Pick & place robots place the crispy wafers into the plastic trays.
In the Flowpacker, four F4 robots pick up 157 trays per minute.
Two Flowmoduls pack the trays with the rice wafers into flowpacks in parallel.
In the Cartonpacker, the packed trays are stacked into shipping cartons.
Crispy cereals, coated in chocolate: Hosta has been producing its popular Nippon rice cakes at its southern German headquarters near Crailsheim since 1974 – and is therefore also very close to Schubert. The collaboration between the two companies goes back to the 1980s. To pack the crispy bites even more efficiently into trays and cartons in the future, Hosta wanted to integrate a new confectionery packaging machine into its production. The large TLM system consisting of a Pickerline, Flowpacker and Cartonpacker now optimises the processes and ensures that Hosta saves on packaging material and, as a result, on delivery trips.
Delicious, fluffy and light – this is the slogan Hosta uses to market its crispy bites called Nippon. Close to 90 per cent of Germans are familiar with the small, square treat. Nippon is produced in the well-established Hosta company in southern Germany. For the packaging of its products, the company has long relied on local packaging machine manufacturer Schubert. Hosta wanted to further optimise production in view of working more cost-effectively. The company needed a new confectionery packaging machine to cover the entire packaging process – from trays to shipping cartons. The processes would have to function smoothly at all times and enable a very high packaging output. Hosta also wanted to reduce its use of packaging material in order to conserve resources and save costs.
Schubert successfully took on the challenge with its modular machine concept with a personalised and flexible customer solution. The result is a very efficient packaging machine for confectionery products. It consists of a pick & place machine, the Flowpacker flow-wrapping machine and a Cartonpacker, all of which are linked to each other via conveyors. The system ensures that the Nippon bites are placed into trays, then packed into flowpacks and finally placed into cartons for shipping. Since all machines are coordinated in terms of both performance and efficiency, the result is an extremely efficient, reliable packaging process. Two flow-wrapping units are also integrated into the Flowpacker. This enables Hosta to achieve an additional level of reliability in its production, because even with only one operated flow-wrapping unit, the confectionery packaging machine still achieves an overall output of 70 per cent.
Starting the project together at an early stage ensures ideal conditions for further improvements in the packaging process: Thanks to the high-precision pick & place robots, the Schubert developers were able to shorten the plastic trays by 10 millimetres. Thanks to this optimisation, the flowpack film repeat was also reduced by another 6 millimetres. The packaging professionals even reworked the carton: It now consists of a single flat blank with lid, and no longer requires three different parts. All in all, the improved packaging yields so many savings that the carton surface could be significantly reduced: There is now space for nine rather than eight cartons per layer on a shipping pallet. This reduces transport costs, saves resources and protects the environment.
- Maximum performance thanks to ideally coordinated packaging processes
- High product quality and savings potential through the use of pick & place robots
- Optimised logistics due to downsized packaging
The packaging machine for confectionery products consists of a total of 18 machine frames in which 2 500 products per minute are packaged. The treats are fed directly from the production line through a cooling tunnel and first fed to the Pickerline on a close to two-metre-wide product belt. There, 28 pick & place robots work in a double-pick process. They each group 16 individual products standing one behind the other into a plastic tray to form a 200-gram formation. The robots work with suction tools due to the sensitive chocolate glaze and the high tolerances of the products. The trays then travel on conveyors into the Flowpacker, where four F4 robots pick up 157 trays per minute. Thanks to complex forming shoulders, the two flow-wrapping units in the Flowpacker pack the trays reliably and securely into the tightly dimensioned film. The products are then fed into the Cartonpacker. There, 24 of the trays, each with a product weight of 200 grams, are packed into a shipping box, which is then closed with a separate lid. The integrated Transmodul transport robot connects the individual process steps with each other while ensuring high efficiency in the final packaging step.
- Three TLM packaging machines connected in a row
- Output of 2 500 products per minute
- Gentle product handling
- Packaging optimised by Schubert
- Transmodul in use