether there is true substance behind the service and partnership promise or not."
Because of the expectation to have these lines readily available , service has to be fast and straightforward. "We keep this in mind especially as we might consider further investments," Sven Kreiser sums it up. Not surpising that Edeka Südwest Fleisch is among slicing expert Weber Maschinenbau's longest standing customers.
Picture: Christopher Benz (l.) und Sven Kreiser (r.), Edeka Südwest Fleisch
Author: Thorsten Sienk