Raise the bar in high volume drum forming

GEA has launched its new MaxiFormer rotary drum former for high-volume production of formed chicken, pork and meat replacement products. The technology offers increased production capacity, better consistency, improved filling accuracy, less product waste and significantly lower operating costs when compared with alternative forming systems. The unit is available in widths of 1 000mm and 600mm.

MaxiFormer rotary drum former

A key feature is the system’s innovative step-filling system, which manages communication between the Handtmann vacuum filler and former. Pressure used to fill each cavity is minimised, resulting in less waste, improved filling accuracy, higher quality formed product and excellent shape retention. It also reduces downtime for cleaning.

Filling accuracy

MaxiFormer’s unique drum design creates a more rigid structure that ensures consistent filling pressure across the entire width of the drum. This ensures a standard weight deviation that is 50 per cent less than its nearest competition. The drum has a unique knock-out system. The technology uses dry air at high pressure applied to relevant cavities, not the whole drum. This significantly reduces air usage and energy costs.

Paul Verbruggen, product manager – further processing explains, ‘Better weight control results in less product giveaway and the knock-out system uses up to 40 per cent less air. This means we can be confident in achieving the lowest total cost of ownership in drum forming.’

Size and new features make the GEA MaxiFormer the next big thing in drum forming. For 1 000mm wide lines, running one GEA MaxiFormer 1000 (compared with two 600 wide formers), is cost-efficient and space saving. It also delivers optimal belt loading, resulting in a much higher line throughput with fewer doubles down the line. Direct loading conveyors also eliminate the need for ‘Y’ conveyors and can therefore achieve much denser loading without compromising quality.

Efficient cleaning

MaxiFormer is complemented by the MaxiClean automated drum cleaner. Unlike ordinary drum cleaners this unit continually monitors temperature, flow and pressure of fluid during cleaning and compares it with data from a clean drum. This minimises cleaning time for each drum allowing faster product changeover and greater productivity.

Monitoring systems for the perfect mixture

In any forming machine the quality of the final product is determined by the mix. It is essential the meat is chilled to exactly the right level to achieve an optimum crystalline state, binding in required levels of water with minimum use of salt and phosphates. Get it wrong and the forming drum can quickly clog, which requires immediate cleaning. This creates unnecessary and unacceptable downtime for processors. Built into the mixer is a unique monitoring system that can detect exactly when the mix is in the ideal state for forming. If customers have difficulties in achieving the optimum mix or product quality, GEA’s support team can assist. Unique competences form a bridge between meat preparation, vacuum portioning and drum forming.