Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 80

SNACK PACKAGING
THE END EFFECTORS FOR TODAY'S ROBOTICS
ARE GIVING HUMAN OPERATORS
STIFF COMPETITION.
and maximum production, " said Jeff Almond, Heat
and Control industry manager, snack food packaging.
" The key is finding the right speed based on the product
characteristics and leveraging the entire packaging line
to achieve optimal results. Automation plays a key role
in snack food packaging today, and a key to success is
configuring the case sizes correctly to leverage packaging
capability. "
Achieving that optimal packaging department with
variety packs, however, requires a lot of different technologies
working together to automate what has typiWhen
automating
variety packs, it's
important that all
primary bagmakers'
output matches.
TNA Solutions
cally been a laborious process.
" Variety packs allow us to use several different types
of technology at once from custom-built end-of-arm
tools to pick-and-place technology to vision systems,
all of which combined ensure the correct product is selected
without damage, " said Wes Bryant, product team
leader for AMF Workhorse.
Planning up front
When it comes to assembling variety packs,
snack manufacturers have several options:
a fully manual process to a fully automated
process and everything in between.
" There are a variety of ways to put a variety
pack together, but the key to implementing
this process is executing it
without disrupting the mainstream
production, " Mr. Almond said. " Most
are manual and done as a satellite
operation in the plant or by a third
party. Some are fully automated but
require ample floor space and significant
capital investment. "
As Mr. Bobyk pointed
out, however, snack
manufacturers are less
able to rely on a robust
workforce to assemble
these variety packs, and
many are turning to authat
gap.
tomation to fill
Typically, an automated
solution requires primary
packaging paired with robotic
technology to assemble
the variety pack.
80 Baking & Snack September 2022 / www.bakingbusiness.com
" Snack manufacturers often automate the packaging
process by employing a robotic system that places or organizes
the appropriate bags needed in a pre-determined
flight and then packs them in a paperboard case with the
correct mixes of packages, " Mr. Almond explained.
Developing an automation plan is critical to getting it
right. Otherwise, the process can bottleneck quickly.
" Automation in variety pack manufacturing is quite
a simple process but requires a lot of thinking up front
before any investments are to be made, " said Simon Hill,
group solution specialist, packaging, TNA Solutions.
" Mixes of flavors and variety pack weights can really
make the project very complicated very quickly. "
A critical component is balancing the production
lines. And this goes beyond the packaging department.
" The automation of variety packs specifically also
causes the challenge not just to primary and secondary
packaging but indeed to the entire system feeding the
primary packaging machines, " Mr. Hill continued. " All
feeds that the primary bagmakers are 'pulling' from need
to be very carefully balanced in order to maintain overall
equipment effectiveness of each primary bagmaker. "
Much of this relies on the output of all the lines lining
up with each other. Primary bagmakers need to maintain
the same output with each other with a strict percentage
split of the different flavors in the variety packs.
Stations on the primary production bagging cannot be
moving faster or slower than each other.
" Output of primary bagmakers should be measured
in total output terms instead of a point-in-time measurement
such as set speed, " Mr. Hill said. " When a TNA robag
is set in run, they are automatically tuning themselves
to achieve a target of 100% efficiency constantly, which if
all primary bagmakers are doing the same will maintain
the percentage split of flavors into the variety pack. "
A helping hand
Filling a variety pack often required human beings to pick
and place the different flavors of chips, pretzels, bars or
other snacks into the secondary packaging. This is where
the manpower comes into play. Robotic technology, however,
can streamline the operation.
" Robotic solutions help by accurately putting together
variety packs as they verify the product to ensure the
correct product and quantity is picked, " Mr. Bryant said.
" This removes the chance of the operator mis-picking and
placing the incorrect product in the pack. It also allows
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Baking & Snack - September 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Baking & Snack - September 2022

Baking & Snack - September 2022 - Intro
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 1
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 2
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 3
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 4
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 5
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 6
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 7
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 8
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 9
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 10
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 11
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 12
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Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 15
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Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 18
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Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 20
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 21
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