Confectionery & Snacks

Highly flexible and future-proof: The Flowpacker from Schubert

The use of flexible pick & place robots makes the flow-wrapping machine compact.

The first pick & place robot in the system is used variably for trays or products.

The change of the film roll is semi automatic.

The flying cross-sealing unit ensures constant sealing times.

The flow-wrapping machine can also process paper-based films.

Requirements

Flexible packaging of biscuits

A future-proof flow-wrapping machine with automation

In order to be able to pack its wide range of biscuits more efficiently, a medium-sized pastry manufacturer relies on the Flowpacker from Schubert. The integrated solution combines a pick & place robot and a flow-wrapping machine extremely efficiently in a single system. Unique specifications allow the use of sustainable films.

Several variations of fine biscuits which are filled, decorated or coated with chocolate, for instance, are created daily in the manufacturer’s bakery. Up until now, the variety of shapes and sizes, as well as the small batches, made manual packaging a challenge. This is why the baked goods manufacturer planned the step towards an automated solution with a flow-wrapping machine. This alone was not enough, however, to become more efficient, because the high production tolerances of the biscuits and the quantity of formats could hardly be achieved with a conventional flow-wrapping machine. It had to be a packaging machine that could handle the entire packaging process from the oven to the finished flowpack without any problems, even with slightly different products and frequent format changes. Additionally, the baked goods manufacturer was intent on having quality control in the system and the packaging had to be made of sustainable materials. A special challenge was the limited space available in the production area: The footprint for a flow-wrapping machine is very limited. Furthermore, there is no buffer between the oven and the packaging – any delay in the packaging process therefore results in a complete production stop after a short time.

Solution

How does the solution meet the requirement?

An integrated packaging solution with pick & place robots

The Flowpacker flow-wrapping machine offered an ideal solution to elegantly combine the pastry manufacturer’s various requirements. The flexible packaging machine from Schubert integrates quality control, pick & place robots and a flow-wrapping machine in a single, extremely compact line.

With the Flowpacker flow-wrapping machine, the manufacturer can now pack its baked goods fully automatically while significantly increasing its production output. The high level of process reliability without interfaces, gentle product handling by the pick & place robots and reliable quality control with the Schubert vision system, reduce waste and increase the efficiency of the packaging process. To make the packaging machine even more compact, Schubert’s design engineers used one of the four F4 pick & place robots in a variable configuration: It can either place trays for the products into the infeed chain or group naked products, which are packed without a tray into flowpacks. All robot tools of the flow-wrapping machine can tolerate the somewhat deviating product dimensions without affecting efficiency and the packaging process. Thanks to its unique sealing technology in the system, Schubert also guarantees outstanding sealing quality.

Fast format changeovers and sustainable packaging materials

In order to compensate for the missing buffer between the oven and the flow-wrapping machine, the format changes on the Flowpacker are largely automated and can be carried out in the shortest possible time, even without specialised personnel. After a format change, the packaging machine immediately delivers perfect packaging. Moreover, Schubert combined the pastry manufacturer’s product range into product families that can be processed with identical robot tools. This saves unnecessary format changes and ensures even greater flexibility. The flow-wrapping machine processes biscuits in a wide variety of shapes as well as numerous sustainable packaging formats, such as cardboard trays, cardboard U-boards and a variety of films. Even recyclable films such as mono films and paper-based films can be used on the machine. This makes the new packaging solution an exceptionally safe investment in the future.

Learn more about our flow-wrapping machines

At a glance

  • A compact integrated flow-wrapping machine
  • Flexibility through fast automated format changes
  • Future security through sustainable packaging materials

Words of Experience

“The Flowpacker is an investment that guarantees the customer full flexibility and equips them well for the future, also with regard to sustainable packaging.”

Technical Details

A seamless packaging process without interfaces

By using pick & place robots and Schubert’s modular machine concept, all packaging steps can be integrated into a single line with the Flowpacker – from destacking the trays to sealing the flowpacks.

The baked goods manufacturer’s Flowpacker consists of four machine frames. The biscuits move directly from production into the flow-wrapping machine. First, they are subjected to quality control with the help of an incident light scanner. The Schubert image processing system identifies only faultless products for picking, and the faulty goods are simply ejected downstream. In the first frame, which houses the switchable pick & place robot, trays are either destacked, or naked products are pre-grouped. Three further F4 pick & place robots work in the second frame. They gently grip the biscuits with their tools and either stack the naked products or place them into the trays. Filled trays or pre-grouped products are then packed into the flowpacks in Schubert’s Flowmodul. The integrated Flowmodul is equipped with the unique heat-sealing technology: First, the flowpack’s longitudinal seam is closed by means of ultrasonic sealing. A heat-sealing system with a flying cross-sealing unit is then used. This cross-sealing unit adapts to the variable speeds of the upstream pick & place robots in such a way that the sealing time always remains constant.

Various format parts such as robot tools, magazines for the trays or forming shoulders can be changed very easily, quickly and safely by a single machine operator. The flow-wrapping machine automatically adjusts its parameters such as longitudinal sealing pressure or temperature for the individual formats. Automated format changes also facilitate the changeover to a new format. Therefore, the ‘chain flight’ changeover and the change of a film roll are largely carried out automatically. Thanks to its sealing technology and the format shoulders specially developed by Schubert, the new flow-wrapping machine is so flexible that it can also process sustainable films such as recyclable mono films or paper-based films. Currently, the manufacturer is packing its biscuits as stacks as well as cardboard trays or cardboard U-boards filled with biscuits in flowpacks.

The overall performance
  • A compact and flexible flow-wrapping machine
  • Output of up to 100 flowpacks per minute
  • Suitable for recyclable paper-based films
  • Ultrasonic sealing and heat-sealing
  • Quick and reliable format changeover

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