Innovative packaging machine for small and mid-sized actors

Belgium – led by University of Ghent and PACK4FOOD

Current situation requiring improvements 

For small and mid-sized actors, manual handling represents a considerable amount of time and hinders productivity and potential exploitation on the market.

Main activities in FAIRCHAIN

  • Development of a mobile and flexible packaging machine for short (small batches, diverse batches) up to long production runs with possibilities for sustainable packaging materials
  • Developmentof guidelines for hygienic design of packaging machines
  • Use of ICT/blockchain technology for equipment sharing

The case study will focus on the vegetable and fruit industry, but application can be extended to the dairy sector.

Progress to date

  • The prototype is designed to accommodate various types of packaging materials, including bio-based and recyclable spouted pouches.
  • Principles of hygienic design have been integrated into the mobile packaging machines. This will ensures that the equipment is easy to clean, maintain, and operate, contributing to food safety and extending the shelf life of packaged food products.
  • Both hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid are chosen as disinfectants due to their sustainability. These compounds degrade into water and oxygen and carbon dioxide, minimizing their environmental impact.
  • Mobile packaging, shared use in a cooperative, and individual ownership models are being explored. (Microbiological) air quality during (semi) liquid food packaging is quantified. These assessments serve as a basis for establishing guidelines tailored to the particular filling and packaging environment, especially when the packaging machines are intended for shared use.