Russian flour for China: packaged for the market with know-how from Germany

In order to be a successful flour manufacturer on the Chinese market, high-quality packaging is key. The packaging is just as important as the quality of the product in the Middle Kingdom. It is for that reason that the Russian company Tabunsky Elevator chose the FA217 packaging machine by the German machine specialist FAWEMA. This special construction will pack very compact and dust proof bags, which will hold their shape all the way to the shelf. The addition of a high-performance dosing system ensures even higher productivity.

Wheat fields as far as the eye can reach, lined with great pines and birchwoods: the Culunda steppe in the region of Altai Krai resembles a Russian picture-postcard landscape. This is where Tabuny lies, not far from the border to Kazakhstan, a small village with just under 4000 inhabitants. The steppe is one of the most important granaries in Siberia. Tabunsky Elevator turns the summer wheat into first class flour. This company is part of the Grana group, the biggest association of cereal processing companies in Altai.

Tabunsky Elevator has continuously been awarded for the quality of their products, not least in a regional competition for the “100 best Russian products”. This is how the mill is planning on winning over the Chinese market. This is a special challenge, as graduated engineer Anton Naumov, expert sales member at FAWEMA, knows well: “The Chinese market is demanding, especially when it comes to the quality of the packaging. This is almost as important as the product itself. The flour packs have to be solid and stand up. And flour on the shelfs is an absolute no-go. Tabunsky Elevator need a highly compacted and completely dust-proof product. These were the requirements with which they approached us. As the market leader for standard and specialised solutions for the packaging of flour, FAWEMA is also renowned in Russia. For sure it was not a disadvantage to have a few FA 217 machines running there already, such as in Novosibirsk, Alejsk and Voronezh.”

The decision makers from Tabunsky Elevator first viewed some of these FAWEMA machines running in Russia, before they visited FAWEMA to discuss more specific wishes and expectations. “We didn’t want a carousel machine for our new mill, but a linear machine instead, like the ones FAWEMA offers,” said Ravshan Arifulin, lead engineering manager at Tabunsky Elevator. “Aside from the renowned German quality, the main deciding criteria was the high productivity of the packaging machine, which only FAWEMA could offer. After the visit, we were also convinced by the different functions in the additional compacting and double fold in the closing of the packaging. Especially when thinking about the long distances when exporting our flour throughout different climate zones, those were big plus points.”

Special design for a yearly production of nearly 20,000 tons

From the talks between FAWEMA and Tabunsky Elevator, it became clear that the latter would be best equipped for their purpose with an individually configured special design of a FA 217. 
The details: FAWEMA’s FA 217 is the standard line for bags from 0,5 kg up to 5 kg. This machine is a real workhorse that is always being improved. No lubrication, only servo motors, fast format changes, high outputs and minimal maintenance. Using this machine Tabunsky Elevator will be able to pack all sorts of different types of flour, from coarse to finely milled, as well as flour mixes in economical packaging. Those are the basics. In order to meet the requirements of the Chinese market perfectly, this machine has some additional features. A longer vibrating track for an even more compacted product, a double fold for a dust-proof sealing and an additional dosing system.

Thanks to the higher compacting there is less air in the bag. Therefore, the bag doesn’t lose its shape and remains stable even when it reaches the supermarket shelves. Flour dust on the shelves is practically impossible. By using the second dosing system the productivity is doubled of the 2kg and 3kg bags in comparison to the standard machine: The FA 217.2 from Tabunsky Elevator is able to pack 80 bags of 2kg every minute, that means 9600 kg in one hour. Doing only one production shift of 8 hours that would be 76,8 tons of product packed in one day. If we extend that to 50 working weeks of 5 days each, we would be talking of a total volume of around 19,200 tons in a year. Remarkable.

Quick start into series production

The FA 217.2 will be packing the entire flour from the new mill. FAWEMA estimates the commissioning of the machine with its three formats to take two to three weeks. “If everything is well coordinated, Tabunsky Elevator should be able to go straight into their series production. The operators will be trained on the machine. Looking at past experiences, customers have found the control of the machine very straight forward. If needed, our FAWEMA technicians have the ability to log into the machine to offer support by using the internet,” Anton Naumov remarks.

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