The times where only one product was manufactured on a line are drawing to a close. Modern systems boast user-friendly and smart technology that ensures smooth cookie production tuned to current market trends. Photo: Bosch Packaging
Modern Machines for Cookies and Crackers
“Knight in shining armour”
“Mum, I’m hungry!” – “Yes, love, we’ll be home in a minute and you’ll get something to eat.” “But I cannot wait any longer!” This dialogue sounds familiar to all parents. Something to eat must be “conjured up” right away. Like with young birds the demand for calories strikes with human children out of the blue and does not quickly go away again. Those with snacks on board are better off because they can temporarily restore peace and quiet, be it when travelling or on a trip to the park.
However, not only children are grateful for snacks between meals. The everyday life of many people has changed fundamentally over the past decades and so have their eating habits – parting with those classical three meals a day they opt for flexible mealtimes. At times, your meeting takes longer than expected, or your stomach is rumbling even before you’ve made it to the supermarket, at others the lunch break simply falls by the wayside entirely because of the workload. In such situations snacks, cookies or bars often serve as “knights in shining armour”.
Regardless of whether producers launch a special campaign for their cookies, want to surprise their buyers with novel packaging formats or seek to cut production costs for economic reasons – flexibility is the key. Photo: Bosch Packaging
This trend is particularly evident with millennials, but other age groups also increasingly adapt their eating habits to their changed lifestyles. As a result, numerous new products have been launched over the past few years that were specifically designed for out-of-home consumption.
Flexible and demand-driven production
The packaging industry and packaging machinery manufacturers also have to adapt accordingly to the rising demand for more snacks in single-portions packs, on the one hand, and the call for more flexibility, automatic identification systems and easier handling on the other.
Modern machines and systems in cookie production are already capable of achieving high flexibility in terms of formats. Unlike before, the number of cookies per stack can now be varied and a variable amount of products can be removed from the magazine. This means producers can now determine the stack height regardless of the number of lanes. Furthermore, fewer magazines are needed which saves space in the machine hall.
Snacks between meals are not only a trend for millennials. Changed lifestyles influence eating habits of all age groups. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf, Constanze Tillmann.
Diversity, however, is not only called for when it comes to the feed-in conveyor; the number of products proper should also be changeable because shopper preferences change – buzzword rightsizing. Over the past few years primarily smaller pack sizes were in demand for snacks. For one thing, they satisfy the demand for to-go products and, for another, they retail for less than the big packs. This trend is especially evident in the emerging economies. And let’s not forget: flexible and demand-driven production is also indispensable to manufacturers’ special campaigns.
No manual interference
At the same time, the sector wants more Industry 4.0 solutions. Here, too, modern machinery is expected to deliver. And it sure does: real-time production, stable format change in 3-D, automatic lane adaptation to adjust for deviations in the upstream product supply, automatic recognition of empty lanes and instructions for magazine change. This is how downtimes are avoided, high product quality is sustained without any product or material wastage and the risk of operator errors is minimised.