The TLM line packs madeleines, biscuits and other baked goods into cartons and tins.
Pick & place robots place the packages onto Transmoduls.
3D-printed format parts are used to place the lids on the tins.
Modern, playful and inspired by current trends – without forgetting its origins and heritage. This is how the character of Madeleines Bijou can be described: The French family business has been producing the eponymous madeleines since 1845. While the little cakes in the form of the Mady mascot have become Bijou’s brand ambassador, the assortment is growing continuously – and production along with it. Bijou therefore needed a flexible and automated packaging machine for the large number of mixed formats.
In 1990, the first automated lines were introduced at the headquarters in what is now the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Just nine years later, the site had to be expanded to three times its original size. Gerhard Schubert GmbH was involved in the introduction of automated packaging processes at an early stage: For more than 20 years, many of Bijou’s treats have been packaged on lines provided by the family-owned company from Crailsheim. To further increase the efficiency of the site, Jean Philippe Dubois, Managing Director at Bijou, asked for the automated filling of a variety of different mixed formats and special tin formats for his madeleines, small cakes, biscuits and wafer rolls. This project’s challenge was to create an efficient automated production line from an existing hand-pack situation.
Schubert developed an automated packaging line for the long-established bakery that packs individually flowpacked madeleines, wafers, cakes, and biscuits into a variety of tins and ready-to-sell cartons. The line with six feeders combines a packing line for cartons and one for tins in a single line. 12 different formats can currently be processed: two carton sizes and ten tin sizes (both round and square). A unique feature is that the carton blanks, which have been specially developed for this purpose, always have the same layout and the same partitions, despite the variety of formats. Further formats will also be possible on the Schubert line in the future.
The Transmodul developed by Schubert seamlessly links all process steps. It moves the containers to the pick & place robots, which – supported by 2D image scanners – pick up each product and place it into the supplied tins or cartons. The Transmodul’s format plate is very flexible: it can handle all ten tin formats, i.e. both square and round tins.
To ensure that the tin lids fit securely, 3D-printed format parts are used on the tool when the robot is closing them. These are used to place the lid on the tin in an inclined position and then seal it.
- Automated packing line
- 3D printing for tool production
- Packaging development by Schubert
The sweet baked goods arrive at the packing line on six different infeed conveyors, unsorted and unaligned. Each of the six stations is responsible for one product and has its own 2D scanner, which is used to check the orientation of the individual pastries or flowpacks: If a printed logo on the flowpack points downward or if the product is upside down, it is brought into the correct orientation with the help of a turning station.
At the same time, on the other side of the packing line, cartons are removed from a single-lane magazine and erected by a combination of F3 and F2 robots. Although the cartons have different formats, they have the same base area – this greatly simplifies handling. The packs also feature a clever inside design: Compartments, which are delivered as flat blanks similar to the carton blanks, are erected and folded robotically. They were developed jointly by Schubert’s packaging development department and Bijou’s cardboard manufacturer.
Three cartons at a time are placed onto a Transmodul. With its inductive energy supply, the transport robot from Schubert seamlessly links all individual process steps. The special feature of the Bijou Transmodul is that the units were developed in such a way that they can accommodate ten different tin formats – regardless of whether they have a round, rectangular or square base. This means that the customer’s entire variety of tins can be covered with just one format plate. Only the format changeover between tins and cartons requires a tool change: Two employees exchange format plates and gripper tools and insert the compartments as flat blanks into the machine when the baked goods are packed into cartons.
When feeding the tins, a 2D scanner and an F4 robot ensure that they are also always placed onto the Transmodul in their correct orientation. Before the filling process, the lid of the tin is opened. Six four-axis pick & place robots from Schubert’s modular solution then pick up the products individually from the scanner belt and directly fill each of the tins or cartons. The packs are then glued or sealed. The separate lids are placed on the tin in an inclined position and then sealed. 3D-printed format parts are used on the robot tool for this step. The attached lids are closed accordingly.
- Output of up to 360 products per minute
- 12 different formats: 2 carton sizes, 10 tin sizes
- Mixed formats with up to 6 different products
- Transmodul in use