IMA DAIRY & FOOD Installs Sharpening Grinder for Monomaterial Cup Packaging Cutting Technology

With addition of new grinder, company’s ZERO Technology cutting tools, which allow food manufacturers to easily break monomaterial multipacks into individual cups, can now be sharpened on-site in Massachusetts.

IMA DAIRY & FOOD USA – whose equipment solutions comprise the long-established brands Gasti, Hamba, Hassia, Fillshape, Corazza, Erca, AlphaMAC and Intecma – has installed a sophisticated grinder to expedite the cutting tool sharpening process for its ZERO Technology, a capability that helps food brands adopt sustainable, monomaterial cup packages. Highlighted by an easily extractable central cutting unit (CCU), the Zero Technology process already featured minimized production downtime for change-outs, low spare part costs and a high number of punches between sharpenings. With grinding technology allowing for on-site sharpening of individual cutting teeth, downtime is further decreased for food brands seeking solutions for incorporating sustainable cup packaging materials.

IMA’s patented ZERO Technology can cut up to 24 cups simultaneously, providing high quality cutting and pre-cutting of eco-conscious materials such as PET, PP and PLA. This allows for easily breaking multipacks into individual units – a notoriously cumbersome process that has limited the use of monomaterial packaging materials.

The newly incorporated, on-site grinder allows for easy re-sharpening of punches without delay. The grinder’s wheel head has an extremely rigid structure, with a motor assembly mounted in a heavy casting casing. This setup offers the dual benefits of balancing the masses and packing the back side of the guideways, thereby limiting adjustments, and avoiding flexion. An additional vertical spindle can be fitted as an option in the wheel head for specific grinding operations. The cartridge wheel-spindle arrangement has three pairs of precision angular contact bearings mounted on a nitride hardened spindle, providing the rigid support required for high metal sharpening accuracy.

While the grinder can be outfitted or retrofitted onto most form-fill-seal machines, FFS equipment from companies in the IMA family seamlessly incorporate Zero Technology with advanced grinding capabilities.

Using an interchangeable cutting elements setup that allows individual tool components to be expediently replaced onsite, line stoppage can be reduced to 20 minutes rather than the onerous 3-6 hours required to switch out an entire cutting tool. This simple “building block” approach also internalizes the servicing process, keeping the tool’s various components in-house for ongoing maintenance rather than shipping the entire cutting tool to an external entity.

Cost of ownership also is significantly reduced. This is because internally replacing CCUs piecemeal is far less expensive than replacing entire cutting tools externally. In addition, IMA’s Zero Technology cutting tools are more robust than conventional tools, yielding upwards of 7 million punches between sharpenings – double or even triple that of traditional cutting tools.

ZERO Technology uses independent sleeves that allows cup design changes without the need to manufacture an entirely new thermoforming mold. The result is a by-design materials agnosticism that can help food brands take important next steps in sustainability.

Notably, outfitting a formed cup with a PET lid and label creates a completely recyclable package for premium sustainability. In addition, the use of transparent monomaterials makes the product visible to consumers, enhancing on-shelf aesthetics.

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