Last November Wapakoneta OH-based Nu-Tek Foods Corp. upgraded its individually wrapped slice cheese packaging operation with the installation of a brand new state-of-the-art "hot pack" machine from Europe. John Behm Nu-Tek's director of engineering calls it "a revolutionary new concept in cheese packaging." Nu-Tek manufactures processed cheese products for private label accounts nationwide and it produces under its own Sun Valley label. Constituting just the third such installation of this machine in the U.S. the $2 million machine-built by Kustner Industries S.A. (Geneva Switzerland)-provides Nu-Tek with several advantages: * Speed. Essentially two machines built into a common frame each of two lanes produce 800 individually wrapped cheese slices/min. Nu-Tek's previous IWS equipment which is still in use tops out at 1 slices/min. The speed breakthrough is due to the hot-pack operating principle: the cheese is extruded-while still hot-directly into a tube of film which is then cross-sealed and chilled in a water bath. On Nu-Tek's conventional machine the cheese is chilled prior to wrapping by passing over a series of chill rollers as a 60"-wide sheet. That extra handling limits speed. * Labor savings. The Kustner machine requires only one operator compared to three operators on the old IWS machine. * Simpler operation. The old machine slits a 60"-wide ribbon of extruded cheese into 12 lanes for wrapping slicing and stacking. "That meant you had 12 lanes that could mess up: 12 stackers all those sealing bars etcetera" says Behm. By contrast the Kustner machine only has two lanes resulting in fewer potential trouble points. * Less expensive product formulations. "We can cut back on certain ingredients" explains Behm that were required for adhesion or release or melting characteristics on the previous machine. "Less-expensive formulations were part of the justification of this equipment" says Behm.