Baking & Snack - August 2018 - 118
marketing, Cavanna Packaging, said that when dealing
with small, delicate products in primary packaging, bakeries need to decide which form of automation fits them
best. For example, a light flaky croissant can't be banged
around with belts, pushers and conveyors. There is also
risk of breakage for products if they are manually picked
and placed into a packaging machine because the orientation and handling of the product will vary.
"In the past, you would rely on people to gently pick
it and place it into the infeeder for the flowwrapper," Mr.
Kehrli said. "With this new technology, which is actually
gentler than people, we can do this automatically."
matters when feeding
unprotected products into
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Eric Aasen, product sales manager, Bosch Packaging
Technology, said manually handling miniature products
is difficult because human dexterity is impossible to calculate. "Robots do not have this challenge and can therefore handle the products much easier and faster," he said.
For example, Bosch's machines for feeding unwrapped products into primary packaging machines
can be placed in a series to form high-volume picking
lines. For secondary packaging, such as the loading of
wrapped products into cartons, cases and thermoforms,
speeds up to 500 products per minute can be expected
for a single collation machine. Other configurations will
allow for higher rates. For specific applications, individual robot speeds can go up to 200 products per minute,
and vision guidance can be added for quality inspection
and precise picking of non-aligned products.
"Adding robots to production lines can significantly
speed up the packaging process, depending on individual product characteristics," Mr. Aasen said.
Precision before and after packaging
Advances in robotic software combined with new gripping technology have made pick-and-place machines
attractive options for miniature products not going
through a vertical form/fill/seal machine.
Cavanna Packaging recently developed a new tool
that can lift a flaky croissant without crushing it,
then load it into an infeeder for a wrapper. The gentle
method uses vision technology to locate the baked
good on a belt, then a delta robot reaches over and
grabs it with a specially designed tool that uses both