ADDRESSING the food industry’s need for a hygienic, bulk ingredients, high-volume bag opening solution that eliminates dust and removes the associated H&S risks, Luxme International developed the MINILux, an automated food-grade bag slitter with self-contained dust collection and recovery.
Converting labour-intensive, inefficient processes into automated and sustainable ones, the MINILux recovers 1.5-2% more product at a rate 1.8-2x faster than a single bag dump station. Facilitating a healthy, safe, and hygienic working environment by recovering both airborne and trailing product, it also reduces waste and boosts profits.
Luxme’s MINILux automatic bag slitter eliminates dust, making manual bag stations redundant.
Safeguarding operator health
The health and safety challenges of handling dust-rich bulk ingredients – such as powders, mixes, spices, flours, dairy products, nuts, and seeds – are widely known, and the moment when bags are first opened is when the risk is greatest. Operators using manual bag dump stations are at increased likelihood of developing breathing and asthma-related conditions linked to working with airborne-rich materials in a dusty environment over prolonged periods. Certain ingredients, such as flour, are also known to be volatile; as well as the long-term health dangers, dust-rich environments present an explosion risk, too.
The MINILux protects workers from occupational breathing conditions and reduces the risk of explosion by containing all dust particles within the system itself, ensuring workspace air remains clean, safe and hygienic.
The MINILux is suitable for automatic slitting of 25kg bags of bulk ingredients.
Meeting air and workplace quality rules
There is also clear evidence that improved indoor air quality in workplaces boosts employee performance. Better air has been shown to lead to higher decision-making scores that give a productivity gain of US$17,000 per employee per year[i], as well as contributing to a 58% fall in sick leave[ii]. And with the World Health Organization placing increased focus on indoor air quality, encouraging countries to use its guidelines as a scientific basis for legally enforceable standards this is an issue that is only going to increase in significance. Businesses will soon prioritise indoor air quality, both to comply with existing regulations and get ahead of future legislation.
Comprising FDA-approved components the MINILux adheres to the highest standards of food hygiene.
Capable of opening up to six 25kg bags per minute, the MINILux is an all-in-one conveying, slitting, emptying, integral dust filtering, and empty bag compaction solution. Adhering to the highest standards of food hygiene, it features multiple clean-out access points for easy cleanability to ensure allergens and pathogens do not enter the food chain.
This is important for producers of specialist or ‘free-from’ food ranges. When making claims around a product’s integrity – be it organic, vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, or similar – it is crucial that they can be substantiated. Aside from the serious health risks associated with consuming a known allergen, brand reputation can be severely impacted if cross-contamination is found to have occurred. Consumers will only pay a premium for a specialist, niche product if they trust its authenticity, so adherence to the highest standards of hygiene is important for food producers in these markets.
The MINILux has been designed for versatility and efficiency. It processes most 25kg bag types and sizes on a continuous basis, allowing batches with a variety of bag sizes, weights, and constructions to be slit and opened in a single run without set-up adjustments. To accommodate clean-out, there are access panels on each of its four sides. In contrast to the typical enclosed design of most industrial equipment, it is far easier to clean and quicker to access, facilitating speedy yet safe product changeovers. All internal components have been designed to allow for easy and thorough food-safe cleaning. In addition, material finishes are of AAA quality; the highest food-grade standard available.
Boosting product recovery and profits
Bulk ingredients are an expensive commodity, and any wastage comes straight off a food processor’s bottom line – put simply, any product circulating in the air or leaving the plant within the empty bag represents lost revenue. By containing product within the system, the MINILux supports a safe and dust-free workspace and also reduces the volume of ingredients that are lost. Product recovery compared to a manual process is on average 1.5%-2% higher.
The MINILux’s product recovery system comes with an optional upgrade of a recovery tumbler complete with dust recovery. Opening, rotating, and tumbling empty bags numerous times, it releases any remaining product to make the solution more cost effective, boasting a 99.93-99.98% efficiency depending upon the free-flowing characteristics of the product.
A more cost-efficient alternative is the MINILux with the self-contained dust collection package. Offering the option of a six-inch spigot for direct connection to either a central dust collection system or associated venting, dust recovery can also be self-contained within the MINILux, with recovered product funnelled back into the process for re-use.
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