Teepak introduces advanced T-Sizer II machine for durability, productivity, and versatility.
You can’t understand where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. That lesson of history applies to the meat and poultry processing industry, which has undergone dramatic changes in manufacturing and product development in the past several years.
One early pioneer in the casing and casing machinery business understands the importance of a past perspective in contemporary design and service. Teepak LLC was founded more than 70 years ago, and it was one of the first companies to produce regenerated cellulose for skinless and fibrous casings. Along the way, Teepak also began to design, engineer, and manufacture machinery for its customers. Based in Lisle, IL, Teepak still continues to look to the future with an eye on the past.
In 2004, Teepak introduced a new version of one of its most popular pieces of stuffing equipment for lunchmeat and hams. Like its predecessor, the T-Sizer II was built with durability and serviceability in mind, based on the company’s unique knowledge of processing capability, relays Steve Devcich, marketing manager. “When we view the requirements to design a machine or provide service for a customer, we look at the whole system from the preparation of meat to the filling process through cooking and into packaging. So we can engineer casings and machines that add productivity through all of those steps,” he remarks.
The T-Sizer II is a result of such a comprehensive and integrated development process. Although many original T-Sizer machines, some 15 or 16 years old, still run smoothly, the T-Sizer II is a choice for operators looking to enhance productivity or replace machines nearing the end of their operational life.
A multi-functional machine
Three years in the making, the multi-functional T-Sizer II can be used to stuff both tight and slack fill products. Built and shipped from Teepak’s Kansas City facility, the machine offers several distinctive design features.
Chief among those features is the clipper. “The clipper is the heart of the T-Sizer II,” Devcich explains. “We’ve designed and built this stainless-steel clipper, which applies two clips simultaneously and has minimal moving parts for less wear. It is also more compact and can be easily removed.”
The T-Sizer II clipper saves operators on time, as well, with a new positive feed-reel system for clips that can run an entire eight-hour shift, for a less labor-intensive operating system. Several features of the new system were geared toward product uniformity, as well. A fingertip push-button size control, for instance, increases or decreases product diameter, even during run time.
Uniformity is especially important today, as the market for peg-board packaging continues to increase.
“The number of products in the peg-board section of the supermarket has expanded, and have moved from a more simple line of bologna, salami, and ham to more complex lines with items like flavored turkey products and different flavored hams. That is where the T-Sizer II shows its strength because it is, by far, setting the standard for precision slicing,” notes Devcich.
In addition to responding to the challenges required by new types of products, the engineering team at Teepak focused on processors’ demand for more versatile equipment. Although the new version of the T-Sizer is smaller, it is inherently more flexible. A simple switch, for instance, allows for a transfer from tight fill to slack fill, with up to 16 inches of slack available for D-shaped or mold products.
Versatility also encompasses ease of use. The T-Sizer II includes a new swing arm that offers a user-convenient access to machine controls. In addition, fewer and smaller moving parts mean that the equipment is easier to maintain.
One of the biggest drivers of a processor’s bottom line, of course, is productivity. Several features from this latest generation of luncheon-meat equipment have been shown to boost productivity, Devcich relays.
“We’ve seen a remarkable increase in throughput from increased speed of the clipper. Throughput isn’t defined just how fast a machine is, but how much time it is up and running — and how much in spec product is delivered to the packaging department,” he points out.
Moreover, the compact T-Sizer II is designed to be used with Teepak’s new longer shirred casing strands, which translates into increased output.
The T-Sizer II is available with several options, depending on the type of operation. It can be equipped with a product valve, for example, that interrupts the flow of meat to the machine. A cut-off horn, used to cut larger muscle products prior to clipping, is another option, along with a looper that applies string loop for handing product and an MPC, which serves to decrease taper within a chub.
Other options that have been engineered for versatility and system synergy include the Teepak Portion, which allows the T-Sizer II to communicate with a volumetric portioner or pump for exact-weight product, and the Teepak Portion II, which can be added to allow for multiple chubs to be connected together. High-volume operations can choose a Tandem option for the T-Sizer II, to set up two machines operating from a single pump.
The Teepak promise
Just as Teepak’s team counts thoroughness as a priority for the development of its machines, the company also has relied on its experience and reputation to help processors best utilize its equipment. Case in point: the extensive customer service that comes right along with a piece of new machinery.
First, the company conducts a pre-installation survey at the customer site that identifies requirements for installation, determines machine options, identifies casing applications, and confirms availability for delivery. Teepak engineers install the machines for customers on site and provide all service training, which allows for single-service sourcing. Free advanced-training classes are offered at the manufacturer's Kansas City facility, too.
Troubleshooting is also on a personal level. In addition to telephone service from its home office, Teepak can perform onsite audits to measure and compare throughput, yield, and productivity improvements to previous figures. And because the company sells casings as well, service engineers can fine-tune proper casing installation and filling.
Although it’s only been up and running in plants around the country for a matter of months, the T-Sizer II is already generating results as it generates products. Return on investment varies with each plant, depending on their products and operation type, but Devcich believes that results are real and powerful.
“One of our customers in the Midwest that processes round, sliced luncheon meats recently installed two T-Sizer II machines in place of their original T-Sizer equipment, and they were able to improve throughout by twenty-seven percent,” he says. “We expect to hear more feedback like that from our customers in the industry, whether they are large operations running five or six T-Sizer II machines or smaller, regional players with a desire to enhance productivity and stay competitive.” NP
For more information, contact Steve Devcich at (630) 719-3712 or visit www.teepak.com
Check out the October 2019 issue of The National Provisioner, featuring our cover story on the partnership between Coleman Natural Foods and Budweiser, along with our annual State of the Industry Report on various sectors of the meat and poultry industry.