Count feeding with blending

The GRADOMATIC™ is a versatile Houdijk product row forming system for round regular shaped products. The GRADOMATIC™ is able to handle a random supply of product, blending the production as well as enabling count feeding. It handles large quantities of product per unit, while still handling the individual product extremely gently. The design is open and is easily accessible for operation, maintenance and cleaning.



GRADOMATIC™ product row forming system

The GRADOMATIC™ functional concept already exists for more than 50 years. It has led to the current execution, which is the most advanced and largest volume handling unit of its kind. Products are received in a defined accumulation section. The product back pressure in the accumulation section of the GRADOMATIC™ system is controlled and limited by means of an adjustable inclination of the main conveyor.

From the accumulation section products are delegated in product channels. Products too high or lying on top of each other are prevented from entering the channel area.

Accumulation level and product flow in the channels is monitored by overhead positioned vision cameras. It indicates which area is running short of product and signals the FLOWMASTER™ distribution system to feed additional product. Multiple product channels allow handling of a large quantity of product while maintaining a comfortable dosing cycle. Top guides can be easily removed, without tooling, for cleaning purposes. A row gating mechanism meters the products, row by row, from the product channels into the Houdijk downstream equipment e.g. SLUGMASTER™ or directly in the flightbar of the wrapping machine. Optionally the first product can be inverted in the slug.




The SLUGMASTER™ receives products row by row from the GRADOMATIC™ or LINEMASTER™ systems. It comprises an overhead product flightbar conveyor, featuring individual moving slug side guides (RUNNERS), which are statically laying on the flightbars. The slugs are supported from underneath by a belt conveyor, avoiding rotation of product. Via the system algorithm control, the servo driven flightbar conveyor is per row dosing cycle able to receive the next product row. This can be done either in the next or multiple step channel positions. The required count of products in a slug is gradually built up.



The TRAYMASTER™ comprises the tray denester, the tray infeed conveyor, the tray synchronization versus slug feeding position and the filled tray discharge.

The trays, coming from the tray denester are received by the tray infeed conveyor and are buffered side by side. Via the TRAYMASTER servo driven two pin flightbar mechanism, trays are synchronized with the completed slug at the slug transfer position of the SLUGMASTER™. Each flightbar is alternatively positioning the tray against the slug transfer position, or holding back the second and following trays.



The TRAY FLIGHTBAR receives the products row by row from the PICK & PLACE ROBOT coming from the GRADOMATIC™ or LINEMASTER™ system. The TRAY FLIGHTBAR comprises the flightbar carrying the trays, the tray denester, the tray infeed/buffer conveyor and a tray index mechanism which transfers the trays in the flightbar. After each row of products is placed flat in the cavities of the corresponding cells, the tray flightbar travels to its next position receiving the following row of products until the tray configuration is completed.



When loading slugs directly into the flightbar conveyor of the BOE slug flow wrapper, the PHASER™ is added to the SLUGMASTER™. The flow wrapping machine is designed to run at a constant speed. The SLUGMASTER™, however, operates in fluctuating motion to collect the desired slug count. The PHASER™, aligns the two different dynamic behaviours. It enables a gentle transfer of the slug into the flightbar conveyor of the flow wrapper.



The DUAL MODE enables the same GRADOMATIC™ or LINEMASTER™ system to load slugs of products either in a tray or directly into the flightbar conveyor of the connected BOE slug flow wrapper. For this purpose the SLUGMASTER™ is extended and offers two slug transfer positions.



Houdijk can integrate high quality tray denesting systems, including management support in tray design. The integration guarantees a flawless integration of both requirements of the tray denester system and the rest of the tray loading system. This ensures a maximum line efficiency.

The LINEMASTER™ is a unique Houdijk product row forming system for nonuniform shaped products. The LINEMASTER™ handles products individually after they have been redistributed into a single file by the FILEMASTER™. The LINEMASTER™ is able to handle large quantities of product: up to 1.000 products/minute.




The FILEMASTER™ is a sub system connecting the FLOWMASTER™ product distribution system. It either feeds the LINEMASTER™ ROW FORMING SYSTEM or a portion/vending pile packing machine. The wrapping machine can be supplied with single-, dual- or triple lane, count balanced, product files for high capacity feeding.

The FILEMASTER™ system starts with an ACCUFEEDER™ unit, which features a small accumulation section to regulate the product flow to the downstream. It avoids undesired speed hunting of the following unit. The product back pressures/contacts in the accumulation/high density section of the ACCUFEEDER™ unit are controlled and limited by means of an adjustable inclination of the Conveyors.



The LINEMASTER™ system is specially designed for products which do not allow high density accumulation, as they would climb on top of each other. It is for this reason that through the complete system, products are treated as individual products.

Because of the delicate nature of these types of product, which sometimes can feature soft inclusions the products must be gently treated. Irregular shapes with large tolerances are allowed sufficient travel space preventing them from getting stuck.

Products arrive in a single file and are accelerated allowing them to create gaps between each other. By means of a photocell unit, individual products are placed in a digital register. Servo driven pushers transfer only product within specification into lanes of the LINEMASTER™ main conveyor. Optionally, instead of the photocell unit, the system can be executed with a vision camera system. This inspection system inspects individual products for shape, size and potential discolorations.

The main conveyor features a stopper mechanism that forms regimented product rows from the arriving lanes. Optionally the first product can be inverted in the slug.