Nercon knows Frozen Pizza Conveyor Systems
September 19, 2017
We know Frozen Pizza Packaging
Frozen pizza is big business. $4.6 billion dollars big. Not only does that mean that Americans love, and frequently eat, pizza, but that there is a lot of pizza getting made for us to eat.
In today’s age of choice, gone are the days of simply choosing from cheese, sausage or pepperoni on your original crust pizza. Consumers demand variety - and manufacturers are delivering.
Walking through the frozen pizza section in any grocery store, you’ll see: self-rising crust, ultra-thin crust, hand-tossed crust, gluten-free crust, stuffed crust, deep-dish, wood-fired, large, family-sized pizzas down to single-serve pizzas, breakfast pizzas, dessert pizzas, square pizzas, oval pizzas, french bread and flatbread pizzas.
This variety is great for those who love their pizza, but this variety poses great challenges to manufacturers. Marketers at pizza manufacturers want to give their customers choices and want to stand out from their competition. But those choices, and the varying properties of each type of pizza, affect production and packaging operations; including conveyor systems.
Nercon knows Frozen Pizza Conveyor Systems
Conveyor systems are a critical component to the overall success of the production line, but oftentimes, overlooked. We have worked with several frozen pizza manufacturers over the years to provide conveyor systems that have increased production efficiencies and speeds, while maximizing floor space, in order to keep up with demand and control costs.
When partnering with our customers to provide them with a frozen pizza conveyor system, we always take into consideration the following:
- Product handling and speed
- Sanitation and cleaning
- Product merging
- Conveyor controls and complete integration
Gentle, Frozen Pizza Handling at High Speeds
Frozen pizzas are delicate and consumers expect the crust to be completely intact with all toppings on the pizza, and evenly spaced, when purchasing. Pizzas with differing shapes, sizes, crusts and toppings will travel differently on a conveyor system.
We know how to gently move and transfer pizzas throughout the production line without losing toppings or damaging the product - and at speeds up to 180 per minute.
The goal is always to keep the toppings on the pizza, but from time-to-time some will come loose. Our sanitary conveyor systems are built for easy and quick cleaning during shift or product changeover.
- In-place, high-pressure washdown removes scrap cheese, sauce and other toppings from the belt or chain
- Removable guide rails and wear strips lift up easily to clear out any fallen product
- Welded frame construction prevents contamination build-up
- Self-draining, bent frame construction to eliminate water pooling
- Built to USDA and other agency compliance specifications
Expanding production to keep up with sales demands creativity. Oftentimes there isn’t room, or budget, for multiple pieces of the same type of packaging equipment. Our conveyor and merging systems knowledge and experience has proven invaluable with frozen pizza applications.
We have designed a system utilizing 3 conveyor lanes of pizzas discharging out of a freezer (at 180 pizzas per minute), merged down to 2 conveyor lanes for the shrink wrappers, while lining up product to eliminate empty spaces and empty packaging.
In another, we went from 4 rows of pizzas, going 150 per minute, down to only 1 row for wrapping at a flex wrapper.
Providing the right frozen pizza conveyor system doesn’t simply end at the physical conveyor construction. To be complete, we must also consider how the conveyors are controlled. As part of Rockwell Automation’s PartnerNetwork, we know controls.
A frozen pizza production line will have conveyors in many places; from freezer to shrink wrapper, from wrapper to cartoner, from cartoner to case packer, from case packer to palletizer. Wouldn’t it be ideal if all the conveyors could communicate with all the other equipment on the packaging line to control the flow of the frozen pizzas? And from only one control panel? That’s what we do with our controls integration.
Our controls engineers have the expertise to integrate the entire system to control the flow of pizzas going into or out of equipment up and downstream. And, all from one control panel.
We know there’s a lot that goes into the planning, and execution, of a successful frozen pizza production and packaging line. And we know a conveyor system is just one piece of a very large puzzle. But, we also know not having the right conveyor system in place can affect the output of the entire line. In a $4.6 billion industry, every minute, and every pizza, is big bucks.