Confectionery & Snacks

High performance packaging line, contained in just a few metres

The lightline Pickerline packs the baked goods safely and efficiently into trays.

Eight new T4 robots ensure high performance packaging in the smallest of spaces.

Thanks to the pick & place robots, one metre in the total machine length can be saved.

Requirements

Packaging biscuits with or without chocolate bases into trays

New T4 robots save one metre of machine length

To pack its’ pastries into trays, an internationally active confectionery producer and confectioner relies on the lightline Pickerline from Schubert.

Producing fine pastries for international markets requires skill, sensitivity and a high degree of quality consciousness. Another challenge is to make sure the delicacies arrive at their destination well packed and cost-effectively. With this in mind, the confectionery producer commissioned the Schubert experts to design a new Pickerline. It would have to pack the baked goods safely and efficiently into trays. The pick & place robots would also have to place the products in the plastic trays in various orientations and counts. Quality control was also vital to ensure that only flawless products would be packed. The conditions on site proved to be challenging during the planning phase: The production hall offered very little space for a Pickerline with the required high output. This was a challenge that Schubert was able to successfully take on with a preconfigured machine from the lightline series.

 

Solution

How does the solution meet the requirement?

The preconfigured lightline Pickerline with new T4 robots

“The lightline Pickerline was the perfect solution to meet these customer requirements,” says Dirk Andrich, Area Sales Manager at Schubert, summing up the decision. Thanks to the standardised configuration, the machine from Schubert’s lightline series is not only less expensive to purchase, customers also benefit from short delivery times and fast on-site commissioning into their production. The design is so modular that the output of the packaging line remains scalable: With a variable number of sub-machines and pick & place robots, the required packaging quantity can be achieved as needed. However, this alone was not enough to convince the confectionery producer. In order to accommodate the Pickerline in the limited available space, the Schubert experts used a 1,600-millimetre-wide product belt and integrated eight of the new T4 robots into the line. These pick & place robots are based on the Delta robot design. Their limited rectangular working area makes them ideal for high performance in the smallest of spaces: Up to six of the four-axis T4 robots can work simultaneously in a single TLM frame. With this robot density, Schubert covers a larger working area within one sub-machine. This means more power over shorter distances and, ultimately, shorter lines. In the case of the new lightline Pickerline, the use of T4 robots even saves one metre over the total length of the system.

Guaranteed product quality thanks to the 3D scanner

The lightline Pickerline packs product formats of all kinds. Drawing on years of experience in tool design, Schubert develops the most suitable robotic tool depending on product texture and consistency. For the biscuits with or without chocolate bases, a round suction cup is used, which gently picks up the products and places them into the trays. The robot tools can be easily exchanged to accommodate new product formats, making the machine a future-proof investment. To ensure that only flawless pastries are packed, a 3D scanner is integrated into the lightline Pickerline. It not only records the exact orientation and surface of the products, but also their height, with an accuracy of close to 0.5 millimetres. Even baked goods with a perfect surface are nevertheless checked for the specified height. This can be used to determine, for example, whether the cream filling or the biscuit base is present in sandwich products. This improves process reliability while ensuring that the quality of the confectionery remains consistently high.

At a glance

  • Cost-efficient, preconfigured lightline machine
  • High performance on a short overall length thanks to T4 robots
  • Integrated 3D quality control

Added value

“We were able to save one metre in overall length by using the T4 robots in the packaging line.”

Technical Details

High performance packaging in the smallest possible footprint

The confectionery producer’s new lightline Pickerline comprises four sub-machines. The pick & place packaging machine from the Schubert lightline machine series is fully geared to placing products into trays. A 1,600-millimetre-wide product belt transports the baked goods along the line. At the same time, the plastic trays are destacked and placed into the chain conveyor. The machine works using the patented counterflow principle: The trays, which are about to leave the line and have to be completely filled by the master robot, are located at the beginning of the infeed belt where many products are still lying. Conversely, the robots, which only have a few products to choose from at the end of the belt but must deposit them safely, can access trays that are still empty. The advantage is a higher level of reliability in the packaging process to ensure only completely filled trays exit the machine.

During packaging, each piece of pastry is picked up individually with a suction cup, correctly oriented by the robot and placed into the tray. The manufacturer processes five different product formats, with ten products being placed into each tray. The integrated 3D scanner ensures that only perfect products are accepted. This guarantees continuous quality control. For the format change, the suction cup or the tool on the tray destacker may have to be changed. Like all other Schubert machines, the lightline Pickerline is now equipped as standard with the GS.Gate industrial gateway, which, amongst other things, allows machine performance to be viewed. It provides data communication with secure protection of the system against attacks from the Internet, while protecting the customer network.

Overall performance
  • Very compact lightline Pickerline, total length 7.95 m
  • High robot density through eight T4 robots
  • Output of up to 530 products per minute
  • Five product formats: regular and sandwich type biscuits
  • Integrated 3D scanner for quality control

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