Food Innovation Online Corp

You are here

Lutosa invests in Burgmetaal lifting tools to facilitate handling of VFFS bag forming shoulders

Lutosa invests in Burgmetaal lifting tools to facilitate handling of VFFS bag forming shoulders

The bag forming shoulder guides the packaging foil to form the bags in a Vertical Form Fill Seal (VFFS) packaging machine.
Since each packaging size requires its dedicated forming shoulder, they need to be exchanged regularly.

Belgian metalworking specialist Burgmetaal has installed 20 lifting systems at Potato Processing company Lutosa to facilitate the handling and exchange of the (bag) forming shoulders for the VFFS packaging machines.

Potato Processing company Lutosa - a McCain Foods subsidiary - installed the lifting systems last year in both Lutosa production locations (Leuze-en-Hainaut and Saint-Eloois-Vijve).

Lorenzo Debels, Lutosa:

“The first systems were installed just over a year ago. The employees needed a bit of a transitional period to get used to it. Our people were under the impression that it would take them a bit longer to use the machines, compared to doing it manually, as they did before.”

“Everything is running smoothly now, and they have got used to it.”

Lutosa packaging machines with lifting systems

Lifting aids

The lifting systems are lifting aids for vertical packing machines.

Jan Molenaar, Burgmetaal:

“Vertical packing machines are machines that pack products in bags. The product is transported across the top, through a funnel and ends up at the bottom in a bag. Around the bag funnel/forming shoulder, the film is shaped to form a bag.”

“Every size of bag has its own forming shoulder, and these therefore have to be changed occasionally. These funnels often weigh between 25 and 50 kilograms, and according to the Dutch Occupational Health and Safety Act that much weight cannot be lifted by people. The size sets often hang high up in the machines as well, above a transportation belt, and are therefore difficult to lift out of the machines as well. The funnels are also very costly, and it often happens that they get damaged because someone falls while carrying them.”

“With this system, size parts of the vertical forming filling and closing machines can be easily exchanged. These size sets are often heavy and difficult to handle. Burgmetaal has developed a lifting system to easily change the sizing parts without manual labour. So we lift the size out of the machine and place it on a moveable trolley. The new size can then be taken from that same trolley, and hung in the machine.”


Lorenzo Debels:

“People used to manually lift the forming shoulder, and place it on the machine. We made this investment for two important reasons.”

“Firstly, for ergonomic considerations. Now, employees no longer have to carry those heavy forming shoulders that can weigh up to 35 kilograms all the time anymore.”

“Secondly, the forming shoulders cost a few thousand euro per piece. They usually break when they fall, so we also want to protect the material. With these new systems, both employees and forming shoulders are safe.”

Forming shoulders

At the packaging department, the Lutosa french fries have to end up in the bag at a certain time.

Lorenzo Debels:

“In order to shape that bag and start a roll of film, you need a packing machine with a forming shoulder. Because we make many different products, those forming shoulders have to changed regularly.”

“In addition to the forming shoulder, carts or trolleys are also used, to transport them. Two can be placed on these trolleys, the old one can be placed on it and the new one can be placed in the machine. Besides, we invested in a number of warehouses to store those forming shoulders.”

Safety first

The total investment was about 100,000 euro.

Lorenzo Debels:

“Safety is important for McCain, and the company wishes to continue investing in that as well. If you let people do this, the risk is too large for people to hurt themselves, or trip.”

“We have now made a major step in preventing these kinds of situations.”

Lutosa packaging machines with lifting systems


According to Lorenzo, the decision to go with Burgmetaal was easily made.

Lorenzo Debels:

“We know they also have other potato and vegetable processing companies as customers, and that they supply good machines to them. They are specialists in their field, after all.”

“A system to lift bags can be bought from various organisations, but the challenge lies in supplying it in such a manner that it has the correct safety degrees (manoeuvrability opportunities), and a special fork to remove the forming shoulder from the machine. Yet it does not matter which brand of packing machine it is: they can all be operated by the manipulator from Burgmetaal.”

“The beautiful thing is that these are constructed in such a way that they can handle small and large forming shoulders. The people of Burgmetaal have measured everything on the spot, we validated the drawings together, and installed the lifting systems. Practically nothing has been changed afterwards either, so we are very satisfied.”
Companies in this Article
McCain Foods Limited is an international leader in the frozen food industry and the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato specialities, employing approximately 18,000 people and operating 50 production facilities on six continents.
Lutosa SA - Leuze-en-Hainaut is one of the two potato processing factories of Lutosa in Belgium
Lutosa SA - Sint-Eloois-Vijve is one of the two potato processing factories of Lutosa in Belgium
Lutosa is a Belgian french fry manufacturer with two production locations. Lutosa is a subsidiary of McCain Foods Limited