Modularity as a proven concept
Flexibility, efficiency and reliable technology are the hallmarks of the modular packaging machines from Gerhard Schubert GmbH. For more than 50 years, the German company has been using simple mechanisms and intelligent control technology in its digital packaging machines. With this in mind, the machine builder enables customers in a wide range of industries to master demanding packaging tasks with high overall system efficiency over a long service life.
The history of Dutch mayonnaise producer Van Wijngaarden shows how emotional the decision to invest in a Schubert machine can be. The current Managing Director, Michel van Wijngaarden, still has a clear memory of visiting a trade fair with his father as a child. At the Schubert stand, he asked his father whether they should get a machine like that, too. At the time, his father said: “We can’t afford to get one.” For that reason, it was a very special day when, in 2015, the young businessman started up his company’s first Schubert machine for packing aluminum tubes of mayonnaise into cartons. Since then, he has been very satisfied with the TLM technology and recently approached Schubert for another order.
“It’s not just a good feeling – the objective figures speak in favour of the machine, too. Significant cost savings thanks to fast format changeover times and high flexibility make it a worthwhile acquisition within a short timeframe”, says Jeffrey van der Laan, Project Manager at Van Wijngaarden. The new machine packs glass jars, PET jars and squeeze bottles filled with mayonnaise and salad sauce into cartons.
Leader in mayonnaise
In the Netherlands, Zaanse Mayonnaise is synonymous with mayonnaise in general. Behind the brand is Van Wijngaarden, based in Wormerveer, with a history dating back to 1929, when it began producing artisan mayonnaise. Today, the family-run business is the country’s market leader for mayonnaise. Van Wijngaarden represents products steeped in long-standing tradition and continues to follow this philosophy in its fourth generation under the management of Michel van Wijngaarden. As well as mayonnaise, its range includes numerous products such as yoghurt sauce, curry ketchup and dressings for both end-consumers and the food service industry.
High level of automationThe Schubert team, headed by Georg Koutsogiannis, Sales Account Manager for Benelux and Project Manager for the contract, was jointly responsible for the planning of the project from the start; guiding the customer in selecting the right technology, right through to the implementation phase. Unlike other available solutions, the TLM system offers a robot-based system with a high level of automation.
Fast format changeover times when switching between different sizes of products and packaging are made possible by the newly integrated robot tools and inductive servo-technology, which Schubert will also be using in other TLM machines in the future. This technology allows for fully automatic tool changing, making it unnecessary to manually switch robot tools. This automation completely eliminates the human error factor, preventing damage and downtime caused by incorrect setup.
Fulfill customer needsThe TLM systems erecting station also provides another customer advantage that is reflected in cost savings: the shipping cartons are taken from the packaging machine magazine as flat, pre-cut sheets. The benefit of this approach is that there is no need to buy and store pre-glued RSC cartons, therefore ensuring significant savings for the deli-food producer in both procurement and storage costs. The customer can handle a large number of packaging sizes, and benefits from the ability to produce additional sizes in the future. This allows Van Wijngaarden to respond quickly to its customer's market requests and to benefit from an efficient system design.
Ice cold and extremely sensitive
Surgital, the Italian pasta manufacturer, is another interesting application. The company based in Lavezzola, close to Bologna, produces 300 pasta varieties daily. And new varieties are constantly being added. For new varieties of ravioli, the company once again opted for the TLM technology from Schubert. It ensures careful packing of the frozen pasta classics in trays at maximum performance.
Innovation driving growth
"We have been able to automatically pack anything we invented over the last ten years using our Schubert installation. We value the reliability of our collaboration with Schubert, as well as the quality and flexibility of the machinery," says Edoardo Bacchini, Managing Director of Surgital.
In total, the new plant will pack nine Ravioli varieties, with different shapes, colors and fillings. There are constraints when it comes to packaging: The filled pasta requires very careful handling, at the same time the pasta variations need to be sorted correctly and the trays need to be completely filled. It is also very important that only undamaged products end up in the trays. Optical image recognition to determine the positioning of the product therefore plays an important role. Schubert uses a reflected light color scanner for this purpose to transmit the corresponding information to the TLM F4 picker arms.
Frozen in trays
The new Surgital installation comprises four sub-machines. From the cooling tunnel, deep-frozen ravioli enter the first submachine unsorted and without touching each other at approximately -20°C and are taken over by the infeed conveyor of the Schubert picker line.
The products are guided through the following sub-machines, which have a total of nine F4 robots. The system was designed to save space. In the new version, three F4 robotic arms were installed in a single sub-machine. The F4 robots are equipped with suction cups that pick up ravioli from the belt using gentle air suction to place them carefully into trays. The filled trays are passed to a delivery conveyor from the Schubert machine to the downstream sealing unit.
Nine different varieties of ravioli are sorted and packed in the corresponding trays. The production output can reach up to 720 ravioli per minute, depending on the variety. The stainless steel version of the machine ensures fast and thorough cleaning, which plays an immensely important role in hygienic food packaging.