10 Principles for Sanitary Compliance //

Equipment suppliers play a key role in assisting food packagers in maintaining compliance with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sanitation requirements, consistent with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and 3-A standards. The Engineering Design Task Force developed a set of 10 principles for developing equipment that is compliant with these sanitation guidelines. Sanitary equipment must have or must be:

  1. Cleanable to a microbiological level: Not just cleanable, but uniquely designed to prevent bacteria from growing or surviving on product and non-product contact surfaces.
  2. Made of compatible materials: Construction materials used for equipment must be completely compatible with the product, environment, cleaning and sanitizing chemicals, and the methods of cleaning and sanitation.
  3. Accessible for inspection, maintenance, cleaning and sanitation: At all times, without the use of tools.
  4. Able to prevent liquid collection: Equipment should be self-draining to ensure liquids, which can harbor and promote the growth of bacteria, do not accumulate on the equipment.
  5. Have hermetically sealed hollow areas: Hollow areas of equipment (such as frames and rollers) must be eliminated or permanently sealed.
  6. No niches: Equipment parts should be free of niches such as pits, cracks, corrosion, recesses, open seams, gaps, lap seams, protruding ledges, inside threads, bolt rivets and dead ends.
  7. Sanitary operational performance: During normal operations, the equipment must perform in a manner that does not contribute to unsanitary conditions or harbor bacteria growth.
  8. Hygienic design of maintenance enclosures: Maintenance enclosures and human machine interfaces such as push buttons, valve handles, switches and touch-screens, must be designed to ensure food product, water or product liquid does not penetrate or accumulate in and on the enclosure or interface.
  9. Hygienic compatibility with other plant systems: Equipment design must ensure hygienic compatibility with other equipment and systems, such as electrical, hydraulics, steam, air and water.
  10. Validated cleaning and sanitizing protocols: Procedures for cleaning and sanitation must be clearly written, designed and proven effective and efficient.

It sounds daunting to think about how to make your equipment compatible with these stringent guidelines. But an experienced supplier like Spee-Dee can look at an application and develop a solution to meet your own requirements while at the same time providing valuable insight about how any of your requirements would lead to an unsanitary unit. Work with a supplier who knows these design principles in and out in order to ensure your operations are compliant.

For an example of how we customized our 3600 auger filler to make it a sanitary filler, check out our white paper.


The Missing Piece of the Turret Puzzle //

It’s a necessary evil in the packaging world: taking the time to completely wash down the 175 lb. turret your funnels are attached to. Make way for the crane! Not only does the process take a good deal of time and impact productivity, it’s simply inconvenient, and even downright dangerous.

We wondered why no one had come up with an alternative to this traditional method of turret maintenance, and our engineers thought there had to be a better way. Or – better yet – a better turret. They asked: could the turret be segmented into easier to remove pieces and still maintain structural integrity?

In short: yes! Our team developed a unique segmented turret that is comprised of seven pieces, each weighing 25 lbs. Not only that, funnels can be removed without tools, so the entire removal and maintenance process is easier, faster, and safer for users.

It can be done. Keep that in mind the next time you’re faced with a challenge. Thinking outside of the turret can bring you the solution you need!

To learn more about the segmented turret and its application with Spee-Dee servomotor rotary auger fillers, check out our free white paper.

Feeling frazzled by FSMA? //

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act), which is the first modernization of food safety laws in 70 years, impacts 90 percent of foods that consumers purchase except those containing meat or poultry. Since FSMA was signed into law in January 2011, food packagers are aware that its focus on prevention and accountability may result in increasingly stringent sanitary requirements for their equipment.

Under FSMA, prevention means that food companies need to have controls in place during manufacturing to assure the safety of their product and to prevent problems, not just react to them after the fact. Accountability means that food companies are obligated to report to the FDA to ensure that they are making safe products. The FDA now has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, preventative based controls.

Equipment suppliers play a key role in assisting food packagers by developing equipment in compliance with USDA standards. Since each company’s auger filler requirements are different, you should work with an equipment manufacturer with the expertise to recognize and address potential areas for product contamination. An experienced supplier can look at an application and develop a solution to meet the food packager’s requirements while at the same time provide customers with valuable insight about how any of their requirements would lead to an unsanitary unit. Working with a knowledgeable equipment builder ensures that a facility meets the organization’s standards.

