Technology and know-how for tubular bag films
Packaging Perspectives also includes special customer services for recyclable monoplastic and paper-based form fill and seal films. In order to find the most sustainable solution for products with specific barrier and protection requirements, manufacturers can choose from a large pool of marketable materials with the so-called Comfort Package, which Schubert has extensively tested for their functionality. The material experts not only know the sealability and tear resistance of the films, but also their potential for smaller packaging sizes. Customers can test their desired combination of product and film directly in a flowpacker in the Schubert technical centre. The flexible, state-of-the-art sealing technology of the form fill and seal machine makes it possible to switch between different films. If required, the composition of a form-fill-seal film can also be analysed in the Schubert laboratory or new forming shoulders can be developed for efficient processing in the machine.
Flexible automation beyond the machine
Automation processes for the packaging of food, confectionery, cosmetics and similar products have so far mostly been limited to the packaging machine. Feeding, on the other hand, is often implemented manually, as this can rarely be solved economically by machine. With the Cobot Tog 519, Schubert has now not only automated pick-and-place tasks in the infeed, but also brought a whole new level of flexibility to the production and packaging process.
The integrated systems, from the robot arm to the control system and image processing to the cooling and protective cell, make the cobots completely self-sufficient and thus mobile. They can therefore be used to close automation gaps at various and ever different points in the production process. They can then either be free-standing, alternatively in a protective cell or combined to form an entire cobot line. They can be used in a variety of ways. For example, the cobot can load the feed chains of a form-fill-seal machine from a crate, pick up bottles for a filling machine from the conveyor and orient them correctly, pick up a wide variety of products from the clutter and fill them into boxes or even assemble mixed packs.
The cobots not only work with Schubert machines, but also with third-party systems and even robots from other manufacturers. The cobot is also interesting for integrators, because Schubert makes it possible to purchase the system components, such as the AI-supported image processing, individually.
AI-supported image processing for ease of use
The background to the great flexibility and ease of use of the cobots is an AI-supported image processing system developed by Schubert. This recognises both the products as they are picked up and the environment in which they are to be placed. The neural network of the cobots is so extensively trained that the robots can immediately process new products from the same product group. These are, for example, pouches (sachets, flowpacks, stand-up pouches, sealed-rim pouches, etc.) in different sizes or bottles in different shapes. The tolerance of the AI is designed to accept variable sizes, materials, surfaces or thicknesses within a product group. This means that practically no teach-in or start-up process is required - once commissioned, the Schubert cobots immediately get going at high performance: this is how they handle pick-and-place applications with various light products at up to 90 cycles per minute. Only the tool has to fit the product. For this purpose, Schubert provides its customers with a wide range of individually designed robot tools, some of which can also be manufactured by them using 3D printing.
Digitally everything under control
With its 4You services, Schubert not only covers the technical maintenance of machines, but also ensures its customers comprehensive services throughout the entire machine life cycle and along all processes. The packaging machine manufacturer has now integrated its digital 4You Services Care (Connection for Analytics, Reporting and Efficiency) for the analysis and targeted evaluation of machine data into a new customer portal, which will be presented for the first time at Interpack 2023.
The background to the system-open portal is a merger of several manufacturers to create a comprehensive digital industry platform for the food, luxury food and cosmetics industries. With the standardised solution, machine builders and product manufacturing companies can easily network with each other for preventive maintenance, monitoring and asset management and optimise their project management.
Information on facilities and projects
The clearly designed interface offers direct access to various areas, such as production with the machines and systems of the corresponding manufacturers, the purchase of parts and services, data on the company and the digital care services for the Schubert machines. In the menu navigation, particular emphasis was placed on a user-friendly and clear presentation. At the same time, extensive and detailed information can be stored in the portal, for example technical data sheets, operator manuals, notes on spare parts, orders, invoices and the like. To identify spare parts, the customer portal offers three different ways, from searching for part numbers to parts lists and 3D visualisations. The comprehensive information makes the new customer portal a very useful platform and first point of contact for many industry professionals, from purchasing to fault analysis to organising modifications. Thus, spare parts can be searched for and immediately ordered in the portal, technical specifications of machines can be queried, maintenance intervals can be planned or deliveries and invoices can be checked.
Integrated: The digital care services
Digital data is a crucial currency in the packaging process, which is why Schubert has integrated its digital care services into the customer portal. Uwe Galm, Director Customer Services at Schubert, explains: "Targeted data analyses help to avoid unplanned downtimes, reduce rejects and increase productivity. All in all, this means more efficiency, more sustainability and thus more competitiveness for our customers in the long run." Or as Kissling briefly summed it up during the press conference: "We get the maximum out of the machines."
In this portal area specifically for Schubert customers, detailed analyses of the production and machine data can therefore be called up, providing a precise overview of production output, performance, rejects, top ten faults and more. For example, production management, maintenance or purchasing can work optimally with the portal and quickly deal with typical everyday situations and challenges with the help of various functions of the customer portal. "In conclusion," says Uwe Galm, "the customer portal has the solution to various questions, from live production data to spare parts orders, and is thus a valuable support in everyday production."