While the trend for high-speed cartoners for frozen foods and ready meals is not new, the machinery used has become increasingly sophisticated. Additionally, carton packs and products are more innovative, and product lines are able to deliver the goods at dramatically higher speeds, meeting the ever-growing needs of the retail industry.
Growth of the High-Speed Cartoner Industry
Frozen foods were first packaged in the early 1940s in response to the rationing of tinned foods during World War II. Right from the start, cartoning machines were fully automated and used for popular TV dinners like pizza and frozen fish fingers as well as ice cream. Packaging initially focused on simple paperboard cartons but soon grew to accommodate all kinds of pack shapes and styles as well as different formats. This, in turn, prompted machine-makers to develop and manufacture packaging machinery that could produce new, different, and even unique packaging needs.
Packaging companies worldwide have pioneered the development of paperboard substrates that can be used to package any type of frozen food profitably.
The High-Speed Cartoner Industry Today
Today, the frozen food industry is worth more than US$10,57 billion. Companies like Technik Packaging Machinery are able to supply reliable high-speed cartoners to meet the needs of vast and varied projects. Machinery is ergonomically designed and both efficient and easy for trained staff to operate.
The new generation of high-speed cartoners caters for typical food items and can also be tailored to meet the needs of individual customers. For example:
- Everyday food products like fish fingers, beef burgers, and even ice lollies are often packed in top-load cartons that require formers and closers. Machines generally have the ability to combine glue- or lock-style cartons on a single machine, dramatically increasing speed capacity up to 120 cartons a minute using just one carton-forming head.
- A range of straight-lined, right-angled, and variable-pitched systems for closing cartons can accommodate the various glue and lock devices. Some machines use even more advanced technology that allows the use of pop-up lugs, which in turn allows random timing of infeeds and controls closing by prompting a lug only when a carton is presented. This allows for the use of a greater range of carton sizes on one machine.
- Many ready meals including pies, pizza, and frozen quiche are packaged with end-load cartoners. These systems require a high degree of precision particularly in terms of exact size and speed requirements. It is vital that performance is absolutely predictable and consistent for productivity so that changeovers are as fast as possible, minimizing wastage and downtime.
- Wrap-around cartoners may be used for ice cream and related products that are packaged in pots or tubs. This can reduce the amount of carton board used, making the packaging more economical without reducing shelf appeal. Generally, items can be packaged individually or in single or double rows. They may even be stacked. A wide range of shapes, as well as styles, may be used. A carton blank is positioned over the tubs and it is then folded around them and glued underneath.
As the retail food industry continues to grow, there is no doubt that the packaging industry will continue to develop to meet its needs.
Technik Packaging Machinery takes pride in providing reliable equipment that meets the needs of its customers within their budget. How can we help you?