Spee-Dee has already done just that for one of the world’s largest food manufacturers, and we can help you do the same. Check out our white paper to learn how we did it.


4 Ways Servomotors Improve Rotary Auger Filler Performance //

Need to fill 250 cans a minute with quick parts changeover? Sounds challenging, right? On a mechanical system, timing of the container feed between the infeed screws and infeed star wheel is done manually by adjusting nuts and bolts – which is very time consuming. And if products need to change, not only is time consumed, but money is, as well: changing over funnels and container seals to adjust for a new product container size means installing new funnels and seals. Funnels have to be identical to ensure product fill weight and have a polished mirror finish so that product flows quickly, and because these stainless steel funnels and machined must be precisely machined, they can cost $1,500 each.

That’s where rotary auger fillers driven by servomotors, such as those from Spee-Dee, can make a big impact on bottom lines and efficiency. Here’s how:

  1. Servo control enables users to time the system’s container transition between feed screw and infeed star wheel on the fly, so users have the ability to make adjustments to achieve the desired increase or decrease in speed without making any mechanical changes to the system – a huge time saver.
  2. The three areas of servo control (main drive, auger, infeed screws) communicate with each other, so adjustments are made quickly and smoothly.
  3. Servo drives improve no container, no fill control since the system can be stopped and started faster resulting in fewer lost containers and less product loss.
  4. Servomotors have fewer parts and require less maintenance, which translates to decreased filler downtime and less labor.

There are alternatives to mechanical systems, and servomotor driven fillers prove their efficiency time and again. To learn more about the design and benefits of Spee-Dee’s servomotor rotary auger fillers, check out our free white paper.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive Sanitary Solutions //

One of the most exciting things to happen at Spee-Dee is to have our customers come to us with a specific challenge they’d like us to solve. Coming up with solutions for them is what our engineering team is here to do, and we recently had a customer request that really put our team’s ingenuity to work.

To ensure the safety of its products, one of the largest food companies in the world asked Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc. to design a sanitary auger filler that would meet its sanitary design specifications as well as position the company to meet the anticipated requirements of the evolving FSMA standards.

By focusing on the critical aspects of sanitary equipment design such as minimizing the amount of surface area that must be cleaned, making parts and assemblies easy to access and inspect, simplifying disassembly so actions can be completed without tools, and establishing cleaning and sanitizing procedures that are easily repeated by all employees, Spee-Dee transformed its standard 3600 servo auger filler into a 3600 sanitary servo auger filler.

Unlike the standard auger filler, which has flat surfaces, the sanitary unit has angled surfaces, a sloping shroud, and a dome shaped hopper cover to allow any fluids to drain away from the machine. Other design changes included moving the mechanical connections outside the product contact area, using a sanitary clamp instead of thumb screws to connect the tooling funnel to the unit, and making all surfaces of the filler under or adjacent to the driving mechanism for easy accessibility. These unique alternations to the standard auger filler ensured that the company met sanitary design requirements, and positioned them to remain compliant for years to come.

Challenged by changing sanitary guidelines? Contact us or check out our sanitary auger filler white paper to learn how Spee-Dee can help.

How Customers Help Drive Spee-Dee Innovation //

At Spee-Dee, our customers are everything. Not only do we value the relationships we develop with customers when they purchase our products, but we rely on our customers to bring us their challenges so that we can create innovative solutions. So when a customer asked Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery to develop a high speed rotary auger filler capable of filling 250 cans per minute and offering quick parts changeover, we were excited.

Our engineers got to work and quickly narrowed down a unique solution: the implementation of servomotors. The innate intelligence of servomotors means that users can rely on repeatable results from programs stored in a programmable controller’s memory. Users merely select the desired program and the servo follows the program. When a container size change is made, the synchronization between the timing screw and infeed star wheel is stored in memory and eliminates the need for a mechanical change.

