GLOBAL August 2020
 
igus hygienic design TH3 e-chains form part of slicing systems for Meat/Cheese
 
Schindler & Wagner GmbH & Co. KG (SCHIWA), established in 1965, is the technology leader in customer-specific slicing systems for a wide variety of meat and cheese products. Martin Hüttenrauch, Sales Manager at SCHIWA said, “We make high-performance cutting machines mainly for cheese, bacon and ham, with the highest precision and reliability.”
The SCHIWA machines are characterised by a completely open design so that all surfaces can be easily cleaned daily. "In recent years we have invested a lot of time and energy in our hygienic design. We were always at the forefront of technology, but not where visibility was concerned. Our philosophy is: You can only clean what you can see,” said Hüttenrauch.
By the end of 2017, it was time for SCHIWA to reinvent itself in terms of design, according to the motto: "Open everything up, 'uncover' as much as possible and make it visible." The new hygienic design influenced all details - including the cable guides up to the grippers, which lead the cheese to the cutting blade. "We used to run the cables somewhere, fix them with loops, put them in a housing, period. Here we were looking for a visually appealing solution with a flexible chain made of detergent-resistant materials and an open construction that is easy to clean," said Tobias Wahl, Head of Mechanical Development at SCHIWA. They found the right solution with igus.
Hüttenrauch added, “We have had a good, long term partnership with igus. In our plant, we use special solutions made of bar stock, iglidur plain bearings and drylin linear guides. The quality, the flexibility and also the cooperation simply fit, and so it was clear to us from the outset that igus was also the first and best contact for this energy supply chain.”
Bastian Mehr, Packaging Industry Manager at igus said, “Our Hygienic Design TH3 e-chain is used wherever the highest hygiene requirements prevail and cables and hoses must be guided safely. It is easy to clean, FDA-compliant, has no screw connections and is ideally suited for aggressive cleaning agents and chemicals.”
The igus Hygienic Design e-chain is available in 2 inner heights and 4 inner widths each. The up to 4 fixed interior segments are possible for both sizes. This means that cables and hoses can be laid completely separate from each other and yet have sufficient gaps for cleaning purposes. If the customer wishes, the chains are received fully harnessed with the cables.
At SCHIWA, however, the chains are delivered without pre-assembled cables. Tobias Wahl explained, “Each SCHIWA product line is configured exactly according to the requirements and needs of our customers. Each machine is, if you like, a unique piece. That's why we harness the chains ourselves, because we never know in advance which cables will be needed in which length." Another advantage of igus TH3 e-chain is the rounded edges, which prevent dead spaces and the resulting formation of germs. “When we developed the e-chain according to Hygienic Design Guidelines, it was important to us that it was easy to clean. This requires a screw-free construction and an open design. With the TH3, we have achieved all this,” said Florian Strobel, Technical Sales Consultant at igus.
TH3 energy chains were used in the 4 spindle slicer from SCHIWA. The line delivers up to 6,000 slices and 240 packs per minute, with about 3 tonnes of cheese per hour. 99.5% are guaranteed "on weight first time", less than 0.2% give away and 98.5% technical availability. "The grippers move back and forth abruptly for 20 hours a day, which places an immense load on the chain. We carry all necessary media such as pneumatics, sensors and electrics in the chains. We have been using the energy supply systems for more than 2 years and have not had any complaints so far. They are exactly what we wanted. The cables are guided safely and the blue chain is also an eye-catcher", said Wahl. With the choice of the blue colour, the company is also following the idea of "optical detectability", an increasingly important requirement in food technology.
In order to meet the strict requirements for food hygiene in all stages of food production, igus offers polymer solutions such as e-chains, plain bearings or linear guides that have been specifically developed for moving applications. They are maintenance-free and do not need lubrication thereby ruling out product contamination, and are food-safe and insensitive to influences such as dirt, water, chemicals, heat or impact. In the future, the liners of the drylin linear systems will also be changed from iglidur J to the blue FDA and EU-compliant iglidur A160 material.
Hüttenrauch concluded, "Today, we (SCHIWA) are again the market leader, not only technically but also hygienically. We are not the biggest on the market, but I would say the most innovative. And igus has made a decisive contribution to this with all the plastic solutions we use in our machines.”
 
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