GRADOMATIC™ slug loader

The most economic and fastest slug loader for round (sandwich) biscuits.

The well-known Houdijk GRADOMATIC™ slug loader has been recently completely redesigned to meet the Houdijk Design Vision ENGINEERED TO LAST, ALWAYS FIT FOR USE.
This Design Vision includes a strong focus on the following aspects:

    1. Ease of operation, both on system as well as via the HMI
    2. Ease of change-overs, Poka Yoke, Centerlining
    3. Cleanability through open design, removability of parts
    4. Maintenance prevention, ease of maintenance
    5. Operator safety
    6. Easy tutorials, guides, training material

Design Explained

For example for easy cleaning, the Houdijk system is designed with a maximum required operator reach of 800 mm. System areas which are exceeding this reach like channel side guides, row dosing mechanisms, etc. can be easily removed, without tooling.

All product size related parts are Poka Yoke executed, i.e. by design the settings are fixed and optimized for that particular product and cannot be adapted to ensure a vertical start-up.

When size part exchange is required, the change-over can be executed by an operator. No tooling required; weight of these parts is limited.

Parts are designed avoiding hidden corners.

High efficiency in the GRADOMATIC™ is accomplished due to flat handling of products and the product supply is blended, allowing a narrow variation in the counted product slug length.

The GRADOMATIC™ loader is indirectly connected to the main product flow, allowing normal production to bypass, in case of a downstream stop.

Product speed control of the connected wrapping machine is achieved via a camera controlled product accumulation, assuring a regular and balanced flow, avoiding “hunting” of the downstream, independent of the (ir-)regularity of the product arrival.

The GRADOMATIC™ features channels over the full width of its main conveyor. Products are gently directed into the channels. At the end of the system conveyor, products are collected and released in straight rows by a gating mechanism.
Row by row the products are received by the SLUGMASTER™, an Overhead product flight bar conveyor, featuring individual moving slug side guides (RUNNERS), statically laying on the flight bars. The slugs are supported from underneath by a belt conveyor.


Each product is first received in a relatively wide and adjustable guiding chute, allowing the product to gently position itself in front of the flight bar. Once the product is in front of the flight bar, the new received product is merged with the rest of the already build up product slug.

The products standing on edge in a slug, whilst travelling, are supported by an equal speed travelling belt conveyor, avoiding rotation of the product and keeping the dosing area clean from product residue.

Once the slug count is completed the SLUGMASTER™ delegates the slug to and into the carriers of the FLEX CROSS FEEDER™. The FLEX CROSS FEEDER™ is a cross positioned magnetic driven chain behind the SLUGMASTER™.

The FLEX CROSS FEEDER™ has the unique feature that each slug pocket - comprising of two independently driven front and back pushers – can receive the slug of products, can wait to allow the received slug to first stabilize, then lock the product in the slug and consequently accelerate the slug to the actual continuous speed and pitch of the infeed of the connected flowrapper. The flowrapper can be a commodity wrapper, as the cross transfer to the flowrapper is solved at high speed and efficiency by Houdijk.

Via HMI settings the product slug count can be set to requirements without the need to adjust / change any mechanical part. The performance of this loader is unbeaten. For example sandwiches in the range of 38 – 46 mm can be handled by one GRADOMATIC™ slug loader at a rate upto 3.200 products/minute and/or upto 300 slugs per minute fed to the connected BOE flowrapper.


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