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Using PE film and FFS technology

The benefit of using PE film for cement packing is becoming ever more widely recognised. The cost is lower compared to paper valve sacks and the waste packaging much easier to dispose of, but more importantly the product is better protected against moisture and the end user reduces product wasted in storage or on site. All this makes PE film the material of choice particularly for premium grade and specialist products.


The new system from Concetti provides a completely sealed bag using plain LLDPE film without any micro perforations to both preserve the product quality and extend the shelf life, with outputs from 400 to 800 bags/hr depending on product and pack weights in the range 10 to 25Kg.

Using form, fill and seal (FFS) machines for fine powders can sometimes be difficult for several reasons. A fine powder does not release air trapped during the filling cycle like a coarse granular material might. Unless most of this air is removed from the sealed bag palletising will be troublesome and in extreme cases, impossible. Removing the air is usually achieved by micro perforating the film either directly or through a labyrinth arrangement so air is released slowly after filling and sealing. Unfortunately this can also allow moisture ingress over time.

For cement and premix manufactured as a fine powder intended for mixing with water on site, any moisture ingress in storage is obviously extremely unwelcome.

Concetti have long experience with these fine powders on their Continua FFS machines and already had a system for evacuating air from bags without micro perforations and so, only some small additional development were needed to increase the output speed. The new unit is a linear FFS now with six stations.

Product is dosed gravimetrically using an abrasion resistant two-speed screw feeder into a net weigher. The screw can be fitted with an automated air blast system to clean the screw flights between products where necessary and a rear outlet allows any residue to be discharged into a container with the screw running in reverse.

A dust tight filling spout allows the bag to be filled and deaeration probes carry out the first stage of air removal from the filled bag. The bag is closed and indexed to two additional stations both equipped with vibration to assist in further settling of the product before closing. Station number five also has a device for partial evacuation of any remaining air. Once the air is evacuated, the bag top is cleaned and heat applied to give a hermetically sealed pack.

Sack mouth cleaning prior to sealing is vital to ensure reliable closing. Concetti can also offer a feature where the bag top is double sealed to further ensure security of the closure.

Finally, on station six the bag top is cooled to increase the seal strength before the filled bag is released. An adjustable bag flattener on the downstream conveying line presses the bag to give a more compact and consistent shape. The result is a completely sealed, well shaped bag without excessive air trapped inside that can be easily and confidently palletised.



Multi-functions Palletising Systems


The Concetti Group is a leading supplier of turn-key bagging and palletising lines for the pet food industry worldwide. Latest developments in the palletising field include a system with both robotic and conventional palletising for cartons, shelf ready packs and paper or PE bags, including an innovative bag-in-box facility.

Many dry pet food producers serve demanding markets and provide an extremely wide range of products for dogs and cats in many different sizes and formats to suit the end users. So, flexibility is a key requirement but for this application the range was essentially all in small pack weights, speed was a major factor, particularly in the palletising of bags.

Palletiser for bag in box

Gripper for bag in box

The newly developed system receives products including Shelf Ready Packs from four (4) automatic carton/box filling lines and two (2) automatic vertical FFS machines, all of which were existing. One VFFS machine's output can be diverted via a collation shrink wrapping system to bring several small bags together for ease of handling. Concetti supplied the high level carton and bag conveying systems including an elevator as part of the project.

Empty pallets are stored in one dispensing system capable of holding three different sized pallets including half Euro Pallets. Each dispenser is adjustable to handle any of the pallet sizes and dispense them as requested by the system to any of four different robotic pallet build stations, using a shuttle conveyor. Each robot has two case infeed points and two pallet build positions plus a separate interlayer sheet magazine with two different sheet sizes available. The robots supplied were KUKA type KR180 3200 each equipped with a Concetti designed pick-up tool for multiple packs.

articulated palletising robot for cartons

The packs are grouped and oriented to allow the printed data to appear on the outward facing surfaces, before arriving at the pick up point. Packs can be turned upside down to allow the lid to be used as the base for the Shelf Ready system.

Gripper for shelf ready packs

The multi-pack pick up head allows the robots to cycle at moderate speeds and handle the cartons gently to avoid product damage and ensure the Shelf Ready Packs reach the retailer in perfect condition. The heads also incorporate vacuum cups for picking and placing interlayer sheets according to the programme. Pallets can be stacked up to 2400mm high.

Bags from one or other of two VFFS machines are handled either individually or as a collation shrink pack, by a Concetti PS-AA conventional layer palletiser. Pack weights are from 3-6Kg and speeds up to 2700 bags/hr depending on pack size and layer pattern. Bag orientation is by a double turning post system. The PS-AA has it's own pallet dispenser adustable for Euro, Half Euro or CP 1 pallet sizes together with bottom sheet dispenser. In a highly innovative development, Concetti incorporated into the design telescopic arms with suction pick-up heads to load boxes into pre-erected corrugated cases for extra protection in transit and storage.

High level multi functional palletizer

In this way the PS-AA can handle bags separately or collated in shrink film as a convention layer palletiser, or to stack individual bags inside cases on Euro or CP1 pallets. The empty cases are fed manually at present but the system is designed to accept cases from an automatic erector in the future.

Loaded pallets are brought to a single point from the robot build stations and the PS-AA bag palletiser by pallet cross transfer systems and chain conveyor. From this position pallets are conveyed into an automatic stretch wrapper.

Control of the system is by preset programmes created, edited and managed by Concetti's easy to use Touch Screen system. The great majority of the project used standard Concetti components and systems but brought together in an imaginative way with the customer's close support to provide a system that is reliable, flexible, easy to use and maintain. The user has the widest possible choice of packaging and palletising methods to satisfy the most demanding clients

The entire system was as is usual in the Concetti philosophy, built and tested at the factory before shipment to give the customer the assurance of a rapid and trouble free start-up on site.

