Integration of State-of-the-Art Equipment on Existing Bar Processing Line

As one of the largest bar manufacturers in North America, our customer operates a number of facilities throughout the United States, to meet the demands of its customer base of premier food companies. This is an organization that is committed to the highest standards and dedicated to continuous improvement. They partner with their customers and strive to continually add value, exceed expectations and reach exceptional levels of performance.

A recent expansion included the acquisition of a new facility employing several production lines. The Challenge presented to Propack was that a critical unit op on one of the high-volume production lines, a bar guillotine, had reached its operating life cycle. This resulted in increased windows of downtime to address component failures and marginal quality in product cutting specifications.

Our customer’s stated objectives were to upgrade this section of the bar line to increase line efficiency and provide a more stable operation of the bar slitting and cutting process. Quality, safety, innovation, efficiency and flexibility needed to be addressed and were driving their requirement to improve the process through integration of new cutting-edge equipment.

Propack proposed a new, state-of-the-art guillotine, incorporating Rockwell Automation control architecture along with ultrasonic cutting technology to be integrated within the existing bar processing, cutting, enrobing and distribution system.

Ultimately, the solution provided by Propack was the Ultrasonic Guillotine that can accept pre-slit slab or extruded ropes, capable of cutting bars at rates up to 30 cuts per minute each with ‘on the fly’ bar length adjustment ranging from 3” to 6” (75mm -160mm) in length, capable of cutting pre-slit slab or extruded product.

This machine was configured and designed by our Propack Engineers, to meet the compact space requirements, offering full sanitation capability allowing the customer to quickly remove rollers, belts for remote cleaning and re-install to production operation with minimal changeover.

To implement the comprehensive solution, Propack provided complete machine integration with the existing bar processing line, remediating the existing installation to new condition, upgrading control programs and providing an updated documentation set for maintenance.

The Propack team successfully managed the integration of the supplied equipment, that included:

  • The new equipment control technology (Rockwell Automation based) was to be integrated within an existing bar line (Schneider Modicon control)
  • The guillotine was to operate in two modes – ‘Slab’ mode where the guillotine was paced to a master line rate set by bar processing and ‘Extruder’ mode, where for some products, the slitting equipment would be removed and a portable extruder would be employed to deliver product to the guillotine.
  • Working with existing line controls that had been modified over time with minimal supporting documentation adding to challenges in control integration.
  • The existing line controls required remediation to ensure proper equipment integration.

The outcome has been a significant increase in production and overall line efficiencies. The added sanitation capability has provided a benefit that was not previously realized with the replaced guillotine. This, along with added remediation support for maintenance, provided the customer with a fully self-sustaining operation.

Our customer has been very happy with the improvement of the system and production on a high-volume line, the performance of the equipment and continuous success and growth of their business.