Nichrome Filpack Servo 12K

Pouch-forming, filling, and sealing 12,000 packs in 60 minutes, this is the fastest milk packaging machine on the market, finds out Rushikesh Aravkar

14 Sep 2017 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

What does it do?
This is a twin-head vertical form-fill-seal machine intended for high-volume packaging of milk and other free-flowing liquid dairy products like lassi, butter milk, drinking yogurt, as well as juices and mineral water. It has a particularly small footprint for its technical specifications. It handles co-extruded virgin LDPE of recommended thickness as packaging material. As the name suggests, Filpack Servo 12K is equipped with four servo motors that are deployed to control bag length and sealing mechanism. It throughputs at 12, 000 pouches of 500ml per hour.
When was it launched, and what is the background for its development?
Nichrome unveiled the Filpack Servo 12K at India International Dairy Expo in Mumbai in February 2017, 40 years after it launched its first milk packaging machine. In 1977, Nichrome developed its first machine for milk packaging with a throughput of 1,200 pouches per hour. It was the first company to introduce an indigenously developed milk pouch packing machine, says Raosaheb Rayanade, senior consultant – packaging solutions at Nichrome. 
Rayanade recalls, “In those days, the dairies in India were small with an average capacity between 5,000 to 10,000 litres of milk per day. Then the speed of 1,200 pouches per hour was sufficient.”
As the dairy industry in India acquired substantial growth and milk production in India raised multi-fold thanks to the Operation Flood, there was the need for speed in packing milk.
Until 2011, the milk packaging machines had evolved to run at maximum speeds of 6,000 packs per hour. In the first half of this decade, the dairy industry witnessed consolidation followed by strong growth. As the dairies grew larger, they needed faster solutions to pack the increasing volumes of milk. That’s when, keeping pace with the evolving needs of the industry, Nichrome, in 2011, launched a twin-head Filpack Servo 10K with a maximum speed of 10,000 pouches per hour. 
“Today, there are at least 500 dairies in India, which handle more than two-lakh litres of milk per day. Now, in order to pack the two-lakh litres of milk, the time available for pouching is miniscule.
Hence, the speed requirement is ever increasing. We decided to develop a machine that can produce 12,000 pouches per hour.”
Producing 12,000 pouches per hour meant 200 pouches per minute and that is equal to 100 pouches in 60 seconds on a single track of machine. Rayanade says, “Going up from the hourly speeds of 10,000 pouches to 12,000 pouches was the most challenging task.”
What were these challenges?
The challenges were related to the packaging material. To achieve the speed of 12,000 pouches per hour, the machine had to handle 100 packs per minute on one track. That meant, a little over half a second was available to form, fill and seal one 500ml pouch of milk and approximately one-tenth of a second was available for sealing the pouch.  “We needed a packaging material that seals at lower temperatures and consumes less cycle time. Ultimately, it’s not just about increasing the mechanical speed of the machine. The packaging materials also have to be compatible to run at these higher speeds,” adds Rayanade.
How did Nichrome resolve these limitations?
In a bid to find a solution, Nichrome joined hands with the Packaging and Specialty Plastics business of The Dow Chemical Company. Dow has developed Elite Advanced Technology (AT)  enhanced polyethylene resins for manufacturing film that is capable of running on the latest high-speed vertical-formfill-seal (VFFS) lines.
Who is this machine aimed at?
The Filpack Servo 12K is intended to address the need for speed and at the same time space constraints on the packaging shopfloors of dairies while upping automation to reduce changeover times, productivity and minimise wastage. According to Rayanade, the machine will suit the big daddies in the dairy industry who handle huge volume of packages.
Other than the speed, what is the USP of the machine?
The Filpack Servo 12K’s footprint-to-productivity ratio is a definite plus. To put it into perspective, two Filpack Servo 12K machines (occupying approximately nine sq/m area) can replace five Nichrome Filpack CMD Alpha machines (foot print 21 sq/m), which run at 5,000 packs per hour.
The other USP of the machine is the reel changeover time. This machine can handle jumbo rolls of 80-100kg as opposed to the earlier version which could handle only up to 20-25kg rolls. “Therefore, the number of changeovers has been reduced by four times offering the reduction in downtime and control over packing material wastage during changeovers,” says Rayanade. 
The motorised mechanical filling system offers consistent fill accuracy and quick quantity changeovers using recipes on HMI.  
“Besides this, among new development is an integration of filling system of Filpack Servo 12k with online dynamic check weigher for tendency control.This will enable the dairies to reduce the excess giveaway of milk by 50%. On an average, there’s an approximate 3-4 ml of excess volume that is packed. With the online check weigher, it can be minimised to 1-2ml. On a larger scale, this will add to dairy’s profitability,” explains Rayanade.
How easy is it to use?
Very easy, says Rayanade. “It’s operator friendly, an ITI-trained operator with basic machine knowledge can efficiently handle the machine.” 
How many machines have been installed?
Currently, there are a couple of machines commissioned at Chennai-based Hatsun Agro Product. In addition to this, there are 15 machines being manufactured at Nichrome’s factory.

Tech specs

Model Filpack Servo 12k

Pack quantity range 100 ml-1000 ml

Packing material Co-extruded virgin LDPE suitable for high-speed application

Film Reel Width 325 mm

Core diameter 75 mm

Roll diameter 800 mm

Machine dimensions 2,050 mm (W) x 1,740 mm (D) x 3,005 mm (H)

Applications Plain milk, flavored milk, lassi, juice, mineral water, butter milk, drinking yogurt, cultured milk (curd), water, free flow liquids

Contact Mandar Patwardhan | +91 20 66011001 | +91 83088 11655 | |

Dow Elite AT PE resins

Strong growth in the milk industry has also called for faster packaging lines to increase productivity. In response to this Dow has developed Elite Advanced Technology (AT) resins to meet the increasing demand for higher performance films. Elite AT PE resins are patent-pending post-metallocene technology. It is created via a high-throughput catalyst and process technology which allows tailoring molecular weight distribution, short-chain branching distribution and long-chain branching specific to an application’s requirement. It finds application in manufacturing film with capabilities of running on the latest high-speed vertical-form-fill-seal (VFFS) lines. It features higher hot tack at lower temperature and higher seal strength ensuring low leakages during vertical form-fill-seal storage and transportation. Its wider sealing window allows packing on a variety of VFFS lines.