Cosmetics

German cosmetics manufacturer bets on TLM filling technology

The TLM filling system integrates all sub-functions into a compact system.

Two TLM-F4 robots position lids, pumps and plugs on the size plates of the Transmodul, depending on the program.

The gravimetric filling process: Each individual bottle is weighed while being filled up.

Once the bottle is capped, the TLM-F2 robot places it on the discharge belt or optionally directly into boxes.

Requirements

Size variety, filling precision and only half the footprint

Robot-based gravimetric dosing system

When two bottling lines needed to be replaced at the production location of a German cosmetics manufacturer, the company was looking for a partner who could open new performance capabilities. Flexibility to accommodate a great variety of sizes, complete automation to improve efficiency and an innovative technology that ensures a high degree of filling accuracy were the goals of the investment in question.

Conventional filling systems in the cosmetics industry require lots of space, are loud due to the puck systems used and are largely comprised of backup sections and cycling-in devices. These functions cost money and negatively effect line efficiency – for every function there’s a malfunction. Add to this the fact that there’s often a "jungle" of different operator consoles of the individual sub-machines.

 

Solution

How does the solution meet the requirement?

New solution improves efficiency

The types of cosmetics to be filled at the production site in question, ranged from low-viscosity products such as face lotions to high-viscosity shower gels. The packaging is also characterised by a large variety of sizes, shapes and caps. The previous packaging line was based on established standards with corresponding performance data. These lines were capable of filling no more than 30 to 40 bottles per minute. In certain cases, personnel had to be allocated to handle accompanying manual activities such as cap attachment. While converting or cleaning the lines, downtimes of several hours were the norm.

Less is more

Schubert developed a solution for the customer that features an intelligent control and robots with exchangeable tools as well as a simple mechanical design. This makes the line flexible, enables it to accommodate a great variety of sizes and ensures short conversion times. The cosmetics manufacturer was able to cut conversion times in half and has reported very short restart times.

At a glance

  • Wide variety of sizes
  • Precise filling accuracy
  • Small footprint of the machine
  • No conventional puck system, low-noise
  • Gravimetric dosing saves large amount of product
  • Simple mechanical design
  • Gentle handling preserves bottle quality

Added value

Schubert developed a solution for the customer that features an intelligent control and robots with exchangeable tools as well as a simple mechanical design.

Technical details

Everything happens on the Transmodul

Based on their tried and tested system components of their TLM technology, Schubert was able to open up new possibilities for the filling of cosmetics. The motto of this project could easily have been: "The Transmodul makes it possible." The patented Transmodul is a single-axis, rail-based robot with exchangeable format plates. Based on these system components, which possess their own intelligence, Schubert created a precise, fast and efficient dosing process. The bottles are weighed on the Transmodul and filled by product weight, i.e. dosing is gravimetric.

Filling with TLM technology

A tank with the respective product is located in the filling station. A TLM-F2 robot carries a tool with eight filling needles connected to the product tank with hoses. For gravimetric dosing, the fill weight of the bottles must be measured and monitored. For this purpose, scale brackets (i.e. positioning motors with a load cell) lift each individual bottle together with the tank. Then the bottles are tared. Differences in the weight of the container resulting from production thus no longer play a role.

Operational benefit

The space requirement for the new line is about 50 percent less than before. The room-filling machine and conveyance landscape is a thing of the past. The difference is audible: The constant click-clack of colliding pucks is a thing of the past. Additionally, gravimetric dosing saves a considerable amount of product, because it's very precise. The filling precision across all filling positions is currently between 0.05 and 0.15 percent, depending on the product being filled. In comparison to the cosmetics manufacturer's previous solution, the TLM line takes about 30% less time to clean. The company has reduced its annual consumption of cleaning fluid by about 800 kg and water by around 150,000 liters.

Overall performance
  • 8 sub-machines
  • Maximum output of 120 bottles per minute
  • Filling error under +/-0.2%
  • Cleaning times reduced by 30%
  • Significantly reduced consumption of cleaning fluids and water
  • Very short restart times