Food packaging and industry 4.0

Blog 2023 Food packaging Food & Beverage

How an intelligent vacuum pump installation transforms food packaging processes into digital, energy-efficient speed packing lines.

Gone are the times your butcher would wrap your slap of beef into an old newspaper. Modern food packaging lines are equipped with features to guarantee the quality, safety and shelf-life of the food and packaging is done at increasingly higher throughput rates.

Food packaging image

Efficiency in food packaging equipment

Today, the priorities shift from fast throughput to environmental and cost considerations. Facility managers choose flexible equipment for their packaging lines, that can handle a variable output and quick changeover for different products and packaging configurations. Every piece of machinery that goes into the production line must operate efficiently and minimize waste, while avoiding the risk of under-capacity. On top of that, factories must meet environmental goals and regulations, so they choose sustainable equipment.

Food packaging and industry 4.0

In the future, “smart factories” will become the norm, also in the food processing industry. Smart factories digitally mirror every single production process with connected equipment and devices. As a result, the complete manufacturing cycle can be tracked, and the data used to make informed decisions for optimization. Industry 4.0 will also involve more automated processes, resulting in increased efficiency, productivity, and possibly lower costs. Optimized production processes can also reduce waste and energy usage, helping companies to become more sustainable.

We notice that manufacturing companies already decide to only invest in “intelligent”, Industry 4.0-ready equipment and we expect all of them to in the next few years.

Also vacuum systems are part of this digital chain and the technology for an industry 4.0 vacuum installation is already available. Intelligent vacuum systems are not only digitally connected, they also incorporate self-optimizing and error-proofing features. 

Our intelligent vacuum pump solution for food packaging: the GHS VSD+

We took the principles of Industry 4.0 and combined them with the requirements of our major OEMs and the result is the GHS VSD+, that now operates in some of the most state-of-the-art packaging systems around the world.

The GHS VSD+ features variable speed design and integrated controls, making it the ideal pump for pumping down inline belt chamber machines as well as rotary chamber carousel machines. The pump’s patented oil-injected screw element achieves the highly efficient variable performance that a flexible food packaging line requires.

The advantage of this variable speed optimization becomes obvious with a real-life example, from one of our installations at a beef packaging customer:

Output packs per minute

Carousel speed

Vacuum pump speed

Vacuum pump power

10 ppm


22 %


20 ppm


50 %


32 ppm


85 %


36 ppm


100 %


This table shows that a variable speed driven vacuum pump can regulate the speed of its screw element and lowers its power consumption while doing so.

The GHS VSD+ comes with an integrated Hex@ controller that keeps this whole process under tight control. The Hex@ communicates directly with the machine controller to align the vacuum level with the packing rates: when the carousel is running at maximum speed, the pump produces a high vacuum capacity. As the output is reduced, the carousel slows and the GHS VSD+ reduces its speed to match the evacuation rate of the chambers. The result: significant energy savings and cost savings that add up overtime.