It's a gas, but how much?
A modified atmosphere of carbon dioxide (20 percent) and oxygen (80 percent) ensures a prolonged shelf life for the products while maintaining their attractive appearance. The gases are drawn into the packaging chamber under negative pressure.
Quality assurance is a vital part of KødGrossisten’s operation, and ensuring the correct gas mixture enters each tray is essential. Until recently, the company used a Dansensor CheckMate 3 headspace analyzer to randomly test packages five times a day.
When the time came to replace the existing headspace analyzer, KødGrossisten contacted Dansensor. The supplier carried out a MAP audit at the plant and demonstrated that an online headspace analyzer would pay for itself in a relatively short period of time, saving on packaging materials that are discarded during the manual testing process and the labor costs associated with manual testing.
“When Dansensor told us it was developing a brand-new online gas analyzer, we agreed they could use our packaging machine for testing the new instrument,” says KødGrossisten’s Anette Frølund, who is responsible for quality assurance on the MAP line.
The MAP Check 3 vacuum analyzer was installed on the line and has been operating for a number of months. It constantly measures the gas mixture throughout each packaging cycle and stops the packaging machine if preset limits are exceeded. All the data is automatically logged and can be simply downloaded and stored.
“With the previous system, people working on the line had to remember to carry out the testing five times each day,” says Frølund. “Now, they do not have to do anything unless the machine stops which, so far, it has not.”
The manual testing regime used to result in around 1,500 packages being discarded each year. This waste is now avoided. The online system also saves many labor hours each year that were previously needed for manual testing.
“But for me, the main advantage is the security of the system,” says Frølund. “It is much more accurate, and it gives us, and our customers, confidence and peace of mind. To me, that is its greatest value.”
The operating simplicity of the system and its data logging capabilities are also big benefits, according to Frølund. “It is very easy to operate; you do not need specialist training or any kind of technical expertise. And the data logging is very useful. You just plug in a cable and download all the relevant data. We no longer need to write down the results of testing and archive them manually. We can show our customers and the inspectors the results on the computer, and they are satisfied.”