Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 98

featured technical expert Q&A
Edmund Konsen
Schubert North America
Edmund Konsen has served the baking industry for eight years
but said it isn't where he thought he'd end up. Konsen graduated
from Hillsdale College in Michigan with a bachelor's degree in
marketing and a minor in German and started his career in various
marketing roles in other industries.
" To be honest, I came to the industry by accident, " he said. " I
came from the hydraulics industry prior to this, and my interest
in the applications that included proportional servo control drove
me to my interest in robotics. The heavy industrial automation
certainly leant itself to the position I am in, but the key was simply
a culture at Schubert that was a wonderful fit from day one. "
Konsen serves as a sales account manager for Schubert North
America, helping bring robotic solutions to bakers across the
continent. He is also involved in the industry through organizations
like the American Bakers Association and BEMA.
Konsen said his biggest accomplishments in the baking industry
have been bringing bakers' " impossible " ideas to life.
" Integrating the customer's systems with ours and allowing
growth and customization was not previously possible, " he said.
Through the company's robotic packaging and vision system,
Konsen is helping make those ideas once thought impossible a
reality for bakers. This is among the three things he enjoys most
about his position, he said.
What are the biggest advancements in
robotics you've seen in recent years?
The biggest advancements I've seen are likely AI coupled with vision
system learning.
What benefits can the use of
robotics bring to a bakery line?
Benefits robotics bring to a bakery line include flexibility, gentle
handling, quick changeovers and future upgradability. Most of all
the move toward robotics will force a tightening of quality standards
which has many additional effects and benefits.
How do today's robotics ensure delicate
handling of products?
With the ability to drive the robot to a unique position for every
product, there is an assurance that the robot will pick first from
the optimal position for that specific product. Since baked products
are ever-changing, the very next product will likely be slightly
different in location and size. Then, the tooling, whether gripper
or suction, for example, will have its touch points only where
you want them, thus imparting the fewest number of markings
possible. If, for instance, you wrap product from there, the robot
98 Baking & Snack July 2024 / www.bakingbusiness.com
" First, I enjoy trying to solve
a complex puzzle of a problem, "
he said. " Second, I like innovating
in ways the customer - and
maybe even I - couldn't prior.
Third, I enjoy working with a huge
spectrum of people and cultures across
the world. "
Konsen sees the industry's need to invest in automation,
as well as train people to operate this automation, as two of
the biggest challenges it faces. This is only exacerbated by the industry's
worsening labor struggles, which Konsen suggested can
be combatted by valuing workers more.
" Bakers should view employees as long-term investments and
partners and not as simply a position to fill, " he said.
The use of robotics is increasing rapidly across the industry in
response to labor challenges, and as technological advancements
in areas like vision systems and artificial intelligence (AI) accelerate.
Konsen said the rise of robotics will allow for increased
variability in pack size, smaller product sizes and therefore an increase
in equipment flexibility for bakers.
" Specifically, pick-and-place automation allows for these
changes with much lower total cost of ownership, " he said.
will have already oriented it correctly and conveyed it gently to
the wrapper.
How can a bakery know if it's ready to implement
robotics? Where is a good place for bakers to start
with robotics?
First and foremost, this is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but
the most likely candidate is where the most labor is today.
This is not always the case but usually a good place to start an
open conversation.
How can bakers properly integrate
robotic packaging into their lines?
Integration should start with a partnership of the chosen supplier
and really asking what the supplier would suggest, while being
open with the baker's expectations. Generally speaking, training is
absolutely key here.
What adjustments may they need to
make when incorporating robotics?
Processes must be repeatable, so you must ensure all the steps before
the robots come into the picture. You need as many steps as possible
Schubert North America
http://www.bakingbusiness.com

Baking & Snack - July 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - July 2024

Baking & Snack - July 2024 - Intro
Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 1
Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 2
Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 3
Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 4
Baking & Snack - July 2024 - 5
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https://digitalbs.bakingbusiness.com/sosland/bs/2004_04_01
https://digitalbs.bakingbusiness.com/sosland/bs/2004_03_01
https://digitalbs.bakingbusiness.com/sosland/bs/2004_02_01
https://digitalbs.bakingbusiness.com/sosland/bs/2003_12_01
https://digitalbs.bakingbusiness.com/sosland/bs/2003_11_01
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