Fast and flexible interleaver stacker for tasty dough.

Dealing with product variations can be a challenge in automation, but nothing that advanced mechatronics cannot solve. Avercon built an interleaver stacker for Vandemoortele to automate a tedious manual process in the packaging of frozen dough discs. Combined with an existing foil packing machine and palletiser, a new, integrated, high-speed packaging line was built.

The interleaver stacker receives dough discs from a freezer and stacks them with paper leaves inserted between the discs. In the past, stacking was a manual process to cope with product variations. With advanced mechatronics, Avercon not only managed to tackle these variations but also succeeded in speeding up the process significantly. While other manufacturers offered to build two machines to feed the existing foil packing machine, Avercon got the speed so high that one machine could handle the process add up to one dough disc per second.

“By using a Digital Twin for virtual commissioning, we have succeeded in starting up this packaging line within the requested timing and with a top-quality result.”

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Avercon got the speed so high that one machine could handle the process add up to one dough disc per second.

The paper leaves come from a roll which  is cut to the right length depending on the option selected by the operator. A second roll on the machine allows the operator to prepare for product changes so they  can be done on the fly without interrupting the process.

A key step in getting the mechatronics right at the required speed was the use of a Digital Twin that allowed the simulation of all movements based on the actual controller to be used in the machine. At this stage, Avercon also built the integration with the existing foil packing machine and palletiser to allow the simulation of the complete packaging line with integrated controls and mechanics. The use of the Digital Twin resulted in a fully tested design which allowed for a fast implementation on-site – ready for production within two weeks.

Another important requirement in the development of this machine was food safety. Throughout the development process, all aspects of the machine were designed and built with best practices and regulations with food safety in mind. The machine has an open structure with transparent housing which allows great visibility and easy cleaning. The framework is built with bars in diamond setup so they cannot collect any dust and the overall design allows for operations and maintenance away from the actual food line.

With this interleaver stacker, Avercon has built a future-proof, integrated solution that exceeded the initial requirements and expectations of the client, allowing efficient and carefree production.

With this interleaver stacker, Avercon has built a future-proof, integrated solution that exceeded the initial requirements and expectations of the client, allowing efficient and carefree production.

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