Processing croissants places stringent demands on the robots involved in the packaging process. Photo: Bühler
More automation in baked goods packaging
The market demands for baked goods packaging are becoming increasingly complex. Manufacturers want more product diversity and smaller batch sizes, along with implementation of alternative materials and recyclable packaging. Companies within the processing and packaging industry have come up with the right responses to these demands: highly flexible automated and digital packaging machinery combined with solid logistics concepts.
Baked goods are very delicate products. They can be soft, crumbly and sensitive to pressure and heat. In addition, the products often vary widely in terms of their shape and size. Baked goods are often double-packed. This means that they are first packaged in primary packaging such as trays, pods or tube bags and are then packaged in secondary packaging generally in cardboard packaging, for transportation and sale at the POS. The entire process is designed in a sophisticated manner in order to cope with these demands
PACKAGING AUTOMATION PAYS OFF
Production reliability and the quality of the wares can be improved using automated packaging and process solutions presented in modular packaging machines with presorting, individual gripper tools or 3D image detection. Process efficiency improves as a result. Production and packaging become faster and more flexible, and the economic balance sheet for producing baked goods is thus optimised so that the high initial investment pays off in the end and the company’s position in the market is strengthened.
Packaging automation improves the quality and safety of the products, makes processes faster, more efficient and more flexible and increases the profitability of the company. Photo: Bahlsen
The advantages that automation brings to baked goods packaging
Baked goods manufacturers are therefore increasingly choosing to integrate automated robotics into their processes. Transportation robots, also called transport modules, link the individual processes in the packaging machine with each other and ensure that the packaging is transferred from one work stage to the next. Alignment, adhering, grouping, filling and closing - in modern packaging lines, this is all done automatically and is monitored by intelligent sensor systems and camera technology.
An automated packaging process for cantuccini
Asolo Dolce, an Italian baked goods manufacturer, is a shining example in automating baked goods packaging. The traditional cantuccini (biscotti) from Tuscany are packed into bags using the TLM bag packer from Gerhard Schubert and then into cartons. The relatively hard surface of these crispy almond biscuits does pose a challenge here. The biscuits’ hard surface means that each bag has a different shape which cannot be compressed into a standard format.
The adjustable filling tool is not, as is usually the case, fitted with pneumatic cylinders. Instead it is equipped with NC motors. These require less maintenance and can be programmed more precisely, which makes adjustment of the bag types easier.
The baked goods manufacturer Asolo Dolce automated their packaging process with the TLM bag packer from Gerhard Schubert. Photo: Gerhard Schubert
Cobots and digitalisation in the baked goods industry
Gerhard Schubert, a packaging machinery producer, wants to continue to expand integration of cooperative robots (called cobots for short) into their machinery concepts to make their systems even faster, more flexible and more sustainable for its customers. This German family company is setting its sights on creating modular assembly systems and on using additive manufacturing in 3D printing. Each component can be printed on demand and thus each challenge can be considered and responded to individually. Whether the component is a normal part, wear part or replacement part, the data required are called up from their virtual storage areas and printed via the part-streaming platforms in seconds.