With servomotors as our basis, we designed a unique rotary auger filler that has servo drives on the main turret, timing screws and the auger fillers, enabling set up and changeover adjustments to be made with the push of a button. This enables the operation of each area to be electronically timed and provides integrated control ensuring smooth, efficient filler performance.

We’ve all heard the saying “it never hurts to ask,” and that’s certainly true when you work with Spee-Dee. Send us your challenge and see what we come up with!

Read more about the development and benefits of this servomotor-driven rotary auger in this free white paper.

Spee-Dee Now Holds 3-A® Symbol Authorization //

STURTEVANT, Wis., (October 8, 2014) — Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc. can now apply the 3-A® symbol to its filling equipment that conforms to 3-A Sanitary Standard Number 27-06 for the packaging of dry products.

Use of the 3-A Symbol is authorized for several models of Spee-Dee auger fillers. These fillers are used for sanitary applications like: powdered dairy and other dry milk products, infant formula, powdered eggs, whey powder and neutraceuticals. There are also a growing number of pharmaceutical applications. The materials and fabrications of these hygienic fillers are specially engineered for packaging perishable dry products that require meticulous sanitary standards.

When designing sanitary fillers, the Spee-Dee engineering team analyzes all the critical points and removes all fasteners from the product zone. The enhanced design improves access for better cleaning and meets the rigorous hygiene standards necessary for packaging perishable foods.

To see a Spee-Dee Sanitary Servo Drive Auger Filler in action, go to Pack Expo 2014 and visit the Triangle booth (S-2014), November 2-5. To learn more about sanitary fillers and to get complete sanitary model specifications, visit the Spee-Dee booth (N-5441) and talk with one of Spee-Dee’s many packaging experts.

Spee-Dee Split Hopper //

Tool-Free Changes and Easier Cleaning

SpeeDee‘s innovative and low-maintenance Split Hopper design is perfect for vertical form fill seal applications. It’s 100% toolless, so maintenance and changeovers are faster and easier than ever.

The split hopper is now offered in a NEW 20 gallon version (in addition to the 16 gallon version), so we have the perfect solution for your specific powder filler. Come check it out at our booth; N-5441.

The design reduces downtime and increases productivity and safety. All Split Hopper units include a safety interlock switch to prevent the machine from operating when the hopper is open. Speaking of open; here’s an open invitation to Pack Expo. Click the link on the right to register for Pack Expo for FREE!

Can’t make it to Pack Expo, or just can’t wait? See our demonstration video here.

Spee-Dee Appoints Tony Stefanelli as Vice President of Business Development //

STURTEVANT, Wis., (August 21, 2014) — Tony Stefanelli has been appointed new vice president of business development for Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc. In his new position with Spee-Dee, Stefanelli will oversee mechanical engineering, as well as help the company evolve its product development process and tracking systems.

Stefanelli’s long list of professional accomplishments in engineering management, organizational developments, production development and manufacturing, make him a perfect fit with Spee-Dee. For the past 16 years, he’s held various director and management-level positions at Buell Motorcycle Company, Gates Corporation and Erik Buell Racing. Stefanelli also ran his own open-wheel race team and was an engineer for companies involved in the racing and aviation industries.

“I’m looking forward to applying my engineering and managerial experience to help Spee-Dee continue building premium, reliable filling machines, but also grow its footprint into both new and existing markets,” Stefanelli said.

Stefanelli lives in Elkhorn, Wis. To contact him, his direct line is 262-321-6110 or email tstefanelli@spee-dee.com.

Spee-Dee Appoints Richard Laforest As New Project Manager //

Richard Laforest has been appointed new project manager for Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc. In his new position with Spee-Dee, Laforest will handle project management for domestic customers, as well as help grow the company’s global reach in Mexico and Latin America.

Laforest brings a strong project management and sales background to Spee-Dee. Laforest joins the company after a 20-year career as a sales engineer, project engineer and product manager with Krones, Inc., a manufacturer of filling and packaging systems.

“Spee-Dee has proven itself to be a market leader in dry product filling across many industries, and I’m looking forward to helping it expand its market share here in the United States and in Latin America,” Laforest said.

Laforest lives in Greenfield, Wis. To contact him, his direct line is 262-321-6161 or email rlaforest@spee-dee.com.