Windmöller & Hölscher designs press for sausage skin
Specialist in materials to the meat processing industry Budapest based Hungaro Casing Kft has invested in a specially modified Soloflex press to flexo print extremely narrow webs of difficult to handle artificial sausage skins, reports Windmöller & Hölscher.
Established in 1992, today Hungaro Casing is a modern mixed operation specializing in spices as well as natural sausage skin, with a new factory in Budapest that has been in operation since September, 2002, and at two other locations in Hungary.
Initially housed in the old Budapest central slaughterhouse, the company has developed and expanded over the years and now serves the market with all kinds of auxiliary materials for the meat processing industry. The staff of initially six employees has grown to 160, and annual sales total approximately €25M.
Hungaro Casing’s product portfolio encompasses printed and gathered artificial skin, shrink tubes for small poultry parts and even hooks for the sausage products. In addition to the meat industry, the company also serves dairies as well as the confectionery and frozen food industries.
Initial contacts with Windmöller & Hölscher sales agent Eumatex were established back in 1995, when the company started printing artificial sausage skin, in those days on just one machine. Two years later, the printing operation was extended. Growing demands on print quality meant further investments in new technologies were needed.
Three years ago, W&H was asked if it could supply a press capable of printing artificial sausage skin and shrink tubes. The challenge then was to design a flexographic press for extremely narrow webs (the maximum printing width is 600mm) and capable of printing tubular material on the face and reverse side using a web turning station. Eight colour print was required on either side. Specifications also included a drying system geared to the specific applications involved as well as a powder station for the processing of film tubing. “What we want to do is to rush laces through the machine,” said production manager at Hungaro Casing László Loerincz.
The materials to be printed are anything but easy to handle. The shrink tube behaves like an elastic band in the machine – not a very easy task for the tension control system to cope with, stressed W&H, especially as the artificial skin is no more than 5–6cm wide. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that one side of the material is taut while the other side is extremely slack. Future plans also include processing of flat film.
Both solvent based NC inks and two-component water based inks are used.
The result of the jointly specified machine configuration, the special purpose Soloflex went through its trials in Lengerich in October last year and since November has been performing successfully in Hungara Casing’s impressive new factory.
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