Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 82

SNACK PACKAGING
consulting at Schubert Packaging Systems. " Product variety
is constantly increasing, not only in terms of the
product itself but also in terms of packaging variety and
personalization options. This means that the production
units are becoming smaller and more frequent tooling
is required. Manufacturers therefore are increasingly in
need of highly flexible packaging machines that allow
easy, fast format changes and are then immediately read
for use again. "
When developing a flexible packaging line,
it starts with the products. Being able to pack
different products with different sizes in
different configurations comes down to
the tooling of the machines, specifically the
end effectors. The end effectors for today's robotics are
giving human operators stiff competition. During the
past 10 years, end effector design has grown in sophistication,
allowing them to pick up smaller, more delicate
products. And their ability to quickly change out has also
improved.
" The pick-and-place machines can easily switch beDigital
controls
allow a packaging
cell to feed useful
data upstream and
downstream to adjust
equipment and
prevent waste.
Heat and Control
Not only can robots and cobots pick and place product
into its secondary packaging, but the entire packaging process
can be done by robots, pointed out Stefan Hoffman,
sales account manager, Schubert North America.
" From erecting cartons and cases to creating the requested
mix of flavors and loading those products into
cartons and cases to closing - the entire process can
be done by robots, which tremendously reduces the
amount of labor while also increasing efficiency and accuracy, "
he said.
A nimble robot
One of the biggest reasons it has been difficult to automate
variety pack assembly is the level of flexibility required.
Human hands and eyes have been the most reliable
at adapting to different products as they go into
secondary packaging. And the product portfolios are
only getting more diverse in size and shape.
" Mass customization is a definitive development for
the packaging industry, " said Michael Graf, director of
WHEN DEVELOPING A
FLEXIBLE PACKAGING
LINE, IT STARTS
WITH THE PRODUCTS.
82 Baking & Snack September 2022 / www.bakingbusiness.com
tween plastic and cardboard trays, " said Martin Sauter,
head of sales at Gerhard Schubert GmbH. " An almost
unlimited number of formats with and without trays
can be implemented with Schubert technology, and the
variable image processing monitors product quality in
3D. "
Mr. Sauter was quick to point out, however, that the
versatile mechanics are only one part of building a flexible
packaging line.
" We consider the mechanics, electronics and software
as an integrated system, whose variability is ultimately
mapped in the VMS packaging machine control system, "
Mr. Sauter said.
These technologies come together to create systems
that can efficiently assemble variety packs and then
change quickly to adapt to changes in configuration
and product.
" Sometimes a very quick change of end effectors
may be required depending on the package size, " Mr.
Bobyk pointed out. " Vision-based robotics and cobots
can now safely work alongside human workers and be
programmed with many different recipes. Meaning that
by using a touch screen such as you would find on an
Apex Motion Control Baker-Bot Cobot, it's just a matter
of clicking through the menu like you would on a tab,
selecting the new recipe - in this case, pack size and
configuration - and away you go. "
Beyond end effectors, electronics and software, modularity
also can come into play as various types of primary,
secondary and tertiary packaging all require different
pieces of equipment.
" Different pack sizes, individual products, variable
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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
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Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 11
Baking & Snack - September 2022 - 12
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