Cardinal Meats contacted Jantz Canada in 2008 with the challenge of designing and fabricating a machine capable of a right angle transfer of 300 hamburger patties per minute. The customer had previously explored other manufacturers but none would commit to the high transfer rate or building within the constraints of the available floor space. Jantz took on the project and would go on to leverage our years or related experience and research and development in order to meet the customers desired objectives. Beyond the initial requirements of the transfer rate and small footprint required there were other obstacles to overcome.
- within the roughly four foot long space available, the conveyor needed to retract 50% of its overall length
- the retracting motion needed to be gentle enough to maintain orientation of the patties
- the machine needed to be portable
- the finished machine needed to conform to Canadian Food Inspection Agency guidelines
- the retract mechanism would have to stand up to millions of cycles throughout its lifetime.
We decided that the retract mechanism itself would need to be servo driven since it was critical that we know its exact location at all times. To keep up with the desired rate there would only be a fraction of a second in between each cycle since the first row of patties would have to fall and clear the end of the conveyor before the next cycle could begin. The retracting portion of the conveyor was mounted on linear guides to keep everything aligned. The structure of the machine was designed with cleanliness in mind so the entire machine could be exposed to wet wash-down conditions.
After the machine was built we began initial testing at our facility. This testing which is an integral part of our quality control led to changes in the main structure of the machine and to the bearings of the retract mechanism.
The machine is in use at the customers facility and has run millions of patties since it was commissioned.