Automation with a packaging machine doesn’t always mean that the products are handled gently throughout the entire packaging process. Feeding and sorting play a major role here. Schubert avoids the problem entirely with the targeted use of robotics: With pick & place robots, even highly sensitive products can be packed extremely gently.
Sensitive products are at risk during packaging for a variety of reasons: Fragile baked goods such as delicate sponge biscuits, pressure-sensitive products such as airy croissants or heat-sensitive goods such as pralines and chocolate require special solutions throughout the packaging process. Thanks to its modular TLM packaging machines, Schubert is able to respond ideally to each individual customer and their special products. Quality is the main focus at Schubert. This is why the packaging machine manufacturer attaches great importance to solutions that can guarantee gentle product handling and high product quality as early as in the machine concept stage. Central to this is the targeted use of robotics and state-of-the-art robot tools. Robot technology not only ensures flawless quality, it also increases the efficiency of the entire packaging machine, as the following examples show.
Delicate sponge biscuits safely packed: Customised robot tools grip the products from Bonomi in the cartoner extremely gently, even when pivoting.
Conventional mechanical flow-wrapping machines usually feed the product via long belts. In the Flowpacker, Schubert’s flow-wrapping machine, however, the products are fed by pick & place robots. Processing with robots is much gentler and more efficient: no product abrasion on long feed paths, no rejects due to breakage, no unnecessary contamination of the packaging system. Even highly sensitive products can be packed in the Flowpacker without any problems. Furthermore, the pick & place robots are able to group and stack products in all possible variations. A further advantage of this flow-wrapping machine is Schubert’s patented heat-sealing technology. With the flying cross-sealing unit, even heat-sensitive products can be packed in flowpacks made of heat-sealable film.
Exquisite filled chocolate pralines require special care when they are automatically packed in trays and boxes. For this reason, Schubert developed a special vibrating unit for the praline creations of its customer Mieszko. It is integrated into the praline packing machine’s infeed and gently places the semi-spherical chocolate pralines on their flat underside. The products are automatically pre-positioned correctly, and are then carefully picked up individually by the pick & place robots and placed in trays. Image processing is also important for efficient automation and high product quality: It only recognises flawless products and at Mieszko, it also enables the flexible packaging of different praline mixes with pick & place robots without further upstream sorting.
Pick & place robots in a packaging machine only develop their full potential with precisely fitting tools. Specially manufactured robot tools are a guarantee for gentle product handling. This is why Schubert develops individual robot tools for each customer. An ideally adapted gripper or suction cup is especially important for sensitive products, because fragile or pressure-sensitive goods can be damaged quickly during automated picking & placing. Schubert uses 3D printing for challenging product shapes: The freely designed format parts from the printer can be cut precisely to any conceivable product shape – for an unlimited variety of automated packaging solutions.