Keeping an eye on your production with integrated IP cameras

Concetti have successfully integrated a video monitoring system onto their bagging lines improving the operation, efficiency and troubleshooting capabilities.

By installing IP cameras in key-areas of the packaging line and providing the operator's desk with a video screen, you can monitor the key functions of the bagging line without moving position. This is time saving time and increasing the operator's daily efficiency.

In addition, should you require the helping hand of a Concetti hot line engineer, you can allow us to remotely access the video system via a safe connection providing quicker and easier support for troubleshooting.


Main benefits of this system

  • Key points of the machine are under control

  • More efficient, time saving bagging line operation

  • Quicker and easier support available for troubleshooting

Technical features and operation of the system

  • The system is based on IP (Internet Protocol) cameras, comprising:
  • High Definition IP cameras

  • POE (Power Over Ethernet) switch for connecting and powering the IP cameras

  • NVR (Network Video Recorder)

  • UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) for the main power supply of the whole camera system

  • Internet Teleservice via the normal VPN connection between the client and Concetti designed for the maximum safety, convenience and ease of use as possible.


The cameras are for Day & Night Mode, IP type with LED High Definition 1.3M Pixel 1280x960 25 fps (frames per second) with h264 data compression (superior image quality) and are connected to the POE Switch (Power Over Ethernet) via rj45 special ports and an Ethernet cable for both data transfer and power supply.

Each camera sends two data streams:

  • Primary: This data stream is what is actually recorded and can be set in various definitions depending on the data stream that you want to manage.
  • Secondary: This data stream is sent continuously at a low resolution to allow even remote viewing "configured in the camera."

The POE Switch is also connected to the Network Video Recorder and the Teleservice.

The Network Video Recorder allows for a quick system overview by the operator through a multiple frame display.

In addition, this allows continuous recording of the primary video stream sent from (up to 8) the cameras. The duration of the recorded video depends on the hard disk capacity, the number of cameras, the clip resolution etc., and once the hard disk is full, the video is overwritten.

Many settable functions optimize the video stream management, including the possibility to divide the primary video stream into clips of settable duration recorded as high resolution files. Files can be quickly searched based on the recording time.

Teleservice Enhancement
Via the safe VPN connection of the Teleservice, the Network Video Recorder is remotely accessible by "Concetti Hotline". Concetti can thus observe the line via web streaming or download selected frames for effective troubleshooting.

“Dry as a bone”: rainproof packaging down under with Concetti. A case story from Australia

Concetti have recently supplied a complete FFS line to Westbuild, a building products supplier in Wangara, allowing them to launch Australia's first plastic bag containing dry mix concrete. The benefits are enormous for both retail and trade stores and most importantly for the end users.

Main benefits:

  • Rainproof bags: protection against rainwater for a reliable outdoor storage on pallets
  • Increased shelf life of the product
  • Tougher bags: tear resistant and less likely to break
  • Compact bags: great for good pallet stack presentation and stability
  • No dust: clean and safe working environment
  • No spillage: bags are much cleaner to handle and easier to transport
  • Better accuracy for each bag (compared to valve bag technology)
  • Easier to recycle: polyethylene (PE) packaging requires less energy to recycle than traditional paper bags

Concetti conducted a telephone interview with Mr Marcus Parlapiano, Sales Manager of Westbuild, an independent, family owned supplier of packaged building products in Wangara, near Perth, Western Australia. Concetti have recently supplied a complete line using FFS technology with a PS-AB low level palletiser and stretch wrapper. The line handles Westbuild's general purpose, quick setting and high strength dry-mix concrete products.

CN: Mr Parlapiano thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for this feature. Firstly, we wanted to know the reasons for Westbuild moving from paper packaging to a labyrinth sealed PE bag?

MP: Westbuild like to offer customers innovative solutions and value for money. By using PE sacks sealed against moisture and extending the product shelf life we were able to do both and of course, we were aware that PE packaging of dry cementitious materials was becoming the accepted norm in Europe.

Being able to store the pallets outside is a big advantage for our distributors and us. People might think it's always dry and sunny in Western Australia but we get our fair share of wet weather in Perth and keeping cement based products dry is just as important as anywhere in Europe.

And because there's no leakage the pack is much cleaner to handle which helps both our DIY and professional users.

CN: What made you choose Concetti for your new line?

MP: We looked at a number of suppliers but Concetti impressed us from the start. They asked the right questions and gave us some useful advice. They prepared a detailed offer with a layout drawing showing a nice, compact arrangement. The fact that they built everything in one factory and could test the whole line together was also a benefit. Being so far away we wanted to be absolutely sure everything was right before shipment.

We visited some lines in the UK and Italy and also the very impressive Concetti factory near Perugia. This all gave us a lot of confidence that Concetti would be a reliable partner and I'm glad to be able to say we reached an agreement on price and were able to place the order.

CN: What features particularly impressed you about the Concetti line?

MP: The air evacuation system is essential to get a good, tight pack. This reduces the amount of pressing needed and helps to give an excellent pallet presentation. Lots of customers comment on the appearance of our pallets. Also, the flexibility to allow different products to be handled with all the settings being changed automatically saves a lot of time if you have short job runs.

The teleservice gives us the reassurance that Concetti's technicians in Italy can resolve any small problems quickly. The line was delivered on time and was installed and commissioned without any problems. We expected a lot from Concetti and we haven't been disappointed.

CN: Would you consider using Concetti again in the future?

MP: You bet! We have had great support from everybody at Concetti all the way through. If we have other projects in future we'll certainly ask Concetti.

CN: Mr Parlapiano, many thanks for your time.

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