Confectionery & Snacks

Compact and flexible pick and place machine with options for the future

At Bahlsen, a high-performance pick and place machine supports the packaging process of filled biscuits.

The pick and place machine at Bahlsen consists of a total of six TLM frames.

The biscuits can be placed either into plastic trays or individually onto a grouping belt.

Precisely fitting grippers and suction cups ensure gentle product handling in the pick and place machine.

A total of 24 pick and place robots work in four of the six TLM frames.

A total of 24 pick and place robots work in the pick and place machine from Schubert, which are arranged in pairs one behind the other.

After filling, the trays are turned lengthwise

After filling, the trays are turned lengthwise.

Requirements

Pick and place machine packs biscuits at high output in a variety of formats

At Bahlsen, the compact packaging line is adapted to suit the nuances of the packing hall

Even a building post in the middle of the hall is not a problem for a Schubert machine: At biscuit manufacturer Bahlsen in Poland, the pillar was simply integrated into the new flexible pick and place machine. Now the TLM system packs the “Keks’n Cream” product line at high output in a minimum of space.

Bahlsen offers its customers the latest variation of its well-known Leibniz butter biscuits, “Keks’n Cream”: two classic biscuits with a delicious chocolate cream filling. “Keks’n Cream Milk” is the name of the version made with dark chocolate biscuits and milk cream. The new product family’s filled double biscuits are placed into a tray, which is packed into a resealable shell. This allows them to remain fresh even after the packaging has been opened.

In order to meet the high demand, Bahlsen invested in a new pick and place machine at its Polish site in Krakow. For the most part, the German market is supplied from this location. Due to the challenging architecture of the production hall with a free-standing building pillar, the pick and place machine had to be specially adapted. At the same time, a compact, high-performance solution was required. It was especially important for Bahlsen to be able to run other tray sizes in the future too. In addition to an excellent quality control, low maintenance and low spare parts costs needed to be ensured.

Solution

How does the solution meet the requirement?

High robot density on space-saving pick and place machine

To achieve high performance in a small space, Schubert placed a total of 24 pick and place robots in four TLM frames. The post was simply integrated into the slightly extended pick and place machine. 12 pick and place robots work on each side of the line. The biscuits are picked up by the robots and placed into trays on the left and right of the line. Alternatively, the biscuits can also be placed onto a single placement conveyor. From there they are packed into flowpacks without trays. The robots, which can be switched individually between tray and single placement, make format changeover particularly flexible and enable scope for further future formats.

Potential for further formats and more performance

Four 3D scanners ensure that only intact double biscuits are placed inside the packaging. An appropriately adapted 3D scanner program is used for the dark biscuits. The pick and place machine runs at a slightly lower cycle output rate in order to reduce wear. This forward-looking planning offers potential for the future. There is still room for performance to be increased without taking the pick and place robots to their output limit.

At a glance

  • High performance with low wear
  • Extremely variable packaging formats
  • Reliable quality control

Added value

“In April 2019, the machine was already running with a level of efficiency which had only been planned for December.”

Technical Details

Flexibility and performance potential thanks to high robot density

The pick and place machine at Bahlsen consists of a total of six TLM frames. 24 pick and place robots work in four of them. They are arranged in pairs one behind the other so that 12 F4 robots are available on each side of the line. The plastic trays are also fed into the system on both sides. Two F3 robots remove seven trays at a time from the magazines and place them into the carriers of the two inclined chain conveyors. The biscuits are picked up by the F4 robots and placed vertically into the trays. The inclined position of the trays prevents the biscuits from tilting after being placed into the tray. Quality control is performed by four 3D scanners. Products containing no filling or less than the specified amount of filling, as well as those not clearly bearing the Leibniz lettering, are rejected. After filling, the trays are rotated through 90 degrees so that they can be discharged lengthwise from the picker line to the subsequent flow-wrapping machine. At the push of a button, individual placement of the biscuits onto a grouping belt for flow-wrap bag packing without plastic trays can be activated at the same time. The number of pick and place robots that change from placing into trays to single placement is variable.

Overall performance
  • Compact pick and place machine with 24 robots
  • Packs of 6 to 14
  • Deposit into trays and on single placement conveyor
  • 3D scanner for quality control

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