24 Sep 2016

CUTTING, SLICING AND DICING – INTERFOOD HAS IT COVERED

Interfood Technology offers what is probably the largest range of equipment for cutting, slicing and dicing in Europe, with extensive experience in all areas.  Two of Interfood’s eight Divisions are dedicated to ‘Slicing’ and ‘Fresh Meat Portioning’, and a third - ‘Preparation’ - offers dicing and shredding as part of its equipment range.  In addition to the quality of the equipment, Interfood also focuses on the importance of service and support.  This can cover a wide range of areas - from risk assessments and method statements to equipment analysis, programme standardisation, programme set-up and improvements, service inspection and training - all of which can be key in optimising performance and achieving a low total cost of ownership (TCO).

TVI ASR300 MULTIPICK

Interfood’s Fresh Meat Portioning Division is responsible for the TVI range of equipment which provides options for the portioning of almost all types of fresh meat.  A new addition to the TVI range is the ASR 300 multipick, designed specifically for the production of shish kebabs.  The ASR 300 multipick robot automates the process of product skewering, tray loading, skewer and tray feeding, allowing the operatives to focus solely on providing the products.  This means that only 2 to 4 employees are required to produce the same amount of skewered product that would require 12 to 16 employees operating manually – a saving of 60% to 80% in labour. 

The machine reliably separates round sticks, flag sticks or steel sticks, feeding them to a robotic hand in batches of 12 and skewering the individual products according to the recipe.  It offers the option of skewering marinated raw product or marinating an entire skewer in a dip.  Continuing through the automated process, the skewers are placed on a conveyor belt or in denested trays, for onward processing/packaging.

Richard Nethercot, Product Manager for Interfood’s Fresh Meat Portioning Division, comments – “The ASR 300 is brand new to the UK but has already been well received in Europe with machines operating in Germany, Poland, Belgium and Holland, as well as in the USA.  Producing kebabs is typically very labour intensive and, therefore, a costly process.  Maintaining product consistency can also be an issue with manual production.  By automating the process, high levels of repetitive accuracy are achieved with the ASR 300’s exact, open, horizontal product cavities and precise robot positions producing outstanding product quality.  The symmetrical cavities, coupled with stick centering, ensure highly accurate central skewering of the product, with capacities from 1,500 to 4,200 kebabs/saté per hour achievable, depending on the recipe.”

Versatility is key to the entire TVI range and this is no exception with the ASR 300.  It can accommodate skewers with 2 to 18 individual pieces and multiple products - from meat, sausages and meatballs to vegetables, fruit and cheese.

WEBER S6

Interfood is the sole distributor in the UK and Ireland for the Weber and the Textor slicer ranges.  Interfood has recently added Textor to the equipment available from its dedicated ‘Slicing’ Division - slicers which are independently designed and assembled while utilising Weber’s established manufacturing capabilities and expertise.

The latest addition under development from Weber, which will be available on the market in 2017, is the S6. It offers high performance in a compact design which makes it ideally suited to applications where space is limited.  Despite a machine width of only 1,300mm, the S6 will offer an extra-wide slicing throat which can accommodate products up to 500mm wide.  This capacity, plus many of the integrated features within the S6, had previously only been available on machines requiring a much larger area in which to operate.

It features Weber’s involute blade, a durable and precise blade technology, which is produced at Weber’s own in-house blade facility.  It can operate with all Weber blade sizes, from the R365 through to the largest R515.

The open design of the S6 utilises some of the design principles of the already highly successful 906 series to ensure excellent visibility along with fast cleaning and optimised changeover times.  Combined with its compact footprint, this makes it a flexible and highly efficient solution for many applications.

Ease of operation and maximised machine uptime is ensured through a quick-change system, requiring no tools, for the blade, the shear bar and the gripper head. The new, fast in-line loading system optimises loading times and ensures secure transport of the product.

DICED MEAT SOLUTIONS

Through its Preparation Division, Interfood offers semi-automatic dicing solutions from Foodlogistik, an established manufacturer of dicing systems. Interfood has successfully commissioned several of these new systems in the UK, encompassing red meat dicing from tempered blocks and/or fresh primals, cheese shredding, egg dicing, and vegetable size reduction – with the potential to cover many other applications also possible.

The main focuses of the Foodlogistik range of dicing machines are:

  • Minimal human contact – the operator simply de-boxes the product, visually inspects and then pushes on to a belt (can also be manually loaded or via 200 litre Euro bin)
  • Blocks can also be passed through Metal detectors or X-ray to further guarantee the integrity of the material
  • Blocks will automatically fall into the hopper, fitted with level sensors to stop overloading – controlling its own material intake by stopping the belt if necessary
  • The material will automatically drop in to the chamber where a cross cut knife will drive through the block, filling the chamber and then encapsulating the material as it is driven through the various knife sets to produce an accurate cube, strip etc
  • These semi-automated dicing systems can also be programmed to allow the permanent storage of individual customers/end users requirements, and password protection also means operators cannot change these parameters, guaranteeing consistency 365 days of the year

Typically the material coming out of the machine on its built-in outfeed conveyor can be deposited into trays, 200 litre Euro bins, dolavs or can be conveyed to further processing.  This ensures greater flexibility and very minimal or no contact with the product once it has been de-boxed or unwrapped.

Attention has also been paid to hygiene, a major factor with all modern day machinery.  Foodlogistik machines completely strip down without the need for tools and are typically ready for clean down in only 5-10 minutes, with no blind spots that can lead to contamination.