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Universal Multi-Purpose Automated Glass Jar Filler for the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Mp-Filler (Universal Multi-Purpose Automated Glass Jar Filler for the Fruit and Vegetable Processing Industry)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-08-31

The fruit & vegetable market increases the demand of jarred products (in preference to canned ones) because the consumer wants to see what is inside the container. The processing companies need to improve their processing lines to address the increasing demand.
There are “difficult to fill” products (leaf products, elongated product, shredded products…) that are filled in poorly efficient semi-automatic lines with human assist to handle the products. Up to 20% of the product falls to the floor and the vibrations generate a high risk of jars breaking, something potentially dangerous for the consumer.
Driven by the growing demand, the market is asking for technical improvements to process these products more efficiently. The objective of the project is to put in the market an innovative automatic machine for filling “difficult to fill” products in glass jars. It has to be efficient and adaptable to various jar sizes and types of product.
We have built a simplified prototype (MPS-Filler) that has been installed in a food processing factory in Orihuela (Spain). It is being tested with different products (artichoke hearts, pepper strips, shredded carrots, etc.) and various sizes of glass jars. The results obtained so far are good (200 jars/min with fairly good accuracy) but the tamping operation initially foreseen needs improvement and we will develop a better alternative.
We have also conducted additional trials with soya beans, the most difficult product that was not initially foreseen, and the positive results arrived only after introducing some modifications in the process before the filling operation (increasing cooking time and length reduction).
After a market research, we discovered that many food processors are willing to try our new solution to fill their “difficult-products-to-fill” in jars.
Fruit & vegetable producers can only use semi-automatic filling lines to process the so called “difficult to fill” products: spinach leaves, pickles, soya beans, shredded carrots, cucumbers, etc. These state-of-the-art solutions need human assist and are poorly efficient (up to 20% falls to the floor), unhygienic and, with glass jars, there is a significant breakage risk.
Our fully automatic MP-Filler avoids the mentioned problems, increasing productivity and reducing cost. No one in the competence can offer something similar. The contact of the operators with the product is no longer required and the waste is reduced to less than 2%. It will enable the producers to meet the rising demand.
For Zacmi, this project will reinforce our leadership in this market. We have executed a SWOT analysis and prepared the commercial strategy. Our financial projections contemplate cumulative sales of 70 machines during the first 5 years of commercialisation. This would generate a ROI exceeding 4.