COVINGTON, La. - Allpax Products, a division of Pro Mach, delivered seven jumbo retorts to a multi-national food manufacturer within a six month window, while saving the manufacturer 20 percent of the capital cost of the project. Additionally, the new retort's dual process mode capability expanded capacity, made the plant more flexible, and lowered labor costs within the retort room.
This multi-national food manufacturer wanted to completely replace all of its aging retorts at one facility in favor of a new fully automated retort room. The company also wanted an automated retort batch reporting system fully compliant with new FDA regulations. The plant's production requirements could only be achieved through the addition of 1800mm retorts commonly referred to as jumbo retorts due to their 1.8 meter (5 foot 10.9 inch) diameter and six-basket capacity.
The problem for the manufacturer was that the retort room did not have the width to accommodate 10 side-by-side jumbo retorts - the number needed to meet the planned for increase in capacity. Allpax personnel examined the available floor space in terms of width and length, taking into account the space required for an automated loading/unloading system.
The Allpax solution to the limited width in the room was to manufacture retorts eight baskets long, not six, as the standard jumbos are. The eight basket retorts would be 38 feet, an extension of 8 feet over the six basket retorts. Allpax's axial retort doors, which open up, not out, would help ensure the retorts fit into the available space.
The seven longer retorts could stand in place of the ten shorter units and meet capacity requirements. Three fewer retorts meant the food manufacturer realized a 20 percent savings as compared to the cost of 10.
New retorts process either cans or flexible packaging
The company asked Allpax whether it could develop dual-mode jumbo retorts that could process either cans or flexible packaging. This ability to process both types of packaging would give the company both flexibility and the potential to lower future capital costs. Allpax has extensive experience in both technologies and designed the new jumbo retorts as dual mode; saturated steam for can processing or water spray overpressure processing for flexible containers. Operators simply select the desired mode. There are no change parts required to switch between modes.
Allpax was responsible for providing the supervisory control and reporting software needed for retort operation and for generating reports that would be used for FDA reporting purposes. Allpax personnel also programmed the new fully automated retort room loading/unloading system, where filled and sealed cans are automatically loaded into baskets, transported to and loaded into the retorts, unloaded after the processing, and then transported back to the packaging line where they are labeled, packed into cases, and shipped. As designed by Allpax, the automated retort room - loading/unloading automation and seven jumbo retorts - can be managed by a single operator. For all of its programming needs, Allpax has a team of software engineers. These engineers are available 24/7 to log into a retort via virtual private network and troubleshoot problems.
"One of our people said that we were able to meet the manufacturer's need for jumbo retorts and automated loading/unloading within six months because Allpax is nimble," said Greg Jacob, vice president and general manager, Allpax. "Nimbleness is part of it, but in addition our depth of expertise in both the hardware and software of retort technology is what made the difference for this customer and all of our customers."
For information on Allpax's production retorts, R&D retorts, control systems, loading/unloading automation, refurbished retorts, and products and services for older canneries relying on vertical retorts, call 1-888-893-9277 and visit www.allpax.com. 985.893.9277
About Allpax Products
Allpax Products, a market leader in retort technology and retort room automation, designs, manufactures, and delivers turnkey sterilization solutions for the food, beverage, pet food, and pharmaceutical industries. The company is recognized for helping customers become more successful by decreasing time to market with laboratory retort equipment, lowering overall labor costs through automation, and increasing the overall throughput of the sterilization process. www.allpax.com
About Pro Mach
Pro Mach, Cincinnati, Ohio, is a leading provider of integrated packaging products and solutions for food, beverage, household goods, pharmaceutical, and other diverse consumer and industrial companies. Through three business units and related divisions, Pro Mach provides equipment, training, installation, and parts in primary packaging, end-of-line packaging, and identification and tracking. ProMachInc.com
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