La Huerta – one of Mexico’s leading processors of frozen vegetables and fruit – has installed Key Technology’s Iso-Flo vibratory shakers on all of its processing and packaging lines. The company added their third production line in 2016 and its fifth automated packaging line in September 2018.
The company added Key’s Veg-Mix to its operations in 2006, followed by an Iso-Flo dewatering shaker and an Iso-Flo fines removal shaker the next year. Since then, they also installed two integrated packaging distribution systems that each feature several Iso-Flo Smooth Cycle scale-feed conveyors with pneumatic slide gates and an Iso-Flo collection shaker. They added another dewatering shaker in 2016 and a bar-style size grader, also based on Key’s Iso-Flo design, in 2018.
“Every year, the demand for food safety gets stricter, with higher standards for microbiology and sanitation and more requests for audits. Our equipment for Key helps us achieve our high product quality objectives, and at the same time it increases our efficiencies by maximizing uptime and reducing labor,” said Carlos Gutierrez, plant manager at La Huerta.
Iso-Flo shakers are known for sanitation and reliability, and Key is continuously working to improve their designs with new features that exceed rising food safety standards. In addition to stainless steel construction, smooth beds and durable StrongArm spring arms, La Huerta’s new Iso-Flo shakers also feature 100% continuous welds, no-pinch slide gates, stainless steel motors, self-draining surfaces and the elimination of laminations, which can trap bacteria.
Featuring independent frame-mounted drives and spring arm assemblies, Iso-Flo shakers distribute energy equally to all parts of the shaker bed in a controlled natural-frequency operation. This operating principle minimizes the vibration that is transferred to structural support and the floor, which cuts the cost of installation, reduces energy use and offers quiet operation. Key’s contoured StrongArm spring arms, made with propriety composite material, offer an operational life that is up to twice the life of traditional, straight spring arms. The stainless steel Iso-Drive® adds to Iso-Flo’s extreme dependability, reducing maintenance and improving performance and uptime.
La Huerta installed Key’s Veg-Mix on their packaging lines to produce bags of mixed fruits or vegetables. This system receives each product in a separate infeed hopper, then de-clusters, meters, mixes and conveys the mixed product to packaging. The hopper design minimizes product ‘sticking’ to eliminate the buildup of the thawed product. A long-span frame and integrated Iso-Flo collection conveyors allow for minimal supports to the floor, which makes the system easy to install and easy to clean. The master override adjusts total line flow while maintaining preset mix ratios. Independent, ‘on-the-fly’ adjustment of the Cluster Breaker and Vari-Feeder enable quick, reliable change of product mix and metering. “Our Veg-Mix ensures the right amount of each product in the mix so we’re sure to stay within specifications,” explained Luis Picazo, project and maintenance manager at La Huerta.
The two Iso-Flo packaging distribution lines at La Huerta feature several Iso-Flo Smooth-Cycle shakers with no-pinch sliding gates. One distribution system feeds product to three multi-head weighers that each feed a VFFS machine. The other feeds semi-automated packaging stations. Designed specifically for feeding applications, Smooth Cycle conveyors include controls that manage the flow of the product on the shaker, speeding up and slowing down as needed, to eliminate the mechanical stop/start transients common in these applications.