Efficiency and hygiene are integral parts of all food-processing solutions. Even more so today with grocery producers having to be fast and flexible to react to current trends and market developments. As a partner of the industry, Weber Maschinenbau is constantly tasked with developing versatile systems that provide added value to the production process. The Weber Shuttle System (WSS) sets new standards in food production and offers a flexible alternative to the conventional transport of portions via belt systems. E.g. sausage, ham and cheese portions are conveyed by the Weber Shuttle System in single units, precisely and gently to one or more handover points. Whenever needed, single portions can be accessed anytime during their transport.
The basic concept is equal to a transport track system with a series of stops that are targeted by portion carriers. Ahead of every stop there is a buffering zone that helps bridge the pauses needed for loading or to compensate other interruptions. At its handover point, the Weber Shuttle Loader, sliced portions are taken out and conveyed to any kind of drop-off zone. Based on every individual installation’s concept, portion carriers are offloaded manually or automatically. Ideally, a Weber Pick Robot will hand over the portions to a packaging machine. The Weber Shuttle System can be individually customized to fit constructional circumstances, so production is possible even on a small footprint. It does not require being set up in line and the transport track may be designed freely, using all available space in an optimal manner. Curves of 90° or even 180° can be included just as well as the conjunction of several systems through sophisticated crossings and switches.
As a part of our comprehensive solution concepts, the issue of hygiene is front and center in all our product development at Weber. Thanks to its full automation, the Weber Shuttle System scores very well with its contact-free processes and merely two portion handovers within the entire system. All system components are easily accessible and thus can be cleaned easily. Optionally, UVC germ prevention and removal can be integrated in a space-saving manner as well. Weber’s automated and continuous germ prevention and removal of all portion carriers during active operation reduces the risk of any microbiological contamination of the machine, adding furthermore and in a significant way to product safety.
A great advantage of the WSS is the multitude of its possible applications: this system deals with entry-level solutions like 100 - 200-gram packages of cooked sausage shingled or stacked just as well as it does with combinations of different products through complex processing lines – be it as a stand-alone application or in connection with existing Weber slicers. Additional transport tracks make the WSS flexibly expandable; this could be a model of serving up to nine slicers and several packaging machines or – alternatively – one slicer and up to nine packaging machines.
In order to present this new technology at FachPack, Weber shows a multifunctional setup of the Weber Slicer 804 and a Weber Pick Robot that takes hold of all single portions precisely and automatically. An integrated camera system detects the exact position of all portions and enables placement corrections of contorted portions as well as a turned-by-90° infeeding and complete filling of packages when portions overlap. The Weber Pick Robot, too, functions without any manual assistance. Its open build with Weber’s Hygienic Design contributes to a thorough and easy sanitation of